Does the thought of leaving your puppy caged in a kennel while you’re out having lots of fun bother you? Do you worry over the fact that your puppy has never spent time away from you and may become sick with worry over your absence?
If the answer is “yes,” consider taking your puppy on vacation with you.
It used to be a lot more difficult to find dog-friendly vacation spots, but that has changed. More hotels, lodges and rentals are opening their doors to our furry canine friends. A little research is all it takes to find a vacation spot that you and your pet can enjoy.
Before searching for puppy-friendly vacation sites, it is important to realize that your dog needs to be well-behaved before going on family adventures. Campsite neighbors aren’t going to be happy if Fido steals the steak off of their grill. The guests in the hotel room next to you are not going to be too kind if the dog barks all night.
If you decide to take your dog with you, you need to be ready to take on the responsibility that comes along with it. Don’t expect hotel management to be happy with you if you shut the puppy in the room all day while you and the rest of the family are out seeing the sights. Most hotels, motels, lodges and bed and breakfasts require that the dog goes with you whenever you leave the premises.
The idea of a pet-friendly vacation is to embark on activities that the whole family, including the dog, can enjoy. That means you will need to allow some time for activities the puppy will enjoy. This may be as simple as finding a hiking trail or dog-friendly beach where the whole family can romp in the water and play in the sand.
If you’re thinking about taking your puppy with you on your next vacation, you may want to consider starting your research by asking other dog owners for suggestions. Their firsthand experiences can put you on the right track.
There are LOTS of sources of puppy-friendly destinations on the Internet. While it is relatively easy to find pet-friendly lodging, it can be a little more difficult to find activities that both the family and the dog can participate in. Don’t be afraid to call ahead and talk to the hotel or lodge staff. Ask what activities are available for your puppy. If you don’t get good information from the hotel staff, a call to the local chamber of commerce can also be helpful. Some great people that love dogs have recommended some of my favorite vacation destinations.
You can also call places that you intend to visit. For example, if you would like to visit an amusement park, find out what facilities and services are available for the puppy. Is the dog allowed to walk around the facility with you or must he or she be placed in a kennel?
If you think that you are going to want time for human activities only, be sure to check to see if your destination offers pet sitting services. Some offer walking services as well.
It can be a good idea to check with local restaurants to see if a puppy is allowed on the outdoor deck while you dine. Some establishments do permit your dog to accompany you. This is a very important piece of the planning if you are vacationing in an area where it is hot. You cannot just lock the puppy in the car when it doesn’t suit to take him or her with you.
You may also want to check on veterinarian services when choosing a vacation destination. This is especially important if you travel with a canine that has known health issues.
Your puppy should be up-to-date on his or her vaccinations before you take off on your travels. In fact, it is important to check on dog regulations before booking a vacation. For example, if you’re driving to Canada from the United States, you will need to ensure that your puppy has had the required shots to enter the other country.
If Fido is going to travel with you, you will need to pack a bag for the puppy. It should include food, water, treats, health records, food and water dishes, medications, waste bags and a leash. This is especially important if you are headed to a remote area where there are not a lot of services available or if your puppy eats a food that cannot be purchased at a grocery store.
If you plan to swim or boat, consider taking a life vest for your four-legged family member. Be sure to pack some sunscreen (choose one that is certified for use on dogs). A foldable nylon water dish is another good addition to the dog’s bag. Add a few bottles of water for when you are out and about enjoying the sites.
Some other items to pack might include sunglasses (yes, they do make them for canines) or a visor, especially if you are taking your puppy to a beach area. Consider packing boots if you are traveling to an area that may be hard on your dog’s feet. The rocks of Maine or a hot, sandy beach can cause discomfort to sensitive puppy foot pads.
Last, but not least, make sure you have identification on your puppy. Include the dog’s name, your name and a telephone number (cell phones are generally best if you are traveling with them, but an home emergency contact number will work as long as someone is there to answer the phone).
It is also a good idea to carry your puppy’s vet information so that you can contact the doctor if a problem arises.
A little pre-planning will go a long way in ensuring that your vacation is a fun one for you and your puppy.