Last week we attended BlogPaws, an annual conference of pet bloggers and brands that, this year, was held just outside Washington, DC. We flew to the conference so naturally we didn’t take our 60+ pound dogs Irie and Tiki. We’d never recommend flying a dog in the belly of the plane unless you’re moving overseas and there’s no other option. And, even then, I’d probably try to get in the cargo hold along with them…it makes me nervous to think about it…
But, of course, we’re self-employed so driving is always an option for us. The drive from Texas to DC is a very long one, though, so it would have at least tripled the length of our time out of the office. And we were sponsored at the conference by The Nutro Company who generously paid for our airfare; we don’t know if we would have had the option of having driving expenses covered.
At the conference, we saw many dogs with their people, having a great time. But we know that ours would not have been two of them, even if we had been able to step away from the computers long enough for the cross-country drive with them.
We know that, financial and time reasons aside, we wouldn’t have taken them to DC because they don’t like big city travel. Irie, a fearful dog who has made great strides in the last few years, hates the sound of trucks. Her idea of a successful trip is one that involves at least one splash in the water…
…and so we plan our trips accordingly. Irie and Tiki have been very busy the past couple of months traveling Texas with us to research our upcoming Texas with Dogs book…but only to destinations we know they’ll enjoy. As much as we wish they’d enjoy some patio dining in Houston or dog walking in Dallas with us…or, in this latest trip, hanging out with 500 fellow pet lovers in DC…we know they wouldn’t.
And so we’re careful to set them up for success. We plan trips that we know they’ll love and that we’ll love taking with them. Next year’s conference is in Lake Las Vegas, a far quieter destination than the bustling Strip, so we’re going to check out the possibility of taking them along.
Before you plan your next trip with your dog, be honest with yourself about your dog and your trip plans. How do you know whether your dog should stay home or travel?
- If your dog is not well-trained, taking him along with for the trip doesn’t just spell additional hassles but it could also be potentially dangerous for him. If he doesn’t come when called, for example, you will have to worry about him getting away from you at each stop.
- Some dogs do not deal well with strangers or with strange dogs. If you have to worry about your dog lunging at fellow travelers or barking at everyone he encounters in the hotel hallway, it’s not a good idea to bring him along just yet. You’ve got some more work to do before he–and you–will enjoy the trip.
- Consider just what your plans are for the trip as well because traveling with your dog will define your activities. Most lodging facilities do not allow you to leave your dog unattended in the rooms–even for a brief time. Don’t plan to go museum hopping for the day unless you plan to find either boarding or day care facilities for your dog. Also, if fine dining is a focal point of your trip, you’ll need to make additional arrangements. While more and more restaurants welcome dogs for patio dining, you won’t be able to dine indoors.
- Some vacations lend themselves to having dog buddies along better than others. A camping trip is one that almost any dog would enjoy. On the other hand, a deep-sea fishing expedition might not be enjoyable for a dog that has never been on any kind of boat.
- Trips involving air travel will work if your dog is small enough to go in the cabin at your feet. Larger dogs travel by air in the cargo hold, a frightening experience that we would only recommend as a last resort, for example, if you’re moving overseas and driving’s not an option.
- Consider the physical condition of your dog. An older dog that normally spends most of the day sleeping may tire too quickly on a trip. Also, consider the risks of having your older dog far away from your trusted veterinarian.
- Some dogs are simply more sociable than others, and enjoy meeting new people or seeing new places. If your dog acts nervous or defensive around strangers, he’ll be stressed at busy resort (as will you). He might be a better companion on a camping adventure.