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How To Travel With Your Dog (Without “Ruffing” It!)

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It’s a great big world out there for a pup to explore…

The pitter-patter of paws can be heard in over half of U.S.  households, so it’s no wonder that  pet tourism and hospitality is on the rise. Hitting the road with your pup? We’ve got expert advice on what to know:

Before You Go

On The Move

Pet-Friendly Hotels

Once You’re There

Before You Go

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Zervepup Audrey never travels without her favorite duck!

Pups have their own special needs when it comes to travel and the right preparation can spell the difference between a smooth trip and a meltdown. We talked to Dr. Amelia Khan of City Veterinary Care about anti-anxiety measures you can take before setting off:

  1. Leave the carrier out and try to get them used to it before you travel. Starting when they are puppies/kittens is better, so they are used to crate training. 
  2. Treats and pheromones such as D.A.P. collars and sprays placed in the carrier may also help with anxiety and make the crate a positive environment. If your pet gets car sick or is traveling in cargo, treats and food should be avoided.
  3. If your veterinarian approves sedatives, an anti-anxiety medication could be prescribed for in cabin pet travelers.

Kenin and Lauren Bassart of The Constant Rambler have logged hundreds of miles exploring with their dogs, Punkin and Zoe. They offered some additional advice on what creature comforts to pack and what you can do to make your pooch feel more at home in a hotel room.

“When traveling with your dog, it’s important to bring a few things with you to make sure that they are just as comfortable in your hotel room as they are in their home. We normally pack a “doggy bag” with a few key items.

Make sure to bring their food and water bowls from home; changing their bowls can cause confusion. I also pack doggie-wet wipes to clean off their paws if they get dirty and bring a waterless shampoo or deodorizer if it’s a longer trip.”

On The Move

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Zervepup Sophie practices good safety on the high seas!

Whether you go by car, plane or boat, there are several safety and comfort measures you can take to help ensure that you and your pup have a fun journey.

By Car

From anti-anxiety apparel to doggy seat belts, Kenin and Lauren Bassart weigh in on how to make your road trip comfortable and safe for your pooch.

“Regarding actually traveling in the car with a dog we recommend a good crash tested harness from someone like Kurgo or Bergan. The ThunderShirt is a big help if your doggie gets anxious in the car. We also suggest taking your dog on some 30-60 minute car rides before actually embarking on an extended road trip. It’s also important to stop every 2-3 hours for 10-15 minutes to let them run around, use the potty, take a break, and keep them hydrated. We found this awesome water bottle/bowl from H2o4K9 that does the trick for us.”

For reviews of all of these products, visit http://www.theconstantrambler.com/.

By Boat

Even if your pooch knows how to dog paddle, it’s wise to take precautions in the case of pup-overboard situations. Outward Hound makes quality life vests in a variety of sizes and colors.

By Plane

In addition to taking anti-anxiety measures and making sure there is plenty of time if you have connecting flights, it is important to have an airline-approved carrier if your dog will be traveling with you in the cabin. Teafco makes a number of carriers in different styles and colors (for style-conscious humans) and JetBlue has even issued their own carrier, so you know you’ll make it through security with ease.

Dr. Amelia Khan offers some veterinary perspective on air travel:

“In general, brachycephalic breeds [breeds with a flat skull shape who are prone to respiratory problems, like Pugs and Boston Terriers] should never travel in cargo and many airlines have banned them from traveling. These breeds should either be driven or there are numerous pet friendly airlines. These airlines provide climate and pressure controlled environment as well as frequent monitoring.

If you are traveling by air, make sure you check with your airline with regards to their requirements. Many of them require a health certificate from your veterinarian prior to travel. “

Pet-Friendly Hotels

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Pampered pups loving life at the Ritz! photo via NBC News, courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

From boutique hotels to nation-wide chains, there are more pet-friendly options than ever! We’ve focused on national hotel brands that are recognized as in the top of their field in the canine concierge department.

Kimpton Hotels

The trendy Kimpton Hotels accept ANY pet, regardless of size, weight or breed for no additional fees. So, whether you’ve got a turtle or terrier, you’re covered! Pets get the same enthusiastic welcome as their humans, including a personal greeting from management. Amenities include fresh water and snacks in the lobby, food and water bowls, snuggly beds on loan and a list of local pet-friendly attractions and businesses.

Loews Hotels

Dogs and cats get lots of paw-sonal attention here courtesy of the “Loews Loves Pets” program! Your pet’s welcome gifts include treats, a bowl and pet tag; other pet amenities like leashes, bedding and collars are on hand if needed. The humans will receive a listing of pet-friendly services available, such as special room service items, doggie spa treatments, dog walking and more. Limit 2 pets per room. Onetime $25 cleaning fee.

W Hotels

If you and your pet are looking for an upscale getaway, be sure to check out the elegant W Hotels.  All of the brand’s North American locations boast the P.A.W. (Pets Are Welcome) program. The welcome packet includes a W Hotel pet tag, toy, treats and waste bags. Pets can enjoy the finer things like their own turn-down treats, numerous pet services, custom W Hotel pet beds and more. One pet weighing up to 40 pounds allowed per room. $25/night fee plus $100 a non-refundable cleaning deposit.

