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When your dog is part of the family, you don’t want to leave him out of the fun when the gang goes on vacation. Of course, traveling with a dog has its issues. From transportation to accommodations, you’re going to have to make special arrangements for your precious pooch. If you want a stress-free (or at least less stressful), dog-friendly vacation, you can do it with these easy tips.
Choose a dog-friendly destination.
There’s no point in bringing Fido on vacation if he can’t have fun. Fortunately, there are plenty of dog-friendly cities across America that are also pretty fun for the humans as well:
Austin: This hipster vacation spot offers dog yoga classes and a pup-specific food trailer.
Portland: This walkable small city boasts 30 off-leash parks and plenty of hiking trails.
San Diego: A dedicated dog beach, plenty of pup-friendly patios, and warm weather year-round
The Finger Lakes: If you love local wine and beer, the various wineries and breweries also love well-behaved pups. It’s a match made in heaven.
Chicago: Let your pup experience yacht life with the 90-minute Mercury Canine Cruise on the Chicago River
If it’s time to drive, safety first.
Your dog may love sticking his head out the window, but unfortunately it’s not in his best interest. The ASPCA warns this is a bad idea as he could be struck by a projectile or get overexcited and jump from the moving vehicle. Instead, secure your dog either in a crate or with a seatbelt harness that keeps him secure. Also be wary of your dog becoming overheated in the car. Make sure he has plenty of fresh water and go ahead and turn up that air conditioning. Finally, never ever leave your dog in a parked vehicle alone.
Know the rules.
Before you take your dog anywhere in a new area, make sure he’s welcome. Not all national and state parks allow dogs. Some allow canine companions, but you have to keep him on a leash. It may also depend on the time of year. Some beaches and campsites, for instance, prohibit dogs during the busy season. And even if it’s not explicitly stated in the rules, always pick up your pet’s waste. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Book a dog-friendly hotel.
The hotel’s description may say “pets allowed,” but that doesn’t necessarily make it dog-friendly. Some hotels offer programs that enthusiastically invite your pup. Look for a dog-friendly hotel that provides canine amenities such as a dog bed, food and water bowls, dog-walking services, and turndown treats. These places tend to be a bit pricier and come with additional cleaning fees, but isn’t he worth it?
Recognize when it’s best to leave him at home.
While your pup will definitely miss you when you’re away, sometimes it’s still best to leave him home. Traveling can cause crazy amounts of stress for your dog and it can make a vacation much more complicated -- not to mention more expensive. Putting your dog in a great boarding facility can be like a little vacation of his own. With scheduled walks and playtime with other pups, he’ll be having so much fun he won’t be too down about missing you. Don’t worry -- you’ll still get the most excited greeting when you finally come home.
While taking dogs on vacation is becoming more and more common, it still presents difficulties. From travel to lodging, you’ll have to make special accommodations for your four-legged family member. Depending on your dog’s temperament, it may be best to leave him with some trained professionals who will give him all the attention he needs until you get back. It’s really up to your family and what’s best for your particular pooch.
Thank you to our guest blogger Michael Bourke