Cruising with Fido: Tips for a Safe and Fun Car Ride with Your Dog

Most dogs love car rides. It’s exciting to them to look out the window and watch the buildings, trees, and other cars whizz by. The wind and different smells keep their noses moving and will bounce from window to window.

Dogs like to explore and having them loose in the car allows them to move around and find their perfect perch spot. Now, not all dogs will bound around. Some will find their spot and settle down. Some dogs I know just lay down in the backseat and don’t move. But, an overly excited dog might get in your way as you drive and that can create a dangerous situation for you.

Make sure your car rides are safe:

Keep Fido in the back seat: Keeping your dog in the back protects them for the harm of an airbag opening and hurting them. Airbags open with a force of about 200 miles an hour, which could severely injure your pet. Car harnesses aren’t 100% safe but they prevent your dog from blocking the rearview mirror, trying to sit on your lap, or hitting the gear shift.

For the safety of your pet and you, remember to use a pet safety harness and keep your dog in the backseat. Car harnesses can be purchased at your local pet store. They look very similar to a regular walking harness but have a strap where the seat belt fits through. Your dog can sit, stand, and stretch out in the backseat comfortably and you can concentrate on the road.

Use a crate: If you are going on a long trip, you may want to use a carrier or dog crate in the back hatch area of your car. If you have a large car or SUV, a mid-size dog crate fits in the back with plenty of room for your luggage. Your dog can lie down, have a bowl of water, and some food. It also will keep your dog from losing his/her balance as easily as when standing on the backseat when you make that right or left turn. For long trips, it is best to not feed your dog a regular size meal but many small snacks. It will help prevent motion sickness.

Keep Fido IN the car: Not every dog needs to be restrained. If you have a dog that doesn’t bounce around the car in a hyper manner, you’re very lucky! However, never let your dog stick its head out the window. It’s not safe and the wind can actually give your dog an ear infection. Dust, debris, and that flying cigarette from the car in front of you could hurt your pup!

Opening the window a few inches is enough for your dog to smell the air, enjoy the breeze, and stay safe. Also, you’ll be able to make sure your dog doesn’t accidentally fall out the window or jump if there’s something worth chasing!

If your destination isn’t too far and the weather is perfect, skip the car, put on your best sneakers, and take the walk! Your dog will thank you for it. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

5 Tips for Hiking With Your Dog

Outdoor activities increase when the weather warms up. If you and your furry best friend love going for hikes, make sure both of you are prepped and ready for the mileage.

5 Tips for Hiking With Your Dog

  1. Check that the trail is pet-friendly. Some parks allow dogs on trails and others do not.
  2. If you haven’t been on the trail before, take a day to check it out before your bring your dog. It might be really rocky, muddy, steep, and have some obstacles that your dog might have problems traversing.
  3. Hiking in a high altitude place? Take a minute and think if your dog can handle the conditions. Thinner air, smushed noses, and cardio could mean problems.
  4. Stick to wider trail to avoid poison ivy, ticks, and other problems. Don’t let your dog venture into the grass and shady rocky areas where snakes may hide out.
  5. Take breaks! Your dog may need a drink of water, a rest, and a few minutes here and there to relax before hiking back to the car.

Image from The Sonoran Concervancy of Fountain Hills

4 Trips for Cat Lovers

Last week I was talking with some friends about strange roadside attractions across the U.S. and some of us had even seen some of them as kids on family trips. We also talked about some of the out-of-this-world parades and festivals that exist for different things. I won’t go into it too much but these talks sparked me looking for random vacations that might have some pet-themes or quirky places that you can go if you are a pet lover. I found a few for those of us who are cat lovers (sorry, dog people).

