Tips for Traveling with a Small Dog
We love traveling with our small dog, Marcy!
I recently wrote a blog post sharing our tips for flying with a small dog. This post will go beyond just tips for just flying, but will include tips for actually traveling with a small dog. We’ve taken Marcy on so many trips and she is such a fun addition to have with us. It can be a bit harder to bring her along, but it’s so worth the extra time and research.
Do your Research
For a smooth and stress free trip, it’s important to do your research when traveling with a small dog. This goes for places to stay, as well activities you want to do that are dog friendly. Think parks, hiking, walks around town, shopping (a lot of stores allow well behaved small dogs), beaches, and more. There are so many dog friendly cities around the country, so that is helpful!
When we stay in a hotel, we often ask for a room on the ground floor. It just makes bathroom breaks so much easier. We’ve also stayed in airbnb’s before with Marcy, which can be really convenient. It’s nice to cook a few meals from the airbnb and not worry about finding a place that we can all be comfortable at.
For restaurants, search for casual places with patios. For this reason, warmer months are better to travel with dogs. We are lucky that Marcy loves her travel bag, because she is really quiet and well behaved at restaurants.
Get them a Travel Bag
All dogs must be in a travel bag that can fit under the seat in front of you while flying, but if you are driving to your destination this isn’t necessary. Although, I do recommend getting your small dog used to being in a travel bag. We did this when Marcy was a baby, and she’s 8.5 years old now. She LOVES her bag (we call it her “home”)! Her bag is over 8 years old now, but here is a great option that is similar. This one is super chic and makes me wish we would’ve thought ahead a bit and purchased one that looks a little better!
It’s nice to have this because when your dog’s little legs get tired, there is an easy place for them to go that is comfortable. Plus, it doesn’t stop you from enjoying your activity!
Have a Back up Plan & Be Flexible
Basically, get ready to be turned away. Even if you do your research in advance, somethings might of changed before you get to the restaurant or park. People change their mind and rules change, so it’s better to have a back up plan, just in case. We never leave Marcy in a hotel room, and I don’t recommend you do that either, so remember that they will be with you the entire time. Keep your cool and remember you are on vacation!
Be Realistic about Timing and Activities
Obviously, don’t take your small dog to a big city that you have no intentions of doing anything outdoors. Vacations in outdoorsy places, doing things that you and your dog are already comfortable doing together is your best option. Some things can’t be done with dogs, or at least shouldn’t be done with dogs like museums and fine dining. Plan for more walking, hiking and outdoorsy activities.
Also, dogs are like kids (at least I’m assuming so, we don’t have any kids!), if they aren’t feeling it, it’s probably best to move on to the next activity. Don’t totally count it out though, try it again another day.
Expect Extra Fees
Yep, it happens. Some dogs make a mess, and that’s okay. For this reason a lot of places will charge a little extra if you have a dog. Think, car rentals, hotels, airbnb’s, and beyond. Most places you’ll know beforehand, but I’m always prepared for more, just in case.
Just bring the necessary items – food, treats, very little toys (nothing squeaky) , a collapsible bowl, leash, harness, poop bags and any medical items. Don’t over pack, unless you are going somewhere remote. You can always buy more items! We never bring a dog bed, make your pup a make shift bed with an extra pillow or blanket.
Bring all Medical Records
Always bring your dog’s medical records, or at least have a digital copy. We’ve never been asked to show anything, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least have a few items saved on your phone just in case of an accident (shot records, especially). Our vet has an app where we have all of that stored on (Vitusvet), so perhaps ask your vet about a similar set up. If you are crossing the border over to Canada, you will need this information to get through.
Do you have any additional tips for traveling with a small dog? I’d love to hear! We travel with Marcy often and would love to know what has worked for you. Thanks for stopping by!