To travel or not to travel, with a dog, that is. Throughout my 20+ years of traveling with dogs, I have not had any regrets about pet-friendly roads taken and less taken.
There are pros and cons to taking the family dog along for the ride, with the scales leaning heavily in favor of taking my best furry friend with me. Have dog, will travel—this is my mantra. So what could possibly be a con in taking Fido along? Here are some downsides but here's you can do about them to turn those frowns upside down:
Accommodations may be less than lack luster, depending on where you stay. To some, pet friendly means a carpet-less room at the end of a first floor hallway. Until the lodging industry gets wise to the millions of dollars being spent yearly by pet-friendly travelers, avoid pet friendly bare bones (pun intended) digs by asking what exactly “pet friendly” means before booking a room.
Most restaurants will not allow dogs inside. Due to federal and state health code regulations, dogs are generally not welcomed in restaurants. When I travel, I get take out or call ahead or log online to locate eateries which have special dog-friendly sections in their outdoor patios. I do not find it an inconvenience to do so, as I get to share meals with family—and that includes the dog.
Prices: Some hotels and Bed and Breakfasts will charge per dog, per night, and often the fee is non-refundable. In many cases, the fees are reasonable, but sometimes the costs are exuberant. Always call ahead and ask if the fees are per night, per pet, if it is refundable, and get a quote on the amount that will be charged.
Extra packing and planning: Depending on how you look at this, the glass is either half full or half empty. For me, I would feel naked without my dog’s suitcase next to mine in the trunk. However, traveling with a dog(s) takes extra planning and packing. Things like vaccination records, first aid kit, food and water, along with toys and treats are all needed to keep Fido happy and healthy when traveling. This is not a con for me, but to some it can be. Plan ahead and make lists.
Some dogs are not happy about traveling, so a road trip might cause more harm than good. Car-fearful dogs should never be forced to face their anxieties. Instead, assess your pooch’s road readiness with a five-minute trip around the block. Work with your vet and/or a behaviorist in ways to curb doggie apprehensions. Do short trips and increase the amount in getting to a favorite destination, like the dog park or favorite relative’s house. Make the arrival a fun, positive and rewarded experience. Never punish a dog for not wanting to travel in a car. In a worst case scenario, enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend, or pet sitter.
Although there can be some downsides, they can easily be rectified in most cases and made into positive, rewarding aspects. For me, vacations would not be the same without my furry family member.
Have you vacationed or traveled with your dog? Bark at me below.
Photo courtesy Carol Bryant