Traveling with dogs. AKA: Travel with Spaniels
“I came to realize that I traveled best when I traveled no faster than a dog could trot.” -Gardner McKay, Journey Without a map (2009)
There is so much planning and packing that goes with bringing your dogs with you on a trip. Those of you who are parents are probably rolling your eyes and laughing at our novice notions. That is OK. Our dogs are the closest family, to human offspring, that we have, so bear with us as we travel with spaniels. Let me introduce our fur babies to you. Maui is a 4 year old boykin spaniel and Dexter is a 6 month old English springer spaniel (tri-colored).
There are many variables to consider BEFORE your trip takes place. Such as, pet friendly lodging, to bring thy crates or not, packing dog food, bringing pet medicine as needed, and planning activities that include the fur babies. When you travel with spaniels or any pup, chances are you want to include them. So, do your research BEFORE the trip!
Up until this point, our trips have been to the mountains, the beach, and to visit family. We always take the boys with us to hike. They love it! While most cities, in the USA, don’t allow dogs to enter restaurants (unless they are service dogs), there is plenty of outdoor seating for us to dine as a family. We usually bring the crates along for bedtime and also for mom and dad to check out the local breweries by nightfall. Our trips have taken us to Chattanooga and Asheville, most recently, and both cities were pleasantly dog friendly. During the past 2 out of 3 adventures, we have used pet friendly Airbnb rentals.
When going on an outing, keep your dogs leashed unless signage specifies otherwise. Once on the trails (or off the beaten path), we unleash the pups and let them roam free. We carry the leashes in case the paths become too crowded. Be sure to keep your dog in sight. Our dogs run ahead of us but know to look for us behind them. Maui is particularly great about leading the way and pausing to check on us every few feet. When you pack snacks and water for yourself, add some for the dogs. We always hike with a water bottle and bag of crunchies or fresh produce for the pups, otherwise, they snack on our sandwiches. Like I said, they are our kids.
I shouldn’t have to say this but I will anyway. If your dog doesn’t play well with others (be it humans or animals), consider leaving them at the hotel or at home. Socializing your pets begin with puppy hood. Yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks but some dogs have a scrooge-like personality regardless of training. Also note, if it is too hot or too cold for you, Fido may be struggling too. Watch for excess panting (dogs can’t sweat), shivering/shaking, red gums/tongue, limping, or blistered paw pads-all are signs your dog needs rest and extra attention. (Of course, I’m no vet so consult one if troubles arises).
Lastly, bring all vet records with you on your travels. I keep recent shot records and rabies tags in the Jeep console should a mishap take place. It’s better to have it and not need it… Above all else, have fun making memories with your best furry friends. We know Maui and Dexter won’t live forever, but we can make their years full of joy, treats, new smells, and LOVE.
This post is set in the USA and focuses on outdoor vacations. Look for future posts, once we hit the rode around Europe, Russia, and the UK. We will let you in on the trials and tribulations of motor home life and our travel with spaniels.
Be well and travel often!
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