4 Trips for Cat Lovers

  • Cat Cafes – A long, long time ago I wrote about cat cafes in Tokyo where you can buy a latte and then sit and read with a room of cats that will make you feel like you’re at home… want some cat hair in your coffee? Want a cat that will sit on the arm of the chair? Or maybe you need a cat that will nudge your hand for petting. If so, try one of these three cafes: Shimokitazawa’s Cateriam, Nekobukuro, Curl Up Cafe.
  • The Ernest Hemingway House – going to Key West, Fl? If you take a tour of the Hemingway Home and Museum you will most likely meet a few of the 40+ cats that live there. Many of the cats have extra toes and may be descendants of Hemingway’s cat, Snowball. The cats are all cared for, have a good life, and are named after famous people. You might meet Hairy Truman.
  • Moscow Cats Theatre – The cat theatre has been around since 1990 and is a father-son owned business. The theatre might spark a little controversy among some people regarding the well-being of the cats, but they seem quite happy from what I’ve read and researched. Every performance has some VIP seating for children who are in foster homes and orphanages, physically-challenged people, and children from children’s hospitals. In 2005, the theatre gained the status of a State Cultural Institution, which means, you have to check it out if you’re traveling through Moscow City!
  • Hello Kitty Amusement Park – Ok, I was shocked to find this. Some of my friends got really excited when I told them this park existed. It’s in Tokyo and all the rides are cat-themed, musicals and dancing are done by people dressed as Hello Kitty and friends, and there is a replica of Hello Kitty’s house that you can walk through. It’s like visiting Disneyland but 100% Hello Kitty. It’s officially called Sanrio Puroland, but really, it’s Hello Kitty world.

Image from NPR

6 Essential Items For The Traveling Cat

Cats like to explore and roam. I see a lot of indoor/outdoor cats that spend a lot of time sniffing every shrub they walk by, watching people, and listening and checking out everything. They would make perfect Neighborhood Watch volunteers if they were actually interested in something like that. But being cats, they do what they do and have a life and world that is sometimes a mystery to us. While your dog may willingly jump into your car and wonder where you two are going, your cat may give you a look and try to run back in the house or howl the whole time in a carrier expecting that the car ride means a horrible trip to the vet.

There are some cats that adjust quite well to traveling and for those of us who are lucky to have such a pet (I’ve never had a cat that liked traveling or even cared what lay beyond the windowsill), then it’s important to make sure you have the right gear for your cat.

6 Essential Items For Travel With Your Cat

  1. Pet First Aid Kit – Bring along any medicines your cat will need to stay healthy and calm. That includes all of the pills he normally would take for the amount of days you’ll be away (plus a few extra pills in case you can’t get back home as early as planned). Talk to your vet about any other medications that you may need while away for your cat.
  2. Toys and Treats – since your cat might be going away with you, unwillginly, bring along some favorite cat toys, the yummiest treats, and a few other creature comforts to help your cat realize things are ok. Having familiar stuff around can help calm their fears and anxiety about being in a new place, in a car, and comfort them. My cats like to hide under a jacket or sweatshirt of mine when they have had to travel and will sleep on it the whole time we are not home.
  3. Cat Carrier – a good carrier that allows you cat to stand up, turn around, and lay down without being smushed in is important to have. It also needs to have good ventilation and should be strong enough to handle your cat. Some cats are fine in nylon shoulder bag type of carriers while others would tear a hole and be back inside in 3 seconds. For those cats, it’s best to get a hard plastic carrier with a stainless steel door, like the Petmate Pet Taxi Fashion Kennel.
  4. Disposable Litter Box – sure you can bring the one from home, but it’s a little… well, dirty and it’s so much easier to have a disposable littler box. It’s always nicer to travel home with less than you left with. Nature’s Miracle Disposable Littler Boxes are perfect for traveling and good for the environment. These along with your biodegradable litter and your hybrid car make for the perfect light carbon footprint vacation!
  5. Food and Water Bowls – It can be so easy to forget the simplest and most essential items, bowls, for water and food, as we hustle and try to remember EVERYTHING to pack. Collapsible Bowls are easy to pack, easy to store, and perfect for trips. They are also easy to use when your cat needs to have a little water and food while in the carrier.
  6. Identification – It’s always a great idea to have your cat microchipped and keep that information up to date with the company. But, a collar and tag is a quick and easy way for someone to realize that your cat is not a stray and might be lost. Make sure you get a tag and collar for your cat, in fact, get two or three. Cats have a talent for losing their collars. The best kind are break away collars.

6 Memorial Day Travel Tips

Heading out of town for the weekend? Want to take your pet? Traveling with your pet can be a lot of fun for you and them. Before you hit the road, don’t forget a few tips to make the weekend awesome!

