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Tips for Traveling with Pets

Tips for Traveling with Pets - feature photo

Tips for Traveling with Two- and Four-Legged Companions

Between the daily 9-to-5, rushing two kids to and from football and ballet practices, homework,  and an ever-growing pile of laundry, the weekly Monday-through-Friday chaos can become a little too much to take for my family and me. That’s why every once in awhile a little weekend holiday is not only needed, it’s necessary for our sanity.

While my husband and I would love to jet off for some rest and relaxation on a sunny beach – especially when the days get cold and dreary – this is not realistic for a family of five on a budget. Instead, we stick to more frugal options, such as trips to the country or camping, which are within driving distance of our home. Our favourite places include Beeson Holiday Cottages In Devon and Collacott Cottages In North Devon. Driving to these destinations allows us to save money, but more importantly means our entire family can get in on the adventure, including our two golden retrievers.

My husband and I are true animal lovers. So much so that our first dog was the ring bearer in our wedding. Our dogs are such an important a part of our family that we often bring them on our adventures. Boarding just isn’t an option. Yet traveling – even a short distance – with two rambunctious kids and two equally energetic dogs has its challenges, though. Learning to minimize the stress and maximize the enjoyment for everyone has taken years of trial and error, but during this time I’ve definitely learned how to travel with a full car of two and four-legged travelers.

The following are my tips for traveling with two kids and a pair of pups.

Even dogs need ID. If your dog doesn’t have a microchip, make sure he/she has a tag that states his/her name and your phone number on their collar before you depart. Nobody wants to think about losing a pet, but if this unfortunate circumstance arises, the chances of recovering your furry friend improve dramatically if the dog has a tag or microchip.

Take regular pit stops. Every couple hours, take a break to let everyone stretch their legs – even if none of your two-legged travel companions need a bathroom break, the four-legged ones might. Getting out of the car also allows you to get some fresh air, which helps keep you alert when driving and lets the kids and dogs to get rid of some pent-up energy.

Choose pet-friendly accommodations. Before you leave, check with the hotel, campsite, or other lodging facility where you’ll be staying to find out if pets are allowed. There are several websites that offer listings of pet-friendly establishments, or ask your fellow pet-lovers for a recommendation on where to stay. When you arrive at your accommodations, make sure your pups are on their best behavior so that they are welcome back for future stays.

Make a to-do list. This is probably the last thing you want to do on a weekend holiday, but pre-selecting a few things to do once you arrive at your destination will take some of the guess-work and stress out of entertaining the kids and pets, and ensures that everyone has a good time.

Bring snacks, food, and entertainment. Kids and dogs can get restless even during the shortest trips, so make sure to bring something to keep them occupied while you’re en route. For kids, this means bringing a good book, DVD, or game to keep them busy and for dogs, a chew toy or bone that doesn’t make too much mess or noise is sufficient. Snacks are also important if you plan on being in the car for an extended amount of time. Fruit, crackers, carrot sticks, and juice boxes are all healthy and cheap alternatives to grabbing food at a roadside restaurant or petrol station. You should also remember to pack your dog’s food and water dishes and his/her food so that you don’t have to go searching for it once you arrive at your destination.

– Michelle Payne

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