Monday, June 8, 2009

Vacation has gone to the dogs.

Summer vacations are the stuff memories are made from. Having the whole family together, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is great. And when I say "whole" family, for many of us that would include our dog.

And since more and more people are traveling by car these days, traveling with the "whole family could become a very complex endeavour. Still, with a little consideration and preparation traveling with your doggie doesn't have to be prohibitive. Here are some ideas that I find helpful when hitting the road with the pack.

1. Remember Fido when packing the car. Your dog's safety has to considered as well as your own. Make sure your dog is safely confined in some way so that in the event of an accident, your dog doesn't become a projectile. There are actually safety harnesses on the market, currently, that secure your dog into a seat belt. We have one for Ruby, mostly to protect herself...from herself. There are also various options for SUVs, such as gates, to keep your dog safely in the cargo area. And if your dog has to be in the back of your pickup, a hard sided kennel would offer the most protection and safety. Also, don't forget that your pup needs frequent bathroom breaks.

and plenty of fresh water to drink. A collapsible bowl is perfect for those who tend to over pack (insert my name here) and will hold a lot of water for your buddy. Weird as it may sound, you should also consider giving your dog bottled water or water brought from home, as your dog could have problems with water from other locations... and you don't want your dog to have tummy troubles on the road! Of course when tummy problems do arise, your dog can have Pepto Bismol or Immodium AD. And as always, check with your vet for proper dosing before a problem occurs.

2. Consider your pups feelings. Some dogs just DON'T like to travel. It can be nerve wrecking to be taken away from home and not know what's up. Of course they will have soooo much fun when the get there, but they don't know that yet. One way to soothe your dog is with herbal remedies, given orally, that are designed to calm your dog. Many good ones can be found at and are pretty inexpensive. Mostly though, if you make it a fun experience with treats and games, your dog, being the creature of habit that he is, will eventually look to travel with excitement instead of dread.

3. Most hotels/motels are now much more welcoming of dogs. Sometimes an extra deposit is required to allow your doggie access and other times you may be required to stay in a room dedicated to pets. Still there are more and more options now that not only "allow" your dog, but they actually cater to them as well. Hotel Monaco ( in Alexandria VA. offers such amenities as a "Director of Pet Relations," (Bichon Frise named Charlie) and a "doggie happy hour" as well as a 24 hr. treat service in the lobby! The Hilton Atlanta ( goes above and beyond by offering doggies, upon check in, a welcome package that includes a tote, treats, biodegradable poop bag, and a small bottle of cleaner for messes and spills! You can also request a doggie bed designed by famed photographer (my favorite... he does the crazy Weimi photos,) William Wegman. Many towns and cities offer a wealth of knowledge in their town website. Most places, you can find info on lodging and
leisure and you might be surprised how many places will entertain your doggie needs. Last year I looked at places to stay in Gatlinburg TN. and Asheville NC. and was amazed to find many beautiful cabin rentals that allowed dogs and also had fenced in areas where they were welcome to run off leash.

All in all traveling can be an awesome experience for your "whole" family. Get out there and see where the road leads!


  1. When we moved cross-country with our two dogs and two cats, we stayed at Red Roof Inns the whole way because they allowed dogs. Well, one dog. We just didn't tell them about the other dog. Or the cats. Hmm, maybe you should just forget I said anything at all ...

  2. Great tips! I couldn't imagine going on vacation without Sadie...she loves to go on short trips in the car and sits like a good girl. It's a special treat for her and she gets all excited...just like a little kid!!


  3. Great tips. And always remember to have your pet wear a pet tag engraved with your pet's name and your telephone number (you can make them at a machine at most pet stores and Walmarts). Sometimes I even have my pets wear 2 - one with my number and one with my mother's number. Microchipping is important, but many people who find a stray dog aren't going to take it to a facility that would check for the microchip.

    Have a fabulous day.
    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

  4. Maybe I should show this to my mom so she'd take a vakhation with me!

    She nevfur feels the need to get away but one day!



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