Health & Wellness Articles

Dog-Friendly Vacations

The Best Trips to Take with Your Pet

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Whether you're traveling solo or bringing the whole family along on vacation, you can add even more fun to your trip by including your beloved canine companion. More than 80 percent of people who travel with pets bring their dog, according to a 2012 survey by AAA and Best Western. The survey also showed that the most popular pet-friendly vacations are visiting friends and family, going on a road trip, going to the beach, camping, visiting a new city and hiking.

One of my favorite vacations was the time my husband and I drove to Savannah, GA, with our dog Jack. We found a bed and breakfast that allowed pets and had a little fenced-in yard. We walked on a nearby beach and around the city, eating outdoors and visiting the local dog park. One day, when we wanted to go on a tour that didn't allow animals, we dropped Jack off at a doggy day care that we had researched ahead of time. Even though Jack is a bit apprenhensive when it comes to new experiences, he did great, and we all had a wonderful time.

Here's what you need to know to plan a trip that both you and your dog will enjoy.
 
Do Your Research
Regardless of where you go, do your research first. It's not a good idea to just "play it by ear" as you might on a normal vacation. Besides choosing a travel method and a place to stay, you should find out if there are public dog parks you can visit or other outdoor spaces where you can easily walk your pet.

If you think you might like a break from your pet, research doggy day cares and boarding options. Get up-to-date records from your vet and make sure your dog is current on all vaccinations. (Day cares often have very specific requirements, so be sure to call ahead or check their website.) You'll probably need to stop by early in your trip to have your dog evaluated to make sure he gets along with the other animals there.

You'll also want to look into local leash laws and pet restrictions. For example, many beaches restrict when and how dogs are allowed to visit. And certain cities have outlawed specific breeds altogether.

There are plenty of websites devoted to helping pet parents plan successful trips, including BringFido, DogFriendly, PetFriendly Travel and Pet Hotels of America.
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About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

Member Comments

  • I would never think about going on vacation without my dogs. We took an RV trip up the east coast and included our dog, it was the best. I've always wondered about dogs on an airplane; so, the stats just blew me away...I wouldn't want to fly in a cage under the plane and I never wanted to have my pups exposed either, I'm glad I never have. - 7/15/2015 10:16:59 PM
  • My daughter goes to school in Portland, OR, so I try to get up for a visit as often as possible. Leaving my two small dogs behind was always hard until I discovered that 1) Besides Best Western, AIRBnB is an excellent and affordable way to stay in a place that will allow your pets, and 2) Portland is one of the most Dog-Friendly cities in the country! Many restaurants (especially in the Alberta district) will allow your dog beside you as you dine (outside, of course). Our favorite is the Tin Shed, which even has a special dog meal on the menu! - 7/15/2015 12:57:07 PM
  • My husband and I have been considering taking our girl on Vacation. I try to talk him out of it, since we usually are only gone for a couple of days,( she goes to a good Kennel in the area, that we use) When and if we go someplace (like camping), we would probably take her. Gotta be careful though, she's a 20 pound Westie,( but she thinks she's a big dog) We do take her with us on errands, when one of us can stay in the car, since she does like car rides. We don't use her carrier though, we do have a harness for the car that we use, as well as a car seat cover that hooks to the back of the front seat head rests, creating a barrier so a fast stop won't send her flying, in spite of her harness. She is ALWAYS in the back seat, and strapped in though, NEVER loose. - 10/1/2014 3:32:33 PM

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