How to Get the Most out of a Vacation with Your Dog
With the official start of summer only a matter of weeks away, many of us are gearing up to embark on our annual summer getaways. For some, bringing your precious pup along for the trip is a no-brainer, no matter how many people are already anticipated to be crammed into the car. For others, they might need some extra convincing as to why taking a trip with Fido will lead to an unforgