How To Plan a Dog-Friendly Summer Vacation

Summer fun is right around the corner and don’t forget your furry family member.

Whether it’s a day trip to a national park or a week-long beach adventure, arrange your itinerary to accommodate your pup—that is, of course, if your dog is one who’s happy and comfortable with new experiences. (If not, consider hiring a pet sitter and leave your pet at home.)

Plan Ahead

You can’t wing vacation plans when your dog is with you. If your spontaneous family stops at roadside attractions or pulls off the highway to overnight at any old roadside motel, a dog-friendly vacation requires more planning than you’re used to. Research pet-friendly hotels along your route or look into cabin rentals that allow dogs. Call ahead and ask if any nearby restaurants welcome dogs on their outdoor patios. Same goes for attractions: Skip theme parks and water parks that don’t welcome pets, and plan your trip around parks and outdoor attractions. Look for arts festivals and street fairs in small towns nearby.

Even on the most well-thought-out pet-friendly vacation, not every stop along the way will welcome your dog. Plan to accommodate your pet for those occasions. For example, book a hotel that allows a pet to stay in the room in a crate if you have to pick up breakfast or hit the laundromat.

Pack Carefully

After you’ve planned the perfect dog-friendly adventure, the next hurdle is your pup’s packing list. You need basics like food and medication for the duration of the trip, water, bowls, a leash, and a crate. Your dog needs to wear a collar with updated identification information, and consider bringing along a printout with your dog’s picture and information and a jump drive loaded with his veterinary records, just in case of emergency.

Bring his favorite toy and something to chew, especially if he’ll be crated in a hotel room for any period of time, and stock a few first aid items—antiseptic and bandages at a minimum, plus any carsickness combatants—along with your family’s kit. Some destinations require specific extras, like if your family plans to climb rocky terrain, include booties, a harness, and paw butter. Beach-bound pups should have sunscreen and a life jacket, and consider a brightly-colored jacket if you’re planning a hike anywhere near hunting areas.

Mind Your Pet-Friendly Manners

Recently, more establishments have extended the welcome to our well-behaved canine companions. As you enjoy your summer vacation with your pup, remember that you and your dog should set a positive example to businesses and other travelers. Keep your dog on leash at all times, and always pick up after your pup. Curb excess barking, especially in hotel rooms, by keeping your dog busy with a chew toy. As more businesses see well-behaved pups enjoying their family vacation, more invitations to bring your dog along will be extended, making it easier and more fun to vacation with your entire family.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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