Thursday, September 11, 2014

Traveling with dogs

We usually take our dogs with us when we go on road trips, especially if we are camping or if we are paying a visit to our future cabin site.   Our dogs are a joy to travel with since they both behave well in hotel rooms and in the car--although once they both started to bark hysterically at a group of bikers that passed us on the freeway-- very funny at the time, since the bikers roared past us completely oblivious to our savage beasts rampaging at them on the other side of the window.  

Here is a list of necessary items to pack when vacationing with your dog.

  • brush to remove hair and dirt (minimizes dirt in the car, hotel room, or tent)
  • chew toys
  • a dog bed
  • six foot leash
  • a longer line if you are camping
  • metal bowls for water and food (they won't break) 
  • dog food
  • water (for dogs and people)
  • treats (a reward for being a good traveler)
  • treats for you (because you are on vacation)
  • old towels and paper towels to wipe paws and clean up messes
  • Nature's Miracle, 24 oz. size bottle to clean up messes (it really does eliminate stains and odors, I buy it by the gallon)
  • small sacks and a pooper-scooper for more clean up 
  • a crate or harness if you feel your dog should be restrained in the car

Of course, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations before you leave. Tags with contact information and microchips increase the chances that you will be reunited with your dog if he or she gets lost while you are traveling  (I watch my dogs like a hawk all the time when vacationing with them, since that is my worst nightmare).

You can search for pet-friendly hotels using online travel directories such as BringFido, Official Pet Hotels, Pet Friendly Hotels, and Pets Welcome, to name a few.  Note that some hotels have size/weight limits and have limits on the number of doggy guests. Some hotels will charge a fee per dog.  You are expected to clean up after your dog in hotel rooms (see towels and Nature's Miracle above). 

It's a good idea to walk your dog before you start your trip to wear off any extra energy (so that you have a quiet, sleeping dog in the car) and limit water to minimize the number of times you need to stop for potty breaks.

Take a look at Cesar Millan's website for other useful tips for traveling with your dog.  Other useful websites include the American Kennel Club, the ASPCA, or the Humane Society.  You are limited to paved sidewalks and roads in national parks (unfortunately you can't take them hiking on trails and in the back country).  Most state parks are more lenient-- but check before you leave.  There are no restrictions on where dogs may go in national forests, although again, you should check specific national forest regulations before you leave.

Bon voyage!

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