Monday, August 11, 2008

Pet-Friendly Road-Trip Travel

We really don’t think it’s a great idea to fly with any animal – it’s stressful for both pet and human, and it’s risky (animals do die, although very infrequently). On road trips, though, traveling with the critters, especially dogs, can be relatively easy.

You’ll have three major aspects to consider. 1) While traveling in your car. 2) Lodging. 3) What to do with the dog(s) while you’re doing other things – tasting wine, shopping, etc.

In the vehicle, you should have plenty of space and carry a familiar blanket or pad. Make lots of stops along the way for short pee breaks. Don’t feed them significantly, but offer the occasional treat or dog biscuit. When you stop, unless you’re in the middle of nowhere and far off the highway, put them on a leash for their break – you don’t want them chasing a rabbit across the highway. Offer water outside the car during those stops. And, obviously, factor in a bit of extra time for all those breaks – traveling with a dog can easily add 30-45 minutes or more to a day’s drive.

There are many lodging options for dog travelers, but our favorites are motels that have individual cottage or cabin units. Some home rentals ( is a good source for vacation homes) are pet-friendly, but most are geared to multi-day stays rather than single nights on the road.

When you go out for the day to do your own thing, take the dogs. Do not leave them in your room or rental (most lodging specifically prohibits it anyway). As with driving, allow extra time in your schedule for breaks and walks. If you leave the dogs in the car for two hours while you’re shopping, make sure they get a good 10-15 minute walk when you get back. Also, leave all windows opened a few inches to give the dogs plenty of air. And you probably don’t want to travel with animals at all during the heat of summer.

Take familiar objects along – dog beds, their usual food, toys, treats, etc. The more they feel at home the more your dogs will be good travelers. And if you have a barker, invest in a bark collar – they are not cruel, and should keep the peace with other travelers. Anytime, anywhere you’re walking your dog, pick up after it and dispose of the droppings appropriately. And do take them for walks a lot – they don’t have their yard or other usual outdoor space to run and play in.

Lastly, be a good traveling-dog owner. One lodge owner said to us that he’d had more problems with people and kids than with dogs, and therefore welcomed them. Be respectful and considerate, and more lodging owners might allow animals on their properties.

Vacation Rentals Accepting Pets
Pets Allowed Hotels