vacation dog, traveling with petsThe dog days of summer are finally upon us and it’s time to hit the road and have some fun. And for many of us, a family vacation just isn’t complete without the entire family piled in the car—Fido included.

But there is a lot to consider when hitting the open road with your furry friend. Thankfully, planning a successful, pet-friendly vacation can be quite simple as long as you keep a few key considerations in mind. Typically, those considerations should focus on a few important elements that will help keep your pet safe and your journey stress free.

Crate Expectations

When traveling with your pet, a major consideration is to crate, or not to crate, while on the road. If your pet is already crate trained and the crate will fit in your vehicle, then by all means—take the crate!

Not only will traveling with a crate give your pet his or her own space within the car, but it can also keep your pet from distracting you while driving or becoming an unstoppable projectile in case you find yourself slamming on the breaks.

Likewise, bringing your dog’s crate while on the road can make staying in a hotel much easier on both you and your pet.

One important consideration when deciding to crate your animal on a road trip is ventilation. We all know that a car is no place for a dog once the temperatures rise, even if you are parked in the shade. The inside of a crate can get hot, so please never, ever leave your pet in his or her crate while your vehicle is unattended.

Where to Stay

Another important consideration when traveling with your pet is finding the perfect place to stay that will accommodate everyone.

If you’re planning on camping, make sure that your chosen campsite is pet friendly, and be prepared to be a good citizen with regard to keeping your pet on-leash and picked-up after. Consider yourself and your pet to be the ambassadors for everyone traveling with pets, and conduct yourself accordingly.

Depending on where you’re headed, finding a pet-friendly hotel can be a challenge, especially on the fly. Take the time to research the hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts along your route that are willing to take pets. We all know the best-laid plans can go to waste, so knowing of back-up accommodations along the way is an important part of your prior planning.

Again, having a crate for your pet can be a plus when it comes to staying in a hotel. Not only will your dog know his or her place in an unfamiliar room, but it can make leaving your pet in the room much less stressful for you, should the need arise.

On the Road, Again

Part of the joy of traveling with your pet is doing things together, so be sure that the adventure you embark on will be fun for everyone, including your pet.

Planning ahead for your pet’s happiness while on the road will increase your own as well. Taking frequent pit stops while driving will get you all out and exploring what nature has to offer in places you might not typically think to look. This is especially true if you opt for stopping at the local dog park or exploring the trails of a rest area or roadside attraction instead of the routine gas-and-go.

Likewise, instead of grabbing a quick bite to eat on the road, take the time to stop and find a café with outdoor seating so your pet might join you (even if it is on the other side of the fence).

Finally, make sure your pet is current on his or her vaccinations prior to hitting the road and consult with your veterinarian if you are traveling out of the immediate area, as special vaccinations may be warranted.

And please, don’t forget to send us a postcard!