6 tips to travel like a pro with your pet:

  1. Check pet policy and guidelines of the place you have booked. Review the policies, check your reservation and let them know you are bringing your dog and ask what they require in terms of vaccine records and other paperwork. Some hotels have a size and weight restriction. Some campgrounds have strict rules about dogs staying on the grounds, ask them if you need to bring a crate, what the leash length restrictions are, and if there are any other rules.
  2. Reinforce the training techniques you have established with your pet. New places and new smells can make dogs very excited. Sometimes they won’t listen as well because they are distracted with the new environment. Avoid situations that could be embarrassing and tense by making sure your dog has some of the basic commands drilled into her/his head.
  3. Plan for fun with your pet. Many places do not want your pet to left alone for long periods of time. Plan activities and places to go that allow you to bring your pet. Hiking trails, places to eat, and parks that welcome your dog can be found in visitor guides, websites of the places themselves, and here on our site.
  4. Have your pet’s vet number on hand. Look up the local vet and 24 hour emergency hospital near where you are staying. If you have an app on your phone for pet information, check that the information is up to date. Pack a small emergency kit that can be used for your pet and you. Hydrogen peroxide, bandages, tweezers, and some ointments, an extra leash, and gauze are all good to have on hand.
  5. Pack some extra food, treats, and medication for your pet in case you run out and can’t find it in the local pet stores. If you extend your trip an extra day or you drop a pill by accident, having more than you need on hand can ease your worry.
  6. Clean up after your dog. Pack doggie bags and leave the parks and streets the way you came across them. Be considerate and always be responsible.

Have a great weekend!

Image from The LA Times

Need a Weekend Getaway? Head to Essex Resort!

Hey everyone, you and your dog deserve an end of spring getaway and The Essex Resort and Spa in Essex, VT is making it easy for you.

Top Dog Weekend is their special end of Spring getaway for people and their pups scheduled for the weekend of May 31 to June 2, 2013.

The package deal consists of a pampered weekend of massage, grooming, and fresh baked biscuits for your pup. There’s also a “Yappy Hour” for them on Friday night after checking in. The next day there will be a trip to the park and then all the dogs will be groomed and massaged. For us owners, there is going to be a cooking class where we can learn to make dog biscuits that are healthy and taste great for our furry buddies.

It’s a weekend focused on our loving pets but there is also a spa, gym, and nearby golf course for us humans to enjoy.

The price for the pampered pet getaway is $899 based on double occupancy and includes all weekend activities, the nightly pet fee, and a very special goody bag for your pet. By the time Sunday rolls around, you and your pup will be ready to head back home, relaxed, serene, and recharged. Don’t miss out on this awesome deal!

For more information, check out our page for The Essex Resort and Spa.

6 Great Places To Travel With Your Dog

There are some great travel deals popping up where you can getaway for cheap and have a fun weekend. Some may be a few hours away from a major city and others might be a plane ride. Whatever you decide to do, if your dog is going to go with you, it’s important to plan a trip that will be fun for both of you. Sure, you could board your dog or ask a friend to watch her/him but your dog could probably use a break too.

Here are 6 Great Places to Getaway With When Bringing Your Dog

  1. Mutt Lynch Winery – Located in Sonoma County in California, this winery’s name is whimsical and also a great place to taste some exquisite wines. The winery supports and donates money to various dog rescue groups, and their motto is, “Bark less, wag more!” You could start the day off with a long walk, some play time, and then head to winery while your pup snoozes. Then both of you can play dead together in the evening.
    Hotels in Healdsburg, Ca
  2. The beach in Key West – Key West, Fl is known for its nightlife, sunshine, and great food. It’s also dog-friendly. There is a great beach that allows dogs to run around off-leash on Vernon St. and Waddell Ave. After you’re done splashing around, head over to Louie’s Backyard and catch a drink. There is even a kayak rental place that allows dogs to paddle with you. Sun, fun, drinks, and lots of tail wags. Sounds perfect.
    Hotels in Key West, Fl
  3. Colorado Springs – one coolest places to visit with its mountain scenery, trails, and dog parks, this is a pet paradise. Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway allows pets go where you go, on a horse-drawn trolley into town or on the train ride. Cripple Creek District Museum, Garden of the Gods Trading Post, Historic Manitou Springs and Manitou Cliff Dwelling all allows pets as long as they are well-behaved and leashed.
    Hotels in Colorado Springs
  4. Cannon Beach, Or – With over 14 pet-friendly hotels in the area, lots of awesome places to eat, as at least 10 restaurants that allow dogs to dine with their owners at outdoor tables, this is the best place for a weekend getaway if you live near Portland, Or. The highlight, though, will definitely be walking the miles of beaches, which allow dogs to go leash-less as long as they’re under voice control.
    Hotels in Cannon Beach, Or
  5. Acadia National Park – Acadia National Park has over 120 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to strenuous. Imagine the smell of the deep woods, beautiful shorelines, and peacefulness you’ll feel there. Your dog will love exploring the trails and sniffing everything! Please remember, dogs must be leashed on trails and bring bags to clean up after your dog.
    Hotels in Acadia
  6. Montrose Beach, Chicago – When I say Chicago in my head, I imagine cityscapes and buildings. I don’t think about a beach being so close but there is an amazing beach where you and your pup can roam and swim off-leash. After playing and shaking the sand out of your ears, catch a drink and some good food at one of the many outdoor restaurants that allow pets to hang out with you.
    Hotels in Chicago

