Should your pet travel with you? Or is it a bad idea–for either of you? To decide, ask yourself a few simple questions.
Deciding Whether Your Pet Should Travel With You
As a responsible pet owner, there are a few things to consider when deciding whether your pet should go with you. Answering these questions will help you decide if the situation will be enjoyable and safe for you and your pet.
1. Are pets allowed?
First, ask whether the place you’d like to visit allows pets. You can feel frustrated when you can’t see a logical reason for a site to ban pets.
You might even feel a temptation to walk in boldly with your polite dog pretending not to have seen a sign. Or sneak your cat or wee pup into a building in a bag.
But it’s important to obey the rules.
Not only could you get a ticket for taking bringing your pet where they don’t belong, you’re setting a bad example. You absolutely don’t want to do anything that would make owners ban pets in more places.
Sometimes there are good reasons dogs aren’t allowed — even if they’re not immediately obvious. For example, the state park officials at Cape May Point Lighthouse started banning dogs only after they were found to be harassing nesting birds. Cape May is located on a major flyway where birds feast on horseshoe crabs and hatch their young. While it’s disappointing that we can’t visit this beautiful beach with our pets, it’s worth finding another place to play to protect the birds.
And pet policies can change, so call or check a site’s website to be sure pets are still allowed before you go. After all, people had been visiting Cape May Point Beach for years with dogs before they enacted the ban.
2. Is it safe?
Big, outdoor events like festivals and concerts can be fun. They aren’t always safe for dogs (particularly small dogs) and cats. A medium-sized doggo is exactly the right height to take someone out at the knees. In a large crowd where the average person won’t notice her, it may not be safe for your dog.
I’ve seen people walking tiny dogs on-leash in crushing crowds and it was all I could do to restrain myself from scooping them up before someone stepped on them!
I’ve also seen pets waiting alone in cars for their people on days when the temperatures could be dangerous. If it’s too hot or cold outside, and you’ll need to leave your pet while you run an errand, it’s probably better to leave him home.
READ MORE ⇒ Is It Illegal To Leave Your Pet Alone In The Car?
3. Will my pet enjoy it?
Some dogs feel relaxed and comfortable around other dogs and in crowds. They’re a perfect companion to go most places with you. But not all pets handle new settings or crowds without anxiety.
Pet travel means knowing your pet and respecting her limitations, even when you wish things were different. If going along will cause your dog discomfort, fear, anxiety, or boredom, she might be happier at home.
4. Can my pet behave appropriately?
Once you teach your dog to “go to bed” on cue, eating at pet friendly restaurants becomes much easier. While it’s not necessary for pups to lie down the entire time we’re eating, it is the best and safest behavior when a server approaches the table with delicious-smelling food. And when you get up to leave, nothing will make you happier than hearing other diners murmuring, “Oh, there’s a dog. I didn’t even know he was there!”
READ MORE ⇒ 5 Commands Every Traveling Dog Should Know
If your dog gets exceptionally aroused by food smells, perhaps he should wait for you at home. Or consider packing a picnic, where you’re the only one affected if he decides to snatch something off the table.
5. Will bringing my pet cause upset to others?
Though it is hard to believe, not everyone likes pets. Some people have allergies. Others are afraid of dogs. So try to keep the comfort of others in mind when deciding whether to bring your pet along.
That means dining at pet friendly restaurants at off hours, making it easier for servers to accommodate us and give other diners some space. Always keep your dog on a leash around others, even when she’s allowed off-leash. Sometimes you might simply need to ask if including your pet in the travel plans is alright.
This is even important when you’re only visiting family or close friends. In truth, it may be even more important–if you want to keep your relationships happy.
READ MORE ⇒ Taking Your Dog To Pet Friendly Restaurants
6. Can you change plans if things don’t go well?
Years ago, I took my dog Honey for her first kayak trip with a group of friends. We formulated a back-up plan before we left, just in case she hated it. Packing a lawn chair, something to read, and a few of Honey’s favorite toys ensured we could entertain ourselves on the beach if needed.
When you decide your pet should travel with you, it’s always helpful to have a Plan B. Then if things don’t go as you planned, you can salvage what’s left of your outing.
7. Will I be able to focus on my pet?
Our first responsibility is to our pets. If they are uncomfortable or tired, it’s our responsibility to take care of them. After all, they didn’t ask us to take them on the ghost walk or to that maritime museum.
At the beach, that means shifting the umbrella to give your pet shade. Making sure she has plenty of water. And taking a dip in the water to cool her down. But if the activity you have chosen means you’re too busy to take care of her, your pet is probably better off staying home. Or with a pet sitter back in your hotel room.
If you’re traveling like a nomad in an RV or boat, there is one more question you need to ask yourself when deciding to take your pet with you …
8. Will my pet be safe if I leave her behind?
When I was living full time on a boat with my dog Honey, I also had to ask myself whether it was safe to leave her on the boat without us. If you’re full time travelers in an RV or on an extended voyage, you’ll need to ask yourself the same thing.
Can you leave your pet behind in an air conditioned RV? What happens if the power fails? In the summer heat, you’ll want to be sure you have a way to track your dog’s comfort when you leave them. If not, when temperatures soar, leaving your pet behind is not an option.
When we needed to do grocery shopping or laundry and we couldn’t bring Honey along, we either completed our errands before it got hot, or one of us stayed behind to make sure Honey was okay. If neither of those options worked, Honey used to come along and one of us waited in the shade while the other hustled to get the things we needed.
READ MORE ⇒ Pet Temperature Monitor Roundup – Keep Pets Safe From the Heat
What To Do When Taking Your Pet Is Not An Option
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to accommodate your pet, you just can’t bring her with you.
In those situations, you may find a pet sitter to be the best option. Your pet gets to stay safe in their familiar environment. And there are pet sitters who will come to your boat, RV, or hotel room if you’re headed out to some attraction that doesn’t allow pets.
Travel with pets is a joy, and it will take you places you would never have discovered on your own. So ask the question: “Should my pet travel with me?” And then work out the answers to the questions above until the conclusion is a definite and happy YES! You’ll have a great time exploring all kinds of wonderful places together.
READ MORE ⇒ Pet Boarding Or Pet Sitter – Which Is Best For Your Pets
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