Home > Blog > Traveling With Your Dog

Traveling With Your Dog

Posted by:

Dogs can make great travel companions.  They're happy tourists, willing listeners and instant conversation starters. To make the most of your trips together, it’s a good idea to do some advance planning. 

Find dog-friendly lodging

Camping is an obvious overnight option, but most hotel chains offer plentiful pet-friendly properties. PetsWelcome.com has a list of thousands of hotels that welcome pets.  In addition, Motel 6 allows pets at all of its 1,400 U.S. properties unless they pose a health or safety risk, or are prohibited by law.  At Motel 6, guests can have two pets per room with a combined weight of 150 pounds.  Before you book a room anywhere, research pet fees/deposits as they can range from $20 up to $200 (and some may be non refundable).   

Airbnb and VRBO offer easy-to-find pet-friendly options, but some hosts charge a per-dog fee or mandatory cleaning fees of $100 or more.  If you’re concerned about a cleaning fee or costly accidents at these lodgings, cover furniture as needed, close off unused rooms and bring supplies (such as wipes, a mop and lint roller) for a thorough cleaning before you leave.

Items For The Trip

Whether in a hotel or Airbnb, a white noise machine could be a good investment for your trip. Unfamiliar sounds can stress out dogs, but the white noise calms many dogs allowing them, and their owners, to rest.

Other key supplies include water, food, a leash, bowls, plastic bags, grooming supplies, and any medications.  Also bring copies of your dog's health records — vaccination certificates, lab work documents, a rabies vaccination tag — and pack a doggie first aid kit. You can buy them from pet stores and most big-box stores, or even make your own.  The American Kennel Club has compiled a list of essential first-aid items including gauze, medical tape, nonstick bandages, cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic spray or ointment, scissors, tweezers and a magnifying glass.

To ease your pooch's away-from-home anxiety, bring familiar objects, such as a favorite toy or blanket, along with regular water and food bowls.

Stop at the right places

If your pup needs a bathroom break, choose a rest stop or a park — not the shoulder of a busy road. You don't want to be on the side of a busy road if a leash slips out of your hand!

It's tempting to let dogs run free on trails or in grassy areas, but keep them leashed.  You never know what kind of wildlife you may encounter that could startle or harm your dog; snakes, coyotes, bobcats, puma and bears. 

While the National Park Foundation maintains a list of seven dog-friendly national parks, you may find that county and state parks are better options. To find activities that appeal to humans and canines alike, the app Bark Happy features restaurants, hotels, stores, parks and other dog-welcoming locations. You'll also find dog-friendly places, beaches, events and more on BringFido.com.

Drive safely

Dogs are cute. They're also distracting. In an American Automobile Association (AAA) survey, 52 percent of respondents admitted to petting their dogs while behind the wheel — and in another AAA survey, 12 percent confessed that they've photographed their pets while driving (repeat: while driving!).

To protect your dog in an accident, keep her secure with either a harness (which connects to the seat belt buckle) or a crate. It could save your dog's life as well as your own. In a crash at 30 mph, an unrestrained 10-pound dog becomes a 300-pound projectile, and an 80-pound dog exerts 2,400 pounds of force, according to AAA.

Look for harnesses and crates that are specifically designed for automobiles. A crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states, and you should secure it to prevent sliding and shifting during sudden stops. Dogs should also wear their tags in the car in case you're separated during an accident.

Another car-safety essential: Keep windows up or cracked. Dogs love to stick their heads out, but wind can blow grit into their eyes and irritate mucous membranes. Insects and debris can also fly into nasal passages and even their windpipe.

If you think your dog would never leap through an open window, guess again.  Wildlife, other pets and food can trigger your dog’s instincts and have them leaping in no time.  Lock power windows to prevent your pup from accidently opening and closing them.

Don’t leave your pet in the car
The soaring temperatures in a vehicle can also place your pets at risk. Never leave an animal in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open. Even on pleasant days the temperature inside a car can soar to well over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, placing your pet at risk for heatstroke and possibly death.

By planning ahead for your trip, you and your pets can enjoy some quality time together! 

If you or a loved one are involved in any type of accident, contact our offices for a free review of your matter.   For over 40 years, we have worked with clients across SE Wisconsin to ensure they receive the compensation and protection they deserve.