No matter where you go, make sure your pet has updated identification tags and don’t forget to make a list of the emergency vets in the area you’re staying just in case. Have fun and send us pictures!

Image from The Ocean Lodge

6 Things to Train Your Dog to Do Before You Travel

Taking our dogs on trips can be fun and a great bonding experience. It stimulates their minds and senses when they get to explore new environments and we don’t have to worry that they are sad or confused in a boarding facility. But, your dog should know a few basic commands and be well-mannered when visiting new places. The last thing you want to do is annoy other travelers or be asked to leave the place you’re staying.

6 Things To Train Your Dog To Do Before You Travel

Crate and Car Rides

If your dog isn’t used to being confined, begin now before you head out. Keep the energy positive and reward your dog for being patient and quiet. Crate for a few minutes a day working up to a few hours. Take short car rides and consider getting a doggie seat belt for safety’s sake.

Brush Up On Basic Commands

Sit, Stay, Come, and Off should be reinforced to make sure your dog listens to you as you walk around new streets or hike through a forest. Your dog may listen perfectly at home, but might ignore you on walks. Start refinforcing these commands when out and about before your trip.

Walking On a Leash

A lot of my friends have backyards and their dogs don’t go on walks everyday. This sometimes means their pup drags and pulls every which way on walks to sniff things, jog to the next interesting smell, or want to chase a squirrel. On a vacation, your dog will need to be leashed as you walk through the hotels, rest stops, and through some nature trails. If you haven’t gone for walks in a while, start now. Reinforce the commands to Wait, Heel, and Sit. Reward good behavior and make the walks fun. Remember to walk with confidence so your dog falls in line with you as the leader.

Getting Accustomed to New Places

Get your dog used to checking out new places before you travel. A walk through a new park, different block, and trips to friends’ houses will help you be able to know what to expect when you two hit the road. You can reinforce commands, praise great behavior, and maybe even discover a place you hadn’t know was there, like a dog park or dog-friendly coffee shop in that part of town you don’t hang out in often.

New Items to Use

You may planning on camping for a few days with your pup. Instead of bringing the dog bed from the bedroom and big plastic or metal bowls, you may have travel ones ready to use. Your dog might not understand that they are for him/her. A few days before you go away, feed your pup in the travel bowls, place the new portable pet bed somewhere where your dog can inspect it and get used to it.

Stop Barking and Settle Down

Dogs are verbal creatures from their little whines to barks and growls, they express themselves with tail wags, head tilts, and their voice. Your dog may not bark much at home but may be very talkative when at the dog park or in the yard. Teach the command, QUIET, so that your dog knows when it’s ok to bark and not ok. Also if your dog is upset, redirect attention back to you so s/he knows that they don’t need to worry, you got this!

Have a great trip!

Image from Best Dog Training Guide

Best Cities for Dog-Friendly Dining

In August of 2012, Men’s Health Magazine, released an article about the most dog friendly and least dog friendly.

The top 4 friendly dog cities are:

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. Wilmington, DE
  4. Seattle, WA

Aside from the fact that each of these cities have a plethora of pet-related services (such as dog daycares, veterinarians, pet bakeries and boutiques), they also boasted having pet-friendly hotels, dog parks, and restaurants.

If you plan on visiting one of these cities with your pup or maybe just moved there, you might be wondering where you can go with your dog aside from the park. There are plenty of great cafes and restaurants in each of these cities that welcome pets and their human companions.

