Make Some Pawsome Memories: Tips for Travelling with your Dog
Dog lovers know: There's no bond like the one you share with your dog, so take your furry BFF on your next road trip and make some paw-some memories! We've put together the top reasons to travel with your furry companion, plus tips on making your trip safer, cheaper and more fun for both of you.
You’ll save money and time and when you bring your pup on vacation
Finding the perfect pet sitter to look after your furbabies takes time and research, plus it can cost you a bundle. Travelling with your dog can eliminate the costs and worry associated with kennels (and will keep you from wearing out your dog’s welcome with friends and relatives).
Dogs are the ultimate ice-breakers
Whether you’re taking your pup to a local dog park, roaming the city streets together or relaxing at a sidewalk café, you’ll be sure to find opportunities to strike up conversations with dog-loving locals. You can make new friends, get advice on where to eat or go, and get recommendations for pet-friendly destinations. In a way, your dog forces you to travel like a local, rather than a tourist. You may have to skip the city museum, but you can trade that in for a stroll through a beautiful city park -- something you may have missed out on if you didn’t have a dog in tow.
Travelling solo? Not anymore!
Take your furry friend along. You already know they're a great listener and love all the same road-trip tunes you do, plus they always look great in selfies and will never complain about your itinerary. They also love a good patio session and have no problem waiting in line at the city’s most popular food truck ever. Above all else, their company makes you feel safer and less alone -- and what's better than that?
Travelling together will improve both of your well-being
Do you feel guilty every time you look into those sad doggie eyes as you rush out the door? Working all week and trying to balance your social life and "me time" can be really tough for dog owners. Scheduling in extra time with your most loyal companion can improve your mental and emotional health -- not to mention your animal’s well-being. Plus, the extra exercise you'll get on your trip from all that time walking and sightseeing will be healthy for both of you!
Now that we’ve convinced you that your next adventure should include your pet, here’s what you need to know to plan the ultimate trip.
Find a pet-friendly hotel: If you think private home rentals are your only option, you could be missing out! The number of pet-friendly hotels across North America is growing rapidly. These properties not only want to welcome your four-legged friend, they want to pamper them, too. Many hotels now provide dog beds, bowls and treats -- and some even go as far as providing room-service menus for your canine! You’ll often pay a fee for your pet’s stay (it typically covers cleaning and is often charged per stay rather than per night), so do your homework before you show up. If you’re travelling with a larger dog, make sure the hotel doesn’t have a weight/size restriction. Also, ask about any particular rules: Do you need to use a crate? Can you leave your dog unattended in the room? Are any areas of the hotel grounds off-limits? Obviously, the more pet-friendly your hotel is, the more fun and freedom you and your canine companion will have.
It’s easy to book pet-friendly hotels through Travelzoo; every one of our listings states whether the property is pet-friendly or not. Here are some of our favourites.
- Rodd Charlottetown in PEI. The Rodd chain of hotels is pet-friendly with no extra fee, so the East Coast is a great destination for a road trip with your dog.
- Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa, a dog-friendly urban environment with bountiful trails and parks.
- Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, for the downtown dog.
- The Burleigh Falls Inn -- a nature paradise situated in the Kawarthas.
- Sherwood Inn in Muskoka. You’ll stay in an upgraded room and there’s a $49 fee per stay, but the grounds, lake and trails make this a fantastic dog-and-you destination.
- Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront -- just two blocks from the Stanley Park Seawall!
- Ruby Lake Resort on BC’s sunshine coast.
Know before you go: It’s important to figure out what you want to do and then plan from there. For example, did you know Ontario prohibits dogs from all provincial park beaches? That’s not the kind of thing you want to find out when you arrive at 6 p.m. with a carful of camping gear and a restless dog. You'll want to research local laws, as every province (and many municipalities) have different rules.
Get your papers in order: If you’re heading to the U.S., this one is non-negotiable: Print out documents proving that your pet has had their rabies shot and all of their necessary vaccines at least 30 days prior to arriving at the U.S. border. Even if you aren’t crossing the border, it’s a good idea to carry these papers with you, and to email them to yourself as well. In the unlikely event that you need to seek veterinary care, you’ll want to have them handy. Regardless of how far you travel with your pet, we also recommend that your animal is microchipped and wears their vaccine tags on their collar, along with an identification tag that includes your phone number.