Life Lessons We Learn from Traveling with Dogs

When I ask my friends what they want most out of a vacation, their answers always are “fun” and “relaxation.” When I ask myself what I want out of a vacation, my answers are those and the excitement of seeing something I’ve never seen before. You know what? That’s what dogs like. They like exploring new places, sniffing and processing new things, learning about their environment and playing. They also love relaxing.

creative commons photo by djg0333 via Flickr

There are some life lessons we can learn when traveling with our pets if we take a moment and stop looking at the GPS on our phones, worrying about time, and just Be. Just watch your dog as you both walk around a new place, watch your dog’s nose moving about, the tail wagging, and the pure excitement. Then think about how when we are in “Go Mode” we miss all the good stuff. Our dogs might be tiny buddhas.

7 Life Lessons From Traveling With Our Dogs

Breathe Deeply to Relax

Allow the fresh air and wind blowing in your face and through your hair to be pure ecstasy. Take deep breaths and feel the wind. It can be incredibly refreshing.

Make Time to Nap

Look at the puffball on the floor curled in a ball and not caring at all that there’s no cell phone reception in the bed and breakfast. Follow suit and make time to nap, recharge, and relax. You’re on vacation, for pete’s sake!

Eat With Enthusiasm and Eat Well

We feed our dogs high quality pet food and keep learning about better brands, better mixes, and probably feed our dogs better than ourselves. When traveling with our dogs, we make sure they still receive the same high quality diet. Keep yours high quality too. Try new fresh foods, avoid the fast food to eat while driving, and eat with passion.

Sniff It Out

If there’s a new activity you want to do but have some hesitancy, check it out before committing. You may have thought sky diving was a great idea but if you have some cold feet, slow down and think it through.

Be Yourself

Our dogs don’t act that differently in new places. They may show if they are unsure or excited to be somewhere but they are who they are through and through. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Just be you.

Remember Your Manners

Dogs will sit, stay, and not jump up at home. They may sometimes forget. But if you’ve trained your dog well, it’s clear that it doesn’t matter if you are home or in a new hotel. They remember their manners. You should, too.

Just Pee On It and Walk Away

Sometimes there are moments we’ll be faced with on our travels that could be tense – like arguing over an incorrect bill, a bad interaction with someone, or an undesirable stop along the way. Look at your dog and see that no matter what troubles s/he has, sometimes the best thing to do is just walk away. We don’t recommend literally peeing on anyone or anything, however. After all, it’s not legal…

What life lessons have you learned from traveling with your dog?

Hotel Travel Tips

Ok, so you found a nice hotel where you and your dog can hang out. The hotel has given your dog a special bed, treats, and and complimentary toys.You’ve brought enough food, made sure to bring proof of vaccinations, and your dog isn’t too weirded out by the new space. Now it’s time to go play and explore.

But what about those moments when you’re not able to bring your pet with you as you go out to do something? What should you do with your furry buddy? Hotels all have policies and conditions about leaving pets in the room alone, make sure you have read it before you head out on your trip. Some will ask for you to bring a crate or kennel carrier and others may have a strict policy that no pet can be left alone in the room.

Here are some tips to make sure your stay at the hotel is comfortable:

1: Follow the pet policy and check it for size restrictions, number of pets, and other rules. Some hotels embrace having pets in the hotel and will have a page or section about their pet policy. Other hotels may have a small mention on their site which means they may not be as open or willing to have pets on a regular basis at their establishment. Call the hotel to make sure and confirm if there is an extra fee for pets.

2: Don’t try to sneak your pet into a hotel. You may be asked to leave and will then have to hustle to find another place to stay.

3: When you need to leave your pet alone in the room, crate her. The cleaning staff may not be expecting to see a dog and you don’t want your pup running through the halls of the hotel while you went to an art exhibit or grabbed lunch. If your dog can’t be left alone in the hotel or doesn’t like being crated, see if there is a doggie daycare nearby or a boarding place where you can drop her off for a few hours.

4: If your dog has an accident, call housekeeping to clean it. Leave it to the pros. Don’t use the towels in the room.

5: If the hotel has a dog walking service, don’t forget to leave a tip.

Tips for Road Trips with Your Dog

Dogs usually love going on car rides, whether they sit in the back of a pick up or just like to stick there head out the window against the wind. However, if you plan to do a long car ride with your dog, keep some things in mind.

For one, have your dog used to being in a car. If you plan on taking a multiple-hour trip, take your dog out on trainer trips for an hour or two a few times before. Get out of the car and let your dog explore all of the new smells, sounds and scenery! It will become used to being outside the comfort zone.

Bring tons of water, and bring your own food and water bowls. Bring the food it eats as home, because the road is a bad place to experiment with new food. Also bring an extra leash, some toys, towels, brushes and blankets. Your dog will likely feel more comfortable if these are all from home. If your dog gets carsick, ginger pills are a good remedy. Have your dog’s ID tag include your cell phone number or email in case of emergency. If you want to bring your dog in a cage, make sure it is used to the cdog-carage before you go away.

If you plan to cross state or country borders, it helps to bring the latest veterinary statement that your dog is in good health. Make sure it includes valid vaccination records. In case there is some emergency and your dog might need to stay in a kennel, it is necessary to bring these documents. Do some research about the area you are traveling to, such as if it is prone to Lyme disease.

When you are actually on the trip, make sure you stop every two to three hours so you and your dog can stretch and run around. It helps so it is not restless in the car. Give it water at the beginning of the break rather than the end! When walking your dog at night, always carry a flashlight. Try not to leave your dog in the vehicle unattended, because it is illegal in many states. If you are feeling cold in the car, your dog probably is too, so put a blanket over it. Take poison precautions before your trip-make sure the anti-freeze is out of reach, because some animals try to eat it. Also avoid eating hazardous foods near your dog in the car, such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes or raisins.

Enjoy your trip!