The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast
Summertime means vacations, and many of us want don’t want our pets to miss out on the fun! If you’re planning on traveling with your pet or looking for pet-friendly destination, we’ve got you covered.
When bringing your pet on a car ride, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared so that you and your pet have the best experience.
Before you leave for the trip, make sure your pet is familiar with riding in a car by taking them on drives, slowly building up the amount of time they stay in the car and rewarding them with treats.
When it’s time to leave for your trip, be sure to secure your pet. They may seem completely comfortable roaming free in the car, but you never know how they might react to the many loud noises that can happen on the road, and securing your pet will make sure they aren’t injured in case of any sudden stops.
Preferably, use a crate that the animal is able to sit, stand up, and lie down in and secure the crate within the car. If you decide not to use a crate for your dog, there are “doggy seatbelts” available, which are typically harnesses that can buckle into a seatbelt.
Be sure to bring lots of water and food for your pet, even more than you might think you’ll need, since traffic, car troubles or any other unexpected delays may extend your travel time. Make regular stops to let your dog use the bathroom or to clean out kitty litter, and ensure they are drinking enough water.
Never leave your pet unattended in the car, even if you have the windows rolled down or A/C running.
Flying with your pet may seem like a stressful situation, but with preparation and diligence it doesn’t have to be.
If possible, book a direct flight to your destination to minimize travel time for the pet and decrease chances of them having to sit out on the tarmac while luggage is relocated.
Buy a USDA-approved crate big enough for your pet to sit, stand and lie down comfortably in, and line it with bedding such as shredded towels that can absorb any accidents.
You can tape a small pouch of food on the outside of the crate for the airline staff to feed your pet if the travel time increases unexpectedly. For water, fill a bowl that can attach to the crate door and freeze it the night before. This way, it won’t spill during loading but will melt for your pet to drink as they get thirsty.
Be sure your pet has proper identification, and consider having your pet microchipped for extra security. Mark the crate with “Live Animal” and include your name, cell phone and destination number, and a photo of your pet, just in case they escape. You should also keep a photo of your pet on your person.
Don’t be afraid to be assertive when it comes to your pet’s well-being. Tell airline employees you talk to, whether on the ground or in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold, so that if there is a delay they’re aware and you can decide the best course of action, even if that means removing your pet from the cargo hold and deplaning.
If your dog meets certain size and weight requirements you may be lucky enough to bring your pet into the cabin of the plane with you! Check with your airline first and always be sure you have an airline approved travel bag where your pet can rest comfortably under the seat in front of you.
Before traveling whether by car or by plane, check with your vet first. Make sure your pet is in good health and up to date on their shots. If you’re concerned, you can ask about ways to relax your pet. Don’t try to sedate your pet without consulting with your vet first.
Now that you know how you’re getting there, where are some of the best places to visit with your pet?
Pet Friendly Destinations
Many cities across the U.S. know that pet owners don’t want to leave their furry friends behind on vacation, so they’ve become pet-friendly travel spots.
Visit the Red Bud Isle peninsula in Austin, Texas for lots of off-leash adventures and water to play in, and even pick up some doggy treats at the Groovy Dog Bakery.
Asheville, North Carolina boasts 220 acres of pet-friendly grounds at the Biltmore Estate, as well as the French Broad River Dog Park with a fenced-off, wood-chipped acre for pups to play in and a river to splash around in, too.
Keywest, Florida is always a popular vacation spot, and now your dog can join in on the fun, whether it’s running around on the Key West Dog Beach or getting out on the water with Lazy Dog Kayak.
If you’re looking for a more unique destination, check out Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho. A local couple who have spent decades as woodworking artists built the bed and breakfast to look like a giant beagle, which sleeps four people plus any furry companions!
If your dog loves socializing, check out Woofstock in Toronto. The largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America, Woofstock attracts hundreds of thousands of dogs and their owners each year to celebrate dogs and participate in wacky events, such as dog speed dating, Mr. and Mrs. Canine Canada, and the Running of the Pugs.
If traveling with your pets isn’t an option, boarding them is a great way to make sure they receive the care and love they deserve while you’re out of town.
At Bark + Boarding, we offer a unique boarding structure that gives your pet their own room for their bedding and toys, supervised play and regular meals and bathroom breaks in our outdoor run. This means less stress for your pet, and for you!