Before you decide to hit the road with your pooch, make sure your buddy will be as excited about vacationing as you are; not all pets are thrilled with the idea of leaving home sweet home. Before you start to plan, ask yourself a few basic questions about your upcoming trip.
- Does my pet like to travel? If your better half balks at the sight of an open car door, or if your usually friendly feline morphs into Houdini at the sight of a pet-carrier, consider having to encounter these situations repeatedly over the course of your trip. It probably doesn’t sound like fun.
- Am I heading somewhere pet-appropriate? If you’re looking to spend your days hitting the ski-slopes, or plan on lengthy sight-seeing tours of a big city, consider how your companion will fit into the commotion. Dogs are pack animals, and are usually anxious and upset when separated for long periods. Consider hiring a friendly dog-sitter or leaving your pet with a kennel instead of alone in a boring hotel.
- Is my schedule going to be packed? If you’re going to be short on time already, trying to get in as much fun and sight-seeing as possible, consider the extra time it will take to walk and water your pet ever few hours, and to accommodate usual meal times and exercise. If you’re not planning a laid-back vacation, you will find it easier “off leash”.
- Is my pet friendly and calm? It may sound obvious, but just because you find it adorable when your 80 pound lab jumps up to greet you doesn’t mean other travelers will. Be considerate and leave boisterous or unsocial animals to the comfort of their usual abode.
- Am I traveling to a very hot or cold climate? Leaving dogs in the car is simply not an option in even mild heat or extreme cold, and many pet-friendly lodgings do not allow dogs to be left unattended in rooms. Again, the comfort of your home or a good kennel may be the best choice.
Lodgings: Diamonds in the “ruff”
Although it hasn’t always been this way, traveling and vacationing with your pet is only becoming easier, with more and more pet-friendly accommodations and activities popping up all over the place. But if you’re looking to do more than just tote Todo along for the typical, consider these exceptional locations where your lovable Lassie is likely to be even more at home than you!
Inn at Schoolhouse Creek
Pet fee: Ranges from $25 to $75 per night, depending on the room. Pets are allowed in all rooms at the Inn.
Already renowned for its lovely human accommodations, the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek is equally welcoming for your four legged friend. Your doggy will arrive in his room greeted with a pet welcome basket, including a Frisbee for playtime on the cottage’s 8 private acres. Leave the leash behind (leashes are not required on the property!) and high-tail it down the short path to the waterfront, where your companion can stretch his legs and break in his new toy on the beautiful sandy beach. After you’ve both gotten your feet wet and are thoroughly caked with sand, head back up to the cottage’s own private pet bath to rinse off for the night. Feel free to explore the area with your pet in tow, or book other excursions sans Fido; pets are allowed to be left alone in the rooms.
Chico Hot Springs Lodge
Pet fee: $5 one time fee
If a laid back Montana atmosphere is your kind of thing, be sure to stay in one of the 80 rooms at the Hot Springs with your favorite furry friend. This 1900s style lodge rests on 150 acres at the base of the Absaroka Beartooth mountains, offering lodges and rustic cabins as accommodations. The activities here abound for people and animals alike, with offerings ranging from skiing and dog sledding to horseback riding and more! Bring all four legs along for a nice hike through the surrounding area, or let your buddy accompany you for some fly-fishing and water-side fun. It’s only right that if your beloved companion gets to enjoy himself, you should, too, and what better way than spending some time in the Chico Day Spa located on the grounds, with everything you need for an ultimately relaxing vacation.
Once you’ve decided to hit the road, here are a few things that every loving owner should never leave behind:
- Leash and collar with ID tags. Make sure you add a “local” tag that includes an address and phone number where you will be staying. A recent photograph of your pet is also good in case you get separated and require the assistance of others.
- Some favorite toys including chews, balls, and treats.
- Fresh drinking water from home. Many pets will refuse to drink water elsewhere; if you are going to be gone for more than a few days, consider bringing some apple-cider vinegar or Gatorade. Add a small amount of either of these to the local water to trick your dog into drinking. It is best to use these at home before you leave to ensure your pet enjoys the taste.
- Food and water bowls. Consider investing a few dollars in some collapsible versions which are available at local pet stores. These are especially convenient for taking with in the car or on daily excursions.
- Grooming tools/brushes.
- Any prescribed medications.
- Vaccination records, especially rabies. Many establishments including hotels and local forests and parks will require this proof of vaccination for visiting animals.
- Pooper scooper and/or plastic baggies. A lot of great portable and compact designs are available at major pet stores.
- Flashlight for night-time potty breaks.
- Paper towels for cleaning up messes.
- A Pet Emergency Kit, also available at most pet stores and many camping-supply/outdoor chains.
Special thanks to www.petsonthego.com and the “Pets on the Go! The Definitive Lodging and Vacation Guide” for their wonderful lodging suggestions and great tips for the traveling canine.