Places to eat in the top 4 Dog-Friendly Cities

Portland, OR – The city known for its relaxed attitude, dog parks, and food also loves pets. Lucky Lab Brewing Company has several locations around the city that all welcome dogs on their patios.

McMenamins owns several fun bars and restaurants in Portland and every single one of them is dog-friendly. Dogs must be leashed and can sit outside with their owners at the special sidewalk seating areas. Don’t forget to check out a second run movie at one of their many theaters.

Colorado Springs, CO – A beautiful city that sits at the foot of Pike’s Peak. It has plenty of outdoor activities and dog-friendly places to go with your best friend. If you’re hungry, check out Caspian Cafe located at 4375 Sinton Road and bring your pup. You can both sit outside.

Ted’s Montana Grill is the perfect place to get some great American food with your dog. Be warned though, the burgers and fries you get may have to be shared with your four-legged friend as you might not be able to finish it. All dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed and friendly.

Wilmington, DE – Explore the underground railroad and mansions then settle in for a relaxing meal with your furry friend. Catherine Rooney’s is a great pub which welcomes all dogs who are well-mannered and leashed on their outdoor seating area.

Brew Ha Ha is the place to go to when you want that perfect espresso before hitting the park with your pup. Dogs are welcome and must be on leash.

Seattle, WA – Seattle has a lot of great attractions from museums to shopping to hiking. If you are here with your canine companion, there are also great places to grab a bite. The Barking Dog Alehouse is a great place to have a micro-brew beer and some food. Your dog is welcome to hang out in the outdoor seating area with you but must be friendly to children and other dogs.

Luna Park Cafe is the perfect spot to start your day with a hot breakfast and coffee before hiking or heading to the dog park. Grab a seat at the outdoor seating section with your buddy and get energized for the big day ahead.

Did we miss some places? Tell us where you go with your canine buddy!
Image from Kathy Posner’s Blog

7 Reasons Why A Vacation Rental is a Great Option When Traveling with Pets

While many hotels and guest houses are becoming more pet-friendly and have some very amazing and nice gift packs for four-legged guests – and hotels aren’t your only lodging option. Especially if you’ll be in one place for more than a few days, a vacation rental can be an excellent choice.

7 Reasons To Rent A Vacation Home

  1. Can save money – If you plan on an extended stay you may be able to negotiate a lower rate with the person or company who rents the house. In the end, that can save you some more money than hotel as well as offer more comfort.
  2. A little more privacy – The nice part of staying in a house is that you have some more privacy. Your dog might bark but the neighbors may be far enough away that it doesn’t disturb them.
  3. Special needs can be met – Does your pet take medication? Do you feed a raw diet? Being able to store special items like medications or food in a fridge without fear of it being thrown out is a relief. Being able to set up the things your pet needs without worry can make your time away even more enjoyable.
  4. More room! – This is a great reason to rent a vacation home. The kids can have their own room and bed, you can have yours, and your pets can have their pet beds set up whereever it makes sense. Have a group of friends? Hopefully no one ends up on an uncomfortable cot or on the floor.
  5. Reduces Anxiety – Although your dog may be super friendly and well behaved, having a home where everyone can relax and unwind after a day out makes it better for everyone including the dog or cat. Some cats and dogs may still be uncertain of the new place but since it’s not as busy as a hotel, they may settle in faster.
  6. Free Laundry – Most hotels have a laundry room but you must pay for it. Vacation homes tend to have a washer and dryer for you to use and that’s extremely convenient. If your pet’s bedding needs to be washed you can do it without spending extra money. Just always be mindful to clean the lint traps.
  7. Establish a routine – Live like a local or like you do at home can help your pet adjust and not be as anxious as they might be in a hotel with strange smells, sounds, and unknown items. Renting a vacation home means you can bring more of the creature comforts and lay them out as needed. Just remember to clean up.

We list many hotels on here but we also have an ever-growing list of vacation rentals for anyone who is looking for a getaway. If you’re heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, check out the great vacation rentals that are all pet-friendly. Rates may vary from season to season and it’s always recommended to book your stay as early as possible.

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon Coast is incredibly beautiful year round. Looking for a weekend getaway but don’t want to stay in the hotels? Then look at the cute rentals in Seaside, OR and nearby areas.

Have a story to share about renting a vacation home or a recommendation? Let us know and help us expand our listings!

Image from My Cancun Travel Guide