The Ultimate Guide to Taking Your Dog on Vacation
Since they are a very impawtant family member, it makes sense to want to bring your dog on vacation! The grrreat news is… you can! With the right prep work, you and Fido can enjoy a fantastic getaway together. In this blog, we dig into all the tips and tricks you need to know for vacationing with your dog.
However, before you read any furrther, consider if bringing your dog on vacation is a good fit for you and your woof. If your dog doesn’t like to travel and/or you don’t feel equipped to take them on a journey, Fido is always welcome to join us for Overnight Dog Boarding at Hounds Lounge. Our doggie guests are treated to their very own luxury vacation, complete with private suites, all-day play in 5,000+ sq. ft. indoor/outdoor play yards, and 24/7 on-site staff available at their bark and call.
If your fur fam is ready to bring your dog on a trip, keep reading to learn the types of vacations ideal for dogs, as well as how to travel with Fido.
The Best Dog-Friendly Vacations
Here’s a paw-ful of dog-friendly vacations, sure to get you smilin’ and Fido’s tail waggin’.
It doesn’t get much better than feeling the sand on your feet… or your paws! With wide-open areas perfect for fetch, spacious lodging options, and a laid-back itinerary, the beach is typically a solid vacation for doggos. It’s also a big hit with water woofs! Before booking your beach vacay, make sure you’re staying near a beach that allows dogs. It’s also a good idea to invest in a doggie life jacket if you don’t currently own one.
Safety should always come furrst. In their article, Dogs and Water Safety, Fetch by WebMD shares safety tips for all bodies of water, as well as the general water safety tips listed below:
- Rinse [your dog] off after they have been in any type of water. Seawater minerals, salt, chlorine, algae, and pollution can irritate or damage their skin and fur.
- Remove their flea collar before they swim. Water can wash off its active ingredients.
- Dry your dog’s ears completely to prevent an infection. Try an ear cleaner that has a drying agent in it.
- Learn canine CPR. Mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions could save a dog’s life in an emergency.
- Never leave your pal alone in the water.
When you bring your dog on vacation to the beach, you can both bum it up! Just remember to keep Fido on a leash and keep him (and yourself) hydrated with lots of water. For your nights out on the town, look into dog-friendly restaurants and bars, or be prepared to crate Fido in your hotel room or condo.
Going camping is a natural choice when vacationing with your dog! In fact, many state parks and national parks offurr dog-friendly campgrounds. This type of trip is a fun way to see the U.S. with your woof in tow. Before visiting a dog-friendly campground, research their leash requirements and behavior rules.
Camping is also a good opportunity for you and your dog to get some exercise. Take hikes and walks with your dog in areas where pets are permitted – but be mindful of all the other wildlife, both plants, and animals! Don’t let Fido eat any plants or drink any stagnant water. If you see a wild animal, stay calm and walk away.
In the grrreat outdoors, leashes are a must, as is flea and tick prevention. Serious hikers might also invest in a pair of booties to protect their pooch’s paws. They might look a little silly, but they’re worth it to keep Fido’s feet safe from sharp rocks and rough terrain. Plus, booties aren’t exclusive to hiking – they can also protect your woof’s paws when walking on hot pavement.
Who says big cities are off-limits for dogs? If you want to take your dog on a trip to a city, we’ve got a few options for you!
Austin is filled to the brim with dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, and activities! The city even offurrs yoga with your dog, aptly titled Austin Doga. If downward dog isn’t really you and Fido’s thing, you can jam out to live music together at hot spots like the Moontower Saloon.
Seattle is home to many pet-friendly parks, including the huge Warren G. Magnuson Park Off-Leash Area. It’s 8.6 acres of fully-fenced fun! Surrounded by walking and hiking trails, Seattle is a great place to get steps in, whether you’re on the city streets or in the nearby mountains.
While you’re in the birthplace of Starbucks Coffee, it’s only right that you swing by for an afternoon Pup Cup!
San Francisco, CA
This vacation destination gives you the best of the beach, nature, and the big city. San Francisco boasts lovely year-round temperatures that make it super pleasant for vacationing with your heavy-coated dog. According to Weather Spark, we’re talking lows rarely below 39°F and highs rarely above 83°F.
