Dogs at the beach3. Expect to be covered in fur: Unless you're the proud owner of a poodle or similar breed that doesn't shed, you're going to have fur all over your car -- lots of it. Don't get frustrated, and of course, don't get angry with your pup. Plan ahead by wearing sensible clothing -- no wool, no cashmere, and by all means, no fleece. Take the opportunity to cover up anything special, too. Though shoving your suitcase in a garbage bag may look trashy (no pun intended), it'll keep the bellhop from whipping out the lint brush when he sees your bags.
Dogs at the beachEnlarge Photo
4. Use roof racks if possible: If you're traveling in an SUV, crossover, van, or station wagon, chances are fairly good that you've got a set of roof racks up top. Chances are also pretty good that you rarely use them. Now's the time to put 'em to work. I don't suggest putting anything irreplaceable up there -- keep prescriptions and piles of dough in the vehicle, just in case. But strapping less valuable objects to the rack will (a) keep them free of pet hair, and (b) make Rover a little more comfortable.
5. Don't talk to your pets while on the road: This is a cardinal sin, and unfortunately, I break it all the time. Unless you frequently take your dog on road trips, she's going to be a little excited when she first gets in the car. Depending on her temperament, it could take from 10 to 30 minutes for her to relax and lie down. If you start speaking to her, though -- pointing out landmarks or explaining how long it's going to be until you reach the next rest area -- you're just going to wind her up again. As someone far wiser than me once said, let sleeping dogs lie.
6. Center your vacation activities around pets: It stands to reason that if you're going to all the trouble of traveling with your pets, you ought to spend some time with them -- otherwise, why didn't you just kennel them at home? Do some research on sites like BringFido.com to find pet-friendly activities and attractions where you're staying. And when you do leave your pets alone in the room, be sure to offer them plenty of distractions like chew toys, scratching posts, treats, and such. It'll make them feel more at ease, and they'll be less apt to annoy the other hotel guests with nonstop barking until you get back from dinner.
If you've got additional pet vacation tips of your own, feel free to drop us a line, or leave them in the comments below.