Vacationing with your pet requires some advance planning to ensure a safe, happy trip. Although most pet owners plan ahead when thinking of the car ride portion of a journey, they may not consider what happens once the destination has been reached or travel stops for the night. If you’re staying in a hotel for the night, you will need to make arrangements for your pet while you go out for dinner, movies or other entertainment. You’ll also need to plan for stops during the journey if you’re driving a long distance.
Planning for Pit Stops
When you drive, it’s a good idea to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and let your dog get some exercise. You will also need to stop to eat a few times during a long car ride. Here are a few tips for ensuring that you can pause your journey safely:
• Plan your meals ahead. If you pack a picnic lunch, you’ll be able to stop at a pet-friendly rest stop or park to enjoy a more leisurely meal.
• Try to schedule your day so that you can eat your large meals before you leave and after you’re finished driving for the day. It will be easier to have a large meal if your pet is safely stowed at the hotel.
• Be sure to bring snacks and fresh water for your pet. Also bring plenty of bags to pick up after your pet when you stop.
• If you must stop for a meal, consider ordering from the drive-through or take-away window and eating in your car or at a park. Alternatively, see if a restaurant has a patio that will allow dogs.
No matter how tempting it may be, never leave your pet unattended in a car for more than a couple of minutes, especially on a warm day. Temperatures can rise dramatically inside of a parked vehicle, and it’s illegal in many cities to leave pets unattended.
What to Do Once You Stop for the Night
Once you stop for the night, you will need to find a pet-friendly hotel. It helps to search for one in advance so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find one on short notice. Be sure to ask before you book the room whether there are any restrictions on leaving the pet alone in the room.
Assuming you can leave the pet unattended in your room, here are a few tips that will help make it easier to leave your dog alone in an unfamiliar setting:
• Leave your pet crated in the hotel while you’re gone. He will be less anxious in the crate, and he won’t cause any damage to the room in your absence.
• Practice leaving your pet crated before your vacation to reduce separation anxiety and barking or whining.
• Turn the television on at a reasonable volume to keep the pet company.
• Provide your pet with an interesting toy or snack to enjoy while you’re away.
• Ensure your pet has ample exercise prior to crating to expend some pent-up energy.
If you can’t leave your pet alone in the hotel room, consider ordering food for delivery or picking something up at a drive-through before you go back to the hotel. If you plan to go out during the day, consider taking your pet to a doggy daycare or other daytime boarding facility rather than leaving it alone at the hotel. Better yet, plan some pet-friendly activities so your companion can enjoy the vacation at your side.
Laruen Colman serves as the digital marketer for the dog boarding and dog sitting community at Rover.com and is a true dog lover at heart. Lauren spends her days at the office with her dogs Squish and Brando by her side. For more dog tips, you can follow Rover.com on Twitter @roverdotcom or on their blog, Dog Boarding News.