Nothing says summer quite like a family vacation. And making the decision to travel with the entire family, Fido included, can make a family vacation just that much better. But there is a lot to consider when hitting the open road with your furry friend.

On the Road

For many families traveling with pets, 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!

Even if your pet is not usually crated, you may find that the crate is a great way to keep your pet safe and happy while driving. Not only will it 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 a rapidly moving projectile in the case of an unexpected and short stop.

One important consideration when deciding to crate your animal on a road trip is ventilation. We know you know that a hot car is no place for a dog once the temperatures rise. If you are traveling without air conditioning and just planning on rolling down the windows for the drive, you may want to reconsider the crate—or even whether to bring your pet all together.

The inside of a crate can get hot, so please never, ever leave your pet in his or her crate, in a car, while unattended.

Where to Stay

Another important consideration when traveling with your pet is where to stay. Most dogs are a natural when it comes to camping, but it can be a little more challenging to find a pet-friendly hotel, 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 know of back-up accommodations along the way that are open to your entire family, Fido included.

Again, having a crate when it comes to staying in a hotel can be a plus. 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. Don’t invite your pet along on an outing he or she won’t enjoy.

Planning for your pet’s happiness 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. Instead of the routine gas-and-go, try stopping at a dog park for a quick breather instead, or find a trail in a state park or rest area that looks promising.

Likewise, instead of grabbing a bite on the go, 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). These are the oft forgotten little joys of traveling with your pet that make the time together a memory you won’t soon forget.

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.

Please feel free to give us a call should you have any questions, or to make an appointment to bring your pet current on his or her preventatives.

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