by Sheryl Wall
Most dogs love going places, be it a walk, going for a drive, or just playing in the front yard. So why not actually travel with your furry friend. If you are prepared, this can be a great experience for the both of you.
First thing to consider is keeping everyone safe. It is not safe to allow your dog free roam in the car, according to Teoti Anderson in her book Puppy Care and Training. It can cause accidents. You may get distracted by your dog running around while you drive. Or some dogs like to sit on your lap or could end up at your feet where the pedals are. If an accident does occur, your dog could be thrown out the window, or if large enough could fall on you with great force causing severe damage to you both. There are great safety devices out there that would keep your friend safe and happy. I personally like crating a dog in the car if you have a large enough car, but be sure the crate is secure where it won’t be thrown around. Another favorite of mine is a dog seat belt that is attached with a harness and goes into the belt latch.
Another safety issue to consider is the temperature outside. It is unsafe to keep a dog in a hot car and your car can be hotter then you realize, so be sure to avoid this. The temperature can rise quickly, causing heatstroke and death. Being too cold in the winter can be deadly as well.
The next step to a fun trip is packing. Be sure to bring your dog’s food from home and plenty of water. Dogs can get easily dehydrated when traveling. It’s best to bring non-breakable bowls from home and you can even purchase bowls specifically designed for travel. Also, be sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and has her ID’s on at all times, Micro chipping is a good idea for those who travel a lot. A first aid kit and health records should also be with you in case of emergencies. Always bring some towels and cleaner in case of accidents too. Even the most well behaved dog can make mistakes, especially in a new environment. Toys help keep your pup entertained as well as treats for training on the go. Before heading out be sure to find out where the vets are located on your trip and have numbers on hand.
Hotels with dogs can be fun but be sure to follow their rules. Even if a hotel says dog friendly online, call them before making reservations because sometimes they change the rules without updating the website. Be sure to check size limits and if there are any deposit fees. Remember that barking in the hotel can cause a lot of problems with your neighbors so try to find ways to keep your dog calm and quiet in the room. Leaving the radio or TV on helps. Be sure to have toys to keep them entertained. It is best not to leave your dog alone in the room when you go out, but if you do make sure she is crated and you are not gone long. A good book for hotel tips is The Well-Mannered Dog edited by Matthew Hoffman. You can find pet friendly hotels by checking online sites like officialpethotels.com or expedia.com and putting “pet friendly” in the preferences.
My Favorite place to stay for Agility trials is the La Quinta Inn in Sacramento. Next door is a huge park where we can take them on walks, biking, or to play fetch or Frisbee. It’s relaxing and the price is very reasonable. The Extended Stay in Elk Grove is another nice place to stay. The rooms have a mini kitchen in them, which is a plus. There isn’t a nearby park, but there are a lot of places to walk the dogs. As a plus for you, across the street is a Subway and Starbucks.
Half Moon Bay is a pet friendly town and great vacation spot. You can take your pet with you to great restaurants such as Half Moon Bay Brewing, Pasta Moon, or the Moss Beach Distillery. They have several pet friendly hotels such as Comfort Inn and Holiday Inn Express. The best part of Half Moon Bay is that pets are welcome in most of the shops and Art Galleries downtown, like the Garden Gallery on Main. Carmel is another great place to visit. They are known for being the most pet friendly town in the country. There are also many great beaches where dogs are welcome. You can get more information about pet friendly state parks at the California State Parks website.
A well-planned vacation with your furry friend can be a lot of fun. So get ready and enjoy yourselves.