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Dog travel--dog in suitcase

Safe Travels!

Dog travel--in front of bridge

I’ve been hearing from my friends that there is a big vacation week coming up next month. They’ve all been trying to eavesdrop and find out what arrangements their parents are making for them. A few of my friends are excited that they get to go with their families this year. One friend can’t wait to get dropped off at his grandparent’s house because he gets to eat as many Milkbones as he wants.

I’m actually staying at a friend’s house for a couple weeks while my mom is on vacation in the southwest. I begged her to take me with her, but when it got right down to it, it just seemed like a bad idea.

She found plenty of hotels that were happy to have me, but it meant packing my bed, toys and food.  Since she wasn’t going to have car, it would have been a lot of extra stuff for her to carry. I do have my own back pack, so I could carry some of it, but since I use all four limbs to walk, I couldn’t lend an extra hand.

The deal breaker came when she said she was flying. I am too big to fit under the seat, so I’d have to ride with the luggage. Yeah right!

Plus my mom’s friend has a dog that I’m really good friends with, so over all it just made sense for me to stay here. I miss her lots, but I’m glad we talked it out. We looked at all our options, such as kennels, dog-friendly hotels, renting a car instead of flying… and it just wasn’t going to work.

It can sound like fun to bring your dog on vacation with you, but it’s really important to think it through. All the way through. Don’t leave anything to chance and don’t assume you can sort everything when you get there. There is nothing more humiliating than arriving at your destination ready to start your vacation only to find out your mom is welcome, but you have to sleep in the car. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone is a fan of dogs.

Even if you can take your dog on the plane and your accommodations allow dogs, that’s not necessarily a green light to bring your dog.

Yeah it’s great to go to the beach and watch us jump and play in the sand. But what about when you plan to go out to dinner at night? Or you decide to take a day trip without us. Sure we stay home alone all the time, but this isn’t our home. There are new smells and strange noises. Most of us can brush it off no sweat, but sometimes we get overwhelmed and behave uncharacteristically bad.

Now I’m sounding like a Debbie Downer. My point is, PLAN PLAN PLAN.

If you’re flying, make sure there is room on the plane. Find out ahead of time if your hotel or rental house takes dogs. If you’re planning to leave your dog behind for stretches at time, consider hiring a dog walker or find a space in the house where the we can be contained and safe from trouble. Also find out about local dog parks and dog friendly areas, so you’ll have a place to take us for exercise and socialize. Hey, we’re on vacation too. We’d like to see some new faces.
So if you’re planning a trip, consider all your options and make a decision that will be right for you and your dog. If you make arrangements to ensure you and your dog will be comfortable, you’ll both be able to relax and enjoy your vacation.

Safe travels!

Photo credits: and

J Dawg, who voices the paws-on-the-ground perspective of island life, is created by Janet Forest, owner of Nantucket Pet Sitter, which you can follow on Facebook, too.