Lizzi & Rocco's Natural Pet Market

Tips for vacationing with your pet!

Taking dogs on vacation is becoming a more common practice. In 2018, 37% of American pet owners said they take their pets along with them on trips, compared to just 19% in 2008. And now in 2023, that number is closer to 60% according to Wag Walking!  Having your dog with you as you vacation can be a super fun and fulfilling experience for both you and your pet, but like any part of vacation planning, preparation is key!

At Lizzi & Rocco’s we love traveling with our pets when we can, and we have put together a handy guide for traveling with your dog based on our experiences!  

Three dogs sitting on the beach after taking a nice vacation swim.
Kenai and friends drying off after a nice vacation swim.

Vacation Research:

If you decide that this year’s vacation would be incomplete without your dog joining the fun, do some research to ensure your dream vacation spot and itinerary is dog friendly. For example, if you plan on taking a vacation to Disney World and being in the parks for 12 hours a day, it may not be a good idea to take your dog since your dog cannot enter any Disney World parks. 

Look for the following things when planning a dog-friendly trip: 

  1. Lodging Options: Look for pet-friendly hotels, vacation rentals, or campsites that allow dogs both on the way to your destination and at your destination. If you have a larger dog, be sure to ask about size or breed restrictions.
  2. Outdoor Spaces: Make sure you have access to parks, beaches, trails, or other outdoor areas where dogs are welcome and can exercise and play.
  3. Pet-Friendly Attractions: Many areas have a range of attractions, such as outdoor attractions, museums, cafes, and shops that allow pets.
  4. Pet Services: You never know when you’ll need them, so it’s a good idea to find pet-friendly services like groomers, pet sitters, dog walkers, pet stores, or veterinary clinics at your vacation destination.
  5. Pet-Friendly Events: If your destination has a bustling events calendar, you may even find pet-centric events, such as dog shows, pet parades, or festivals, that cater to pets and their owners. Pet-specific events may be worth the trip to some places (we’re looking at you, Fromm PetFest in September in Milwaukee)!
  6. Information and Resources: Take a few minutes to search for easily found info online about pet-friendly facilities, activities, and local regulations – it will make it easier for you to plan your trip! 

Before leaving on a big trip, schedule a checkup for your dog with your veterinarian. Ensure that all vaccinations are current and bring along the necessary shot records. If you are traveling by air,  check with your airline for their specific requirements for your furry companion. 

Also remember, not all dogs enjoy traveling to new places and living the adventure lifestyle. You know your dog best, so keep your pup’s personality in mind! 

Be Prepared for Anything:

Make sure that you pack a very durable leash and collar/harness. Just in case your dog takes off, make sure that your dog has an identification tag with your dog’s name, your name, and cell phone number. If you are staying somewhere for a few days, it might be a good idea to get an extra tag that has your temporary location and phone number. Also, make sure that your dog’s rabies vaccine tag is on the collar as well. 

It is a good idea to research the nearest veterinary emergency hospital and program the number into your phone in the rare instance your dog gets injured adventuring or gets sick. 

Pack It Up:

When it comes to packing for trips with animals, it is always better to overpack! It is good to be prepared for anything than to be caught unawares with nary a pet store in a 100-mile radius. This is ESPECIALLY true if your dog has allergies or special needs. Here is our list of the essential things to pack when traveling with a pet!

  1. Your dog’s food: Bring lots of your dog’s food along with you on the trip. By keeping your dog’s diet consistent you will help prevent tummy troubles on your trip! Feed a fresh-food diet? Research local pet stores that carry it, and give them a call to make sure it’s a product they regularly stock!
  2. In case your dog does run into tummy issues, pack some canned pumpkin to help soothe it. Our favorite is Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up because it comes in very convenient, single-serve portions!
  3. Bring a portable bowl and water bottle so your dog can drink on the go. If you’re going somewhere hot, add a couple of ice cubes so it stays cool for a longer time.
  4. Favorite Treats! Keep your pup engaged and happy with their favorite treats.
  5. Medication: If your dog is on medication make sure you pack them in the original containers, with clear instructions on how they are administered (This is also good advice for human medication!)
  6. Leash, Collar, and ID tags: So important, we are saying it twice! 
  7. Toys & Chews: Prevent boredom and provide comfort by packing a few of your dog’s favorite toys and chews! Chews are a great way to keep your pup entertained during long road trips or flights!
  8. Poop bags and cleaning supplies: Pack lots of waste bags for cleaning up after your dog. Do not assume that poop bags will be available wherever you go. Make sure you include clean-up supplies, as well! We also like to pack a stain and odor remover, just in case someone has an accident in the hotel or rental home. Bonus tip: pack a roll of paper towels in the car in case your pet gets car sick!  
  9. Just say no to bugs! If you’re planning on any outdoor activities, pack a bug spray for you and your pet! Whether you are camping, floating, hiking, or chilling at the beach, biting bugs will put a damper on your vacation!  
  10. Keep it clean! This is SUPER important if your vacation involves lots of messy play time – pack things like their brush, shampoo, mud busters, or bath wipes to minimize the muck! 
  11. If you have special activities like boating or hiking, make sure you pack the proper gear! 

Make packing for your pup a breeze with this handy packing list! 

Traveling By Car:

It is extremely important for everyone’s safety that when driving your dog is safely restrained – in some states, it’s even the law! This keeps your dog safe in the case of an accident and prevents your dog from distracting the driver. Read about our recommended ways to keep a pet safe in the car here

If your dog hasn’t spent a lot of time in the car in the past, get them used to the car before a major road trip.– You can start by letting them sit in the car with you while in your driveway, and then practice with some short drives to fun places! 

Here are a few pro tips for car traveling with your pup!

  1. Make sure your dog has access to water while traveling in the car. These spill-proof bowls are a lifesaver.
  2. Having your dog ride on an empty stomach can help you prevent carsickness. If that doesn’t work with your travel schedule, multiple small meals will work too!
  3.  Make sure you stop frequently for potty and exercise breaks to both prevent accidents and also help your dog burn off energy! 
  4. Even though it is a classic image, never let your dog ride with their head out of the window or in the back of a truck! Both things can be extremely dangerous.

And no matter what, never ever leave your dog unattended in a hot vehicle without cool air circulating. Car temperatures rise very quickly in the hot weather, even in the shade!

Jinx enjoying a swim on vacation.
Jinx doing Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga.

Once you get there!

Hooray! You have made it to your vacation destination with your dog, family, and sanity in tow! It is time to kick back and relax. To keep your dog safe, make sure to use caution if let your pup off of its leash in a non-enclosed area, as dogs can take off running in areas that are unknown to them. If your dog doesn’t have great recall skills, it’s best to keep the leash attached!

Also, if you leave your dog unattended in a hotel room or rental, make sure they are comfortable with plenty of water and comfort toys! Dogs can easily panic in unknown houses and become destructive in a very short time period (like in the time it takes to grab a quick meal), so a crate and some calming supplements may be helpful tools to bring along.

The MOST IMPORTANT vacation tip is: have fun and make lots of memories! We hope that no matter where you go on your vacation and what you do that you have a wonderful, safe time! 

A small dog relaxing on the beach while on vacation.
Gertie supervising the beach.
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