By Chelsea Pennington
Summer is here, and for many of us that means it’s time for vacation. If you don’t want your pet to miss out on the fun, we’ve got some tips for safe travel and some pet-friendly destinations to make sure you have a great vacation with your furry friend!
Get your pet road trip ready
Before you leave, help your pet adjust to riding in a car by taking them on short drives, slowly increasing the amount of time and rewarding them with treats.
Your pet may seem completely comfortable in the car, but it’s still best to make sure they are secure. You can never know how they might react to a loud noise, and this will also prevent injuries in case of any sudden stops. The best way to do this is by using a crate that your pet can comfortably sit, stand up, and lie down in, and securing the crate within the car. If you decide not to use a crate, you can use a “doggy seatbelt,” typically a harness that can buckle into the seatbelt.
Bring more food and water for your pet than you think you’ll need, since traffic, car troubles, or any other unexpected delays may extend your travel time. Make regular stops to let your dog go to the bathroom or clean out kitty litter, and ensure they are drinking enough water. Never leave your pet alone in the car, even if you have the windows rolled down or the A/C running.
If your pet is flying, make sure they have everything they’ll need
Buy a USDA-approved crate big enough for your pet to sit, stand, and lie down in. Line it with absorbent bedding such as shredded towels in case of any accidents. You can tape a small baggie of food on the outside of the crate for the airline staff to feed your pet if travel time increases unexpectedly. For water, use a bowl that can attach to the crate door. Fill it with water the night before and freeze it. This way, it won’t spill during loading but then will melt during the flight for your pet to drink.
Be prepared for the worst case scenario
Make sure your pet has proper identification, and consider having your pet microchipped if they aren’t already. Mark the crate with “Live Animal” and include your name, cell phone and destination number, and a photo of your pet in case they escape. You should also keep a photo of your pet with you. Don’t be afraid to be assertive when it comes to your pet’s well-being. Tell any airline employees you talk to, whether on the ground or in the air, that you’re traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way if there is a delay they’re aware and you can both decide the best course of action, even if that means removing your pet from the cargo hold and deplaning.
Choose the right city
Across the U.S., cities are becoming more pet friendly so that you don’t have to leave your furry friend behind. Visit the Red Bud Isle peninsula in Austin, Texas for lots of off-leash adventures and water to play in, and even pick up some doggy treats at the Groovy Dog Bakery. Asheville, North Carolina boasts 220 acres of pet-friendly grounds at the Biltmore Estate, as well as the French Broad River Dog Park with a fenced-off, wood-chipped acre for pups to play in and a river to splash around in, too. Keywest, Florida is always a popular vacation spot, and now your dog can join in on the fun, whether it’s running around on the Key West Dog Beach or getting out on the water with Lazy Dog Kayak.
Or look for a more unique destination
Check out Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho. A local couple who have spent decades as woodworking artists built the bed and breakfast to look like a giant beagle, which sleeps four people plus any furry companions! If your dog loves socializing, check out Woofstock in Toronto. The largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America, Woofstock attracts hundreds of thousands of dogs and their owners each year to celebrate dogs and participate in wacky events, such as dog speed dating, Mr. and Mrs. Canine Canada, and the Running of the Pugs.
If they can’t travel with you, make sure you have a safe and fun place to board them
Boarding your pet is a great way to make sure they receive the care and love they deserve while you’re out of town. At Bark + Boarding, we offer a unique boarding structure that gives your pet their own room for their bedding and toys, supervised play, and regular meals and bathroom breaks in our outdoor run. This means less stress for your pet, and for you!