8 Sizzling Summer Dog Travel Tips From The Experts
May brings in summer. It’s fact, look it up. It comes before June, and is the unofficial start of all things summer planning. This year, more than any, we’re looking forward to something sort of normal–whatever that is anymore–and that means family vacations. Yes, traveling and even more? Traveling with our pets. All our togetherness over the last year and a half has basically reminded us that our pets really are family and if at all possible, we want them to go where we go! More people than ever are reportedly planning pet friendly vacations, and your dog doesn’t want to be left out! Though it may take a little more preparation to make the arrangements, bringing your pet along for the fun is definitely worth the effort. Here are a few dog travel tips to get your trip off on the right paw…
PREPARE! With all of the restrictions that COVID-19 has brought to our world. Those trips you’ve been planning for a while and are excited about because they seem to be opening up again? Yeah, just be careful to prepare ahead of time for whatever it is that you want to do because things, even for human family members, may be very different. The last thing you want to do is get somewhere and learn that Fido is not part of the troop.
Buckle ’em up! Pets are part of the family and their safety is equally important. That’s why it’s so important to buckle them up. Whether you prefer a seat belt harness or a secured pet carrier, protect yourself and your pet from serious injuries every time you get in the car. You may have people give eye rolls as you tell them about how you buckle Buster up, but…Buster stays safe and that’s what matters!
Support Pet-Friendly Businesses: Owners of pet-friendly establishments have gone out of their way to welcome our pets and it’s important to show our appreciation by spending our dollars with them. Whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, or other business, choose the pet-friendly option – when your pet is with you, and even when he’s not. Especially after a crazy year of businesses just being turned upside down? Finding places that treat your pet like the family member he is are gold and we want to keep them feeling that way!
Under-Estimate What You Can Do: Everything seems to take a little more time when you’re traveling with a pet – and that’s a good thing! It helps you remember to slow down and “sniff the roses.” But, when figuring the distance you can travel or the activities you can knock out in a day, be conservative in your estimates. A good rule is to make a plan … and then eliminate half. If you accomplish more than that, it’s a bonus. This is super important if you’re traveling with senior dogs. As much as we wish they’d live forever? They don’t. And as much as we wished they’d keep their vim and vigor forever, they don’t. So be sure to accommodate for them and allow them to have just as good a vacation as you.
Obey Leash Laws: It may be hard to imagine, but there are people (and other pets) out there who prefer not to have our furry loved ones foisted upon them. Whether your dog has the perfect recall or not is irrelevant, if the sign says leash him – snap it on. It shows your respect for everyone else. Not to mention, it really keeps your pet safe. Think about how tempting a little wonder of nature at some rest stop might be for even the best-trained dog? You don’t want him to run off and hurt himself (or another) and so it’s just good to be respectful and obey the laws.
Be Prepared: Having your pet’s veterinary records with you could be critical in the event of an emergency. Rather than lugging around a large file, pack a paper copy of their current vaccination record and scan the rest of the information onto an easy-to-pack USB drive. You’ll be surprised at how handy this may be and it’s not something you’ll ever regret having if you needed it.
Pick It Up: We’ve all experienced it, and nothing spoils a day faster than stepping in poo. Abandoning your pet’s waste reflects poorly on all pet owners and is the primary reason that parks and other locations chose not to allow dogs. Always carry plastic bags with you and find an appropriate receptacle to dispose of it. Always. The whole purpose of finding pet-friendly adventures is to ensure there are always pet-friendly adventures. Being good pet parents who are responsible helps that continue to grow.
Sniff Out Fun: GoPetFriendly.com has listings for all kinds of pet-friendly activities … from hotels and campgrounds to dog parks and beaches, even restaurants and wineries! You can also fetch the locals’ perspective by reaching out on Twitter or other social media sites. With a little digging, there’ll be no shortage of entertaining options for all to enjoy.
Stay Flexible: When you’re traveling, unexpected things will happen. Weather is often the culprit, but other obstacles pop up as well. On a trip to Boston, we ran into crowds of people enjoying a festival. Walking our dogs amid the throngs was stressful for us all, and we decided it was better to scrap our plan and see a different part of the city that day. Anticipating speed bumps allows you to maneuver around them with ease – either by rearranging your schedule or recognizing that some activities might have to wait for your next visit.
Amy Burkert runs the award-winning pet travel website, GoPetFriendly.com, which makes it easy to plan trips with your entire family. Use their pet friendly Road Trip Planner to arrange your next vacation, and follow Amy's blog, Take Paws, for pet travel tips, pet friendly destination advice, and stories of her adventures she and her husband travel full-time with their dogs, Ty and Buster.
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