We all need a vacation once in a while. But for pet owners, the thoughts of leaving our furry friends behind—even for a few days—can filled our vacation with worry. That is, if you can even bring yourself to leave your pets in the first place.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. A recent survey from Nature’s Recipe found two-thirds of pet parents nationwide wish they could take their dog on every trip. Because of the hassle of bringing your best friend along, however, nearly half of pet parents avoid traveling with their pooches.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. There are tons of options for anyone wanting a human-dog vacation. From dog-friendly cities, to restaurants and hotels, bringing Rover along for the road trip isn’t as hard as you may think.
Finding pet-friendly destinations
Travel expert and pet parent Stefanie Michaels says the first step to a pet-friendly vacation is picking a destination that suits your four-legged friend’s personality.
“More and more pet parents are considering traveling with their pets. And more than ever, brands are looking to capture this trend, offering pet-friendly things to do whether it’s at local restaurants, hotels, “yappy hours” or providing meet ups for pet parents to introduce their pets to each other,” she said.
BringFido.com, a website dedicated to making it easier to take your dog on the road, allows you to browse pet-friendly cities, restaurants, hotels and events all over the United States. You can browse by popular destinations, or type in any city in the country to find pet-friendly places. The site includes reviews from pet parents, as well as the TripAdvisor rating for each location.
Michaels says most pet-friendly hotels only have a select rooms for dogs. So book ahead of time to avoid not being able to stay with your pet. Nature’s Recipe has paired with select Residence Inn by Marriott locations. They give hotel guests and their animals a “VI-Pup” experience. This includes a full bag of dog food and travel essentials at check-in.
What to pack for your pet
When it comes to packing your pet’s luggage, treat it just like you would a child’s. Pack their favorites!
“Toys, food, and for some pet owners, clothes and accessories,” she said. “Also, make sure to bring an extra leash because those are very easy to misplace.”
To lighten your luggage, Michaels also recommends buying your dog’s food when you get to the destination.
And don’t forget the sunscreen—make sure you apply it on their nose, where the sun concentrates most on a dog. Your dog’s eyes are also sensitive, Michaels says. So practice with your dog ahead of time by having them wear a visor or sunglasses. Their paws are also sensitive, so make sure they’re protected with dog socks or booties.
Lastly, make sure you head to the vet before you venture out on your trip.
“Things like heartworm medication and anti-tick medication you apply to the nape of a dogs neck works best to keep you fur babies protected,” Michaels said.
For more pet-friendly travel inspiration, click here.