While woofs are not allowed on the famous Golden Gate Bridge, they are allowed to burn energy and take in the scenery at Golden Gate Park! California has no shortage of cities to bring your dog on vacation: San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Lake Tahoe are also beautiful and fun spots for you and Fido to visit.
New York, NY
While it might be surprising to non-New Yorkers, the Big Apple is actually very pet-friendly! With a plethora of green spaces for playtime and potty breaks, you don’t have to worry about Fido being cooped up in a tiny hotel room. However, there are many dog-friendly hotel options, as well as restaurants, bars, shops, art galleries, and city tours.
Woofs are even allowed on the subway, as long as they can fit in a small bag or carrier. This blog from Boogie the Pug helps break down the subway rules and solutions for larger pooches.
Whether you’re going to the beach, going camping, or traveling to a big city, you must have a plan for bringing your dog on vacation. Make sure to do plenty of research ahead of time on dog-friendly activities and lodging, from hotels to Airbnbs to… your distant relatives!
Staying with Family and Furriends
It’s very impawtant to give family members and friends a heads-up if you plan to stay with them while vacationing with your dog. Even if it’s just for one night, they might need to puppy-proof their pad.
You should remind your gracious hosts to put away any poisonous houseplants, pick up any chewable items like shoes, and have a chat with the kids about feeding Fido scraps – send them the link to our blog, Can Dogs Eat Table Food?. Most importantly, remember to be a kind and courteous guest, and make sure Fido is on his best behavior!
Vacations You Shouldn’t Take Your Dog On
While there are many places you can take your pooch on vacation, it’s sometimes best to leave your dog behind. For example, if you’re traveling to Europe and plan to visit historic sites, tour art museums and enjoy fine dining, that’s not a very pet-friendly vacation. Additionally, it would be quite expensive and difficult to travel internationally with Fido! Your woof won’t be too upset to miss the Colosseum.
You should also avoid very hot and/or tropical vacation destinations, as dogs can overheat. Your pooch shouldn’t get too close to the Equator!
How to Travel with Your Dog on Vacation
Now that you know where you should and should not take your dog on vacation, here’s how you should go about getting to your destination!
What You Need to Pack When Vacationing with Your Dog
You need luggage, and Fido does too. Here’s what you’ll need to pack to take your dog on a trip.
- Vaccination records
- Leash (Fido should already be wearing his collar and identification tags)
- Food and water, plus bowls
- Blanket or bed
- Pet first aid kit
- Poop bags
- Cleaning products (in case of accidents or messes)
- Current photos of your dog, both printed and digital (in case Fido gets lost)
How to Road Trip with Your Dog
Road trips are by far the easiest way to travel with your dog. Below are a few tips on how to help Fido enjoy the ride!
Practice Riding in the Car
If your woof loves car rides, then you’re already in good shape here. But, if Fido is not a big fan of the car, you can take casual rides around town to help him get used to being a passenger. With each ride, slowly increase the amount of time your woof’s in the car. If your doggo continues to feel anxious in the car, consult with your vet.
Put Safety Furrst
Your woof is precious cargo. When you’re taking a road trip, your pup needs to be secured in one spot – sorry, no riding shotgun with his head stuck out the window! One option is to crate your dog in a travel crate that’s firmly attached to the vehicle floor or the backseat. We recommend getting a travel crate that is crash tested.
Another option is to secure your dog in the backseat with a crash-tested car safety harness and seat belt.
Prep Your Car
Before you hit the road to take your dog on vacation, get your car dog-friendly. You’ll need to have easy access to food, water, and treats, so don’t pack those in a hard-to-reach area. If you anticipate Fido being messy, lay out towels or a tarp where he’ll be riding.
Take Plenty of Rest Stops
After every three to four hours you’ve been on the road, take a break. More than likely, both you and your woof need to stretch your legs and go potty. You should also make sure Fido drinks a good amount of water at this time! Before your woof gets out of the car, leash him up, and unleash him once he’s back in the vehicle.