Red Roof Inn

Red Roof Inns may not offer the pet perks of other hotels on this list, but it makes up for in number of locations and budget-friendly prices. One well-behaved family pet is allowed at nearly all Red Roof properties at no extra charge. Check specific inns to be sure pets are not prohibited by state law or ordinance.

Best Western Hotels

With over 1,600 pet-friendly locations, Best Western Hotels make it easy for Fido to tag along! Two domestic dogs weighing up to 80lbs are allowed per hotel room. A refundable damage deposit of up to $50 may be charged, as well as cleaning fees. Besides pups, the chain welcomes cats, birds, monkeys, snakes at the discretion of individual properties!

Marriot Residence Inn

Packed up the pooch for an extended stay? Residence Inns across the U.S. have got you covered. Both you and your dog will feel more at home thanks to amenities like spacious living rooms and cozy kitchens. One-time non-refundable fee and pet weight limits vary from location to location.

Ritz-Carlton Hotels

If your lap dog is used to the lap of luxury, then a pet friendly Ritz-Carlton location is for you. Each one offers something different: some of the properties, like the  Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, offer packages that include in-room “doggie massages” while the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park has got your pooch covered head to paw with loaner Burberry raincoats. Check individual locations for fees and pet weight limits.

Hotel Indigo

Looking for a stylish stay but don’t quite have a Ritz budget? Hotel Indigo offers a number of pet-friendly options. Along with “hosPETality”, you’ll find amenities like treats and bowls. Some locations, such as Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown, have been known to host pet-friendly events like the canine cocktail bash known as “Yappy Hour.” Check individual locations for fees and pet weight limits.

Picked your home away from home for you and your pup? Kenin and Lauren Bassart have some suggestions for preparing your room for dog.

“The most important items to bring though are your dog’s favorite toy and blanket. Dogs can be easily stressed into behaving badly, having some comfort items with them will make the trip much easier. Just put their blanket and toy in a spot in your room your doggie can call their own and this will help your pooch settle into their new home.”

For more details, check out their post How to Prepare Your Hotel Room for Your Dog and visit the Pet Travel section of http://www.theconstantrambler.com.

Once You’re There!

These kayaking pups are having the time of their lives, though they might want to sport a life vest. Via Flickr user faul

One of the best parts of bringing man’s best friend on a trip is exploring together. And for the dog-lovers at Zerve, a basic walk around the park just won’t do! Why not take a sight-seeing cruise, go whale-watching and more with your furry friend? Check out a few of our dog-friendly options from around the country!

Randy’s Whale Watching Trip, CA

Savannah Movie Tours and More, GA

Alpharetta Ghost Tours: Furry Fright Night, GA

Palmetto Carriage Works, SC

Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour, CA

Whisper Charters, CA

Carrie B Cruises, FL

Princess Monterey Whale Watching Cruises, CA

For other listings of dog-friendly activities and attractions around the U.S., check out DogFriendly.com, BringFido.com  and PetsWelcome.com.

Can’t bring the pup on your trip? Check out Dog Travel: What To Do When Fido Has To Stay Behind.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love the article! We travel frequently with our two 75lb German shepherds and it’s always a challenge to find places to stay. We are HUGE fans of the Kimpton hotel chain – their hotels are each unique and range from modern & trendy to historic & formal. In all cases, they take our pets regardless of size and with no additional fees! We went to NY once for a wedding and the concierges even walked our pups while we were out – again no charge and no one waiting around for a tip (though we sought them out to express our gratitude). Funny story – they told us they went up to the room and opened the door – our dogs bolted out into the hallway and ran up and down looking for us! A panic-inducing moment for them, though our GSDs are just big softies.

    And it’s great to see all the dog-friendly activities, too. I’ve done some walking tours with my dogs, but haven’t tried a boat ride or carriage ride yet. I’ll have to check them out!

    September 19, 2013
  2. interesting post .. and nice story ..

    September 21, 2013
  3. Jack andjeannie #

    We have traveled with our dogs for more years then I care to admit to, each year it gets easier thanks to the hospitality industry recognizing how important our pets are. Hence one thing not mentioned I this excellent article — be responsible pet owners! Make sure you are in a pet friendly facility – ask for directions to the “potty” area, if your pet gets on the furniture ask for a sheet to cover and protect, pick up your dog poop! Do not leave pets alone I the room without permission. Even hotels that say not to leave unattended pets almost always will allow it if you leave your cell number with the front desk. Please do not give hotels a reason to not welcome pets.

    October 10, 2013
  4. Great post! Been reading a lot about tips on this recently. Thanks for the info!

    March 13, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Dog Travel: What To Do When Fido Has To Stay Behind | Zerve Blog - Find What To Do: Activities, Tours, Cruises, Shows and More
  2. How To Travel With Your Dog (Without “Ruffing” It!) | Butt Ugly Dogs

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