Travelling with dogs - the easy way!
Planning is key
I'm not a naturally-organized person. My desk is one of those cliches - I'm the only one who can find anything. I've finally learned, after decades, to put my clothes away where they belong. I've spent far too much of my life looking for things.
As you can tell, I know myself pretty well and I've become a list-maker to simplify my life. I may not pack for a road trip until after dark the night before I leave, but I have a list all ready and packing doesn't take much time.
On my last vacation (staying in a motorhome in the Florida Keys), I realized that my dogs' list was longer than mine. Travelling with dogs does complicate things, but if you think things through before you start out, most of the battle is already won.
Why bring the dogs?
I get this question a lot - mostly from my non-dog-owning friends.
We all vacation to "get away from it all" - that all includes work, responsibilities, and, (especially this winter of 2013-14) the weather. When I left home there was two feet of snow on the ground and the temperature hadn't been above freezing in almost a month.
I don't want to get away from my dogs. I enjoy spending time with them. I like playing with them, taking walks with them, and "chilling" with them, either sitting at the water's edge and relaxing in the sunshine, or watching tv on the couch.
My dogs love vacations
Bringing dogs is easier than ever!
Many hotel/motel chains have recognized that many of us choose to bring our dogs along and have become more dog-friendly.
According to BringFido.com, there are over 30,000 pet-friendly hotels in the U.S. alone. Among the chains that are fairly consistent in welcoming pets are Motel 6, LaQuinta, Days Inn, Quality Inn. It is a good idea to check with the particular hotel you're planning to stay in and be aware that many charge a "pet fee" and designate particular rooms for those staying with dogs.
Most hotels also require that your dogs be crated when/if you leave them alone in the room. It ensures everyone's safety. For maximum security, I use collapsible metal crates (so they won't rip soft crates apart) with cushy crate beds (so they'll be comfortable).
To ensure that you and your dog will be welcome back - I always bring my own blanket and, as soon as I check in, remove the hotel's blanket/duvet and replace it with my own. That way I can feel comfortable allowing my dogs to join me on the bed.
Set up for dogs
"On the road" is easy!
You'll find that rest areas almost all have "dog walk areas."
I even found a McDonald's outside of Atlanta, Georgia, that advertises its pet-friendly status on huge billboards on the highway.
As long as those of us with dogs maintain our "good citizen" status (always clean up after your dog, teach them to behave in their crates, etc.) I think the world will become increasingly welcoming of pets.
In direct contradiction to the previous paragraph - I will admit that Roc, my 12-year-old Brussels Griffon boy, is a pain in the butt.
He has acid reflux, a heart condition, doesn't see very well, pretends he can't hear, and a couple of months ago he damaged a couple of discs in his spine so he doesn't walk very well.
Roc's list included all of his medications, his food, his harness and leash, and his favorite toy - his Zippy Burrows Aquarium. Additionally, he needs incredibly yummy treats so he doesn't mind doing the physical therapy exercises he needs to stay mobile.
Teddy is a four-year-old French Bulldog who is a "momma's boy." He likes to be next to me all the time - and I enjoy it.
He's fun - accompanying me on long walks, training for obedience and agility, and generally being great company.
He's also very opinionated and makes some of the strangest sounds you'll ever hear coming out of a dog. One of his best is the creaking door imitation. It always makes us laugh.
Teddy does require some luggage of his own - he's prone to tear stains and I need to keep his face clean to avoid them. He also sheds, so a brush is crucial. And since we are training for competition, I need to bring equipment for that. Single, folding jumps are great for that - but it can be something as simple as his obedience dumbbell to practice "retrieves."
My dogs' (and my) favorite vacation spot
Right on the Atlantic Ocean, Knight's Key campground is extremely dog-friendly and accommodating. Book early - "in season" spaces go fast!
Have you vacationed with your pets?
How was it for you?
From many trips, both cross-country and weekend get-aways, here's my "travelling with dogs" list:
- Dog food in plastic cereal containers.
- Dog bowls
- Gallon of local water
- Poop bags
- Dogs' medications
- Crates (cages) for in the car and in the hotel
- Dog toys and bones (chew toys)
- Collars or harnesses and leashes
- Paper towels
- Wet-wipes and/or hand sanitizer
- King-sized blanket
- Training treats
- Special stuff: like Roc's Pooch Pack and Teddy's training equipment
Enjoying the good life
© 2014 HopeS