Just like a kid needs a book or tablet – and adults need their podcasts – to keep them distracted during long car rides, Fido needs some stimulation too. A frozen Kong stuffed with treats is always a good idea!
Give Your Dog Room to Breathe
Dogs going on vacation need their space! You wouldn’t want the leaning tower of luggage falling on you, right? Therefurr, don’t put lots of bags in the seat next to Fido – he deserves and needs plenty of room to be comfortable.
How to Fly with Your Dog
Sometimes vacationing with your dog requires a plane flight – which is an expensive and somewhat complicated venture. It’s definitely pawsible, but only fly with your pooch if it’s absolutely necessary. We’ve laid out what you need to know to jet set with Fido.
Prep with Your Vet
Before your woof sets paw on a plane, you should make a plan with your veterinarian. They will tell you how to handle food, water, and medication.
For flight departure and return, you’ll need a health certificate proving your dog is healthy and fully vaccinated. Your vet will be the person to provide this document, so be sure to ask about it well before your trip.
Read up on the Rules
Visit your airline’s website before buying Fido a ticket. Some airlines prohibit certain breeds from flying, and you don’t want to get turned away during boarding.
Talk to the Airline
Most airlines only allow so many dogs per flight, so you should call ahead to make sure there’s room for your pooch. Most reservations are made on a first-come, first-serve basis. While you’re on the line, you can also ask any questions you may have, though you might be directed back to the airline’s website.
Find Out Where Your Dog Will Fly
Dogs fly in one of two places on commercial flights: in the cabin or cargo. Though the rules vary depending on the airline, dogs can usually only fly in the cabin if they are small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat in front of you. Larger dogs must fly in a crate in the cargo hold.
Flying in the cargo hold can be loud, scary, and even dangerous. To learn more about the potential risks of a dog flying in cargo and precautions you can take to protect your pooch, read this article from Preventive Vet. If you decide flying isn’t right for your woof, you can always make a reservation for Overnight Dog Boarding at Hounds Lounge.
Choose the Right Flight
There are many factors to consider when vacationing with your dog by plane. For starters, the shorter the flight, the better. Non-stop flights are also best, and it’s ideal to avoid flying during busy travel periods, such as holidays. You should also consider the weather, as dogs flying in cargo can get very hot.
Decide if it’s Worth the Price
According to Condé Nast Traveler:
You’ll typically pay around $125 each way for your pet to fly in the cabin with you, though it varies by airline. The cost of shipping your pet in the cargo hold depends on the combined weight of your dog and their crate, as well as how far they’ll be flying – most airlines offer online calculators for getting an estimate.
If Fido’s up for air travel and the price is right, you’re ready for takeoff.
How to Travel by Train with Your Dog
While it might seem outdated, traveling by train is a fairly easy and safe way to take your dog on vacation! If you’re traveling via Amtrak, one pet per customer is allowed on most trains if they fit the following criteria.
- The pet plus their carrier weighs no more than 20 pounds
- The pet is at least eight weeks old
- The pet is vaccinated
Check out this blog from Amtrak to get more information.
When Not to Travel with Your Dog on Vacation
While there are certain places you shouldn’t bring your dog on vacation, there are also certain travel situations that require you to leave your dog behind.
When Traveling By Yourself on a Long Journey
When you’re going on a trip with your dog, there should be at least two hoomans partaking in the vacay. Since one person can watch the dog at all times, bathroom breaks, food runs, etc. are made easy. It’s also much safer than trying to drive a car and care for a dog at the same time. Long, solo road trips are a no-go for doggos.
When Traveling in a Hurry
If you don’t have time to make ample stops for your woof, you should leave your dog at home.
When Traveling with Limited Space
While en route, Fido should have plenty of room to get cozy. Under no circumstances should your woof be riding in a truck bed! If your car or other modes of transportation can’t offer the comfort and safety Fido needs, don’t take Fido with you.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, consider hiring a pet sitter or booking Overnight Dog Boarding at Hounds Lounge. If you’re curious about the differences between dog sitting and dog boarding, read our blog on the topic.
Whether you choose to take your dog on vacation with you or give them their own howliday at Hounds Lounge, we wish you the absolute best trip pawsible.