A 2023 National Pet Owners Survey revealed that 66% of U.S. households, or 89.9 million homes own a pet. Dogs are an American favorite, with 65 million households having a furry canine companion. When considering vacations and travel, some dog owners feel stuck at home, assuming they should leave their pet at home and pay for a daycare or sitter. In reality, the summertime is an excellent opportunity to take your furry friend along on your adventures. It just takes some planning and preparation to ensure you and your pup have a stress-free experience. These tips for traveling with your pet will get you started!
Where Are Pets Allowed?
With the growing number of dogs worldwide, many venues catering to travelers, such as restaurants and hotels, are becoming increasingly pet-friendly. Before making any plans, always check the pet regulations at your destination, such as the hotel, public transportation, parks, or beaches. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the number of places your dog is allowed.
A recent Airbnb report shows that the number of properties catering to pets increased by almost 50% in 2023. This global increase allows travelers to enjoy their getaways with their dogs in tow, making it easier than ever for people to plan trips with pets.
Many restaurants around the world are dog friendly as well. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adjusted restrictions for pets to allow dogs in outdoor spaces at restaurants. Dogs must be restrained on a leash and have their own bowls for food and water to avoid contaminating dishes meant for human patrons.
Public transportation might be more tricky. While all public transportation allows service dogs, regulations vary widely depending on geographic location and company policies. It’s best to check with the local company to see their policies so there’s no surprise with airlines, ferries, trains, buses, cabs, etc.
Pet-Friendly Destinations Across the Globe
Whether you want to explore a nearby outdoor space and go hiking, take a road trip, or fly across the world, many places welcome four-legged friends. Airbnb’s list of pet-friendly spots across the globe primarily includes countries in North America and Europe, including the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Belgium, and Italy.
If you plan to travel in the U.S., a recent study found certain states to be more dog-friendly than others. The top five spots included Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada, all great places to explore. These states ranked high because of their dog-loving citizens and many dog parks for canines to play.
5 Tips for Traveling Stress-Free with Your Dog from a Pet Expert
Taking your dog on a trip can be straightforward with the proper preparation. Consider these tips offered by pet expert Zach Notes at Animal Matchup.
1. Visit the vet before your trip
Get your pup up-to-date with shots and a general checkup to ensure they are healthy enough to travel. Also, discuss any concerns if your dog has travel anxiety. Then, they can recommend a prescription or natural remedies to help your dog stay calm.
2. Choose safe traveling gear
Notes recommends, “If using a carrier, choose a well-ventilated carrier that is the appropriate size for your dog. If your dog does not like to travel in a crate, using a well-fitted seat belt harness can protect them in the event of a crash.” He also mentioned the importance of packing a pet-friendly first aid kit in the event of an accident. Don’t forget to put your pets name on it.
3. Ensure you have all the needed supplies
Bring food, dog treats, water, toys, bedding, medications (if necessary), and poop bags. Bringing toys and bedding your dog is familiar with will keep them comfortable anywhere you go. Plus, bringing your pet’s typical food will help prevent upset stomachs while exploring a new place. If your dog gets motion sick in the car, your vet can provide some suggestions.
3. Find comfortable accommodation
Finding a hotel or rental that is pet friendly goes beyond the designation on a website. Make sure the environment is comfortable and inviting for your pup (and the pet parents!). For instance, if they struggle with stairs, try to find a single-story residence or hotel room. Consider a space with a yard or balcony near a park.
4. Never leave your dog alone
Leaving your pet alone while you explore can be an incredibly stressful experience for them. It’s tempting to leave them in a car with the windows down for a moment, but it can heat up quickly to dangerous temperatures. Instead, bring your pup along with you and always ensure they’re on a leash when necessary.
5. Plan for regular pit stops and potty breaks
Dogs travel well with designated time to get their energy out. Try walking them before and periodically during your travels to keep them on their best behavior, especially if you spend long days in the car while on a road trip.
Don’t Feel Stuck at Home This Summer
Traveling with a dog is a viable option for getting out and exploring this summer. With these tips, you can keep stress levels low for you and your pup while having fun. Be sure to research pet policies, bring supplies, consider their comfort level, and plan for regular breaks during a trip. Lastly, don’t forget to snap some dog pics for Insta!
Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.