If you are hesitant about going on a dog friendly vacation, I completely understand. I was an avid traveler before we got our dog, Kirby. I was pretty sure the only time he’d come with us on vacation was if we were camping. Otherwise, I pictured him being boarded while we went on our adventures. Now, I’m sharing dog friendly vacation tips?!
So what changed? Well, our first time traveling with Kirby ended up being a blast. It was so fun watching him enjoy so many new things. After that, we decided to try and take him with us whenever it made sense. Now, we go specifically to places we know we can bring Kirby, and places we think he will enjoy.
If you have yet to take your dog on vacation with you, this post will give you my best dog friendly vacation tips so that you can have a vacation you will enjoy!
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1. Have Reasonable Expectations
To start off, the best way to enjoy your dog friendly vacation is to have reasonable expectations. After all, you will not be able to do certain things when your dog comes with you, like going to museums or eating indoors.
If there is a specific activity that you absolutely cannot miss and you can’t take your dog with you, check for local dog sitters or daycare boarding. Another option is that if there are two of you, you can take turns. We’ve done this with museums before. It takes more time out of your day but saves you money.
Also, expect your dog not to be on their best behavior. They are in a new environment and will be more distracted by all the new scents, other dogs, and people. This is where my next tip comes in handy.
2. Train Your Dog
Traveling with a dog is not easy, but it is so much easier if your dog is trained. And when I say trained, I mean that they listen to you. If your dog listens to commands you give even when they are in a highly distracting situation, then your dog will probably do fine on vacation.
Otherwise, I would say you need to invest in some training before going on vacation. We personally did e-collar training with Kirby and have found it to be an amazing tool. It gives him way more freedom than if he hadn’t done the training. I won’t get into it about e-collar training, but this article is a great read if you are interested.
Another training element that will help you enjoy your vacation is if you have your dog’s barking under control. A constantly barking dog can get you kicked off patio dining and cause complaints at a hotel. To save yourself a lot of headaches, research training techniques to get your dog’s barking under control before your vacation.
3. Know Where You Are Going To Eat Ahead of Time
Part of the fun of going on vacation is experiencing local cuisine. To still enjoy this aspect of your trip, research, and pre-plan where you can eat with your dog. I would also suggest having a plan B location in case your first choice has a long wait.
You also have the option to order carry out at most places. So, if there is a restaurant that you really wanted to try, but doesn’t have dog friendly seating, you could take your food back to your hotel or find a nearby park to picnic.
TIP: Check out blogs (like this one!) for dog friendly restaurant suggestions or the website BringFido
4. Keep Your Dog Occupied and Engaged
Keeping your dog occupied and engaged on your trip will help you both enjoy it. When your dog is happy, you tend to be happy as well. A tired dog is also a better behaved dog in most cases. So make sure you do some activities specifically for your dog like a hike or beach day.
Also, do an activity before you eat to tire your dog out so that your mealtime goes smoothly.
5. Bring New Toys / Long Lasting Treats
A very important step when it comes to vacationing with your dog! You want to be equipped with several tools to get your dog’s attention or make your dog tired. Since you are in a new environment, some of the tactics you normally use at home may not work. Your dog might act out because they are so unsure about their surroundings.
If that happens, you’ll want to pull out a new toy or treat to keep them occupied or behaving. If your dog is being an awesome traveler, give them a treat or a new toy anyway to reward them for being such a good dog!
6. Factor In Rest Time
Don’t forget to factor in rest time.
Your dog will need to recharge after a long day hiking or interacting with other dogs and people. Even when they aren’t active, they are still burning energy by being out and about with you. Remember, dogs need at least 12 hours of sleep every day.
Take plenty of breaks, give them extra food and water and let them sleep in!
I hope these tips help you enjoy your dog friendly vacation. Let me know how your trip goes in the comments below!