Travelling alone can be relaxing and quite easy to plan. Once you add a dog into the mix, things can become more difficult to organize. Finding a dog friendly hotel or campground, planning potty breaks along the way, scouting out dog parks, understanding local laws, and deciding what gear to bring can become overwhelming. With a little research and planning, the rest can be quite enjoyable! For those of you who are going on your first road trip with your dog, there are a few things you can do to help the drive go smoothly.
We always like to exercise Farley before travelling. A quick game of fetch or a trip to the dog park can ensure that she will spend the next few hours sleeping, rather than becoming restless. We also bring appropriate toys or chews to keep her entertained for longer periods of time. While she’s more content spending hours in the car as she gets older, when she was a puppy we would always plan to stop at a dog park approximately half way through our drive to burn her excess energy.
When travelling with a dog, planning overnight stops can be one of the most important steps. Many hotels have limits on the number of pets, the weight of the pet, or charge pet fees per night and per dog. With time and research, you can often find a hotel that goes out of their way to accommodate all sizes, breeds, and only charges a one time pet fee if any. Campgrounds also seem hit or miss around allowing dogs. Remember to do your research prior to booking, including looking in to local laws and breed restrictions. Having a positive and welcoming environment to stay during your road trip can eliminate much unwanted stress.
There are many dog friendly adventures out there so we like to plan ahead and find some that we can participate in during our road trip. Having these mapped out ahead of time can leave you with more time to explore and have fun. Having indoor and outdoor options for various weather outcomes is also a good idea. This allows your schedule to be more flexible and accommodating should Mother Nature choose not to cooperate. While there are a few websites that claim to have the most information regarding dog-friendly adventures, hotels, restaurants etc, we have found that independent searches often yield more results and accurate information.
We try our best to travel light, but still have all of the necessities. Having a separate travel bag for your dog can make packing, organizing, and finding items much easier throughout your trip. There are a few dog-specific travel bags on that market that contain travel bowls and a washable liner. We tend to carry along travel-sized versions of items that we will use throughout our trip. This can include travel bowls, portioned kibble, a bag of training treats, a roll of poop bags, a first aid kit, and a couple of her favourite but smaller toys. If we will be in a location with pet stores, or if we are traveling across the border we may choose to buy treats and kibble upon arrival. We also ensure she is wearing a collar with an ID tag at all times.
If you are travelling out of country, it is important to do your research around entry requirements. While some border crossings may only require a vaccination record, others may require a health certificate, titers, or a pet visa. Always ensure you have a copy of our dog’s vaccination records even when travelling within your home county, as you never know when you’ll need to show proof. Keep in mind that some locations are prone to ticks, making it important to have a flea and tick preventative on board.
Another important document that we carry is Farley’s pet insurance policy and account number. While we are optimistic that nothing will occur, we rather be prepared for any possible scenario.
While travelling with a pet requires research for overnight accommodations, meals, adventures, and destinations, the overall experience of exploring new and exciting places with your dog is worth it. The bond that you create is something you will remember in years to come. Take your time to plan ahead and enjoy every minute of your dog friendly vacation!
About the author: Stephanie and Farley enjoyed adventuring in the Canadian Rockies. When not out hiking and camping they can be found participating in agility. Check them out on Instagram @farley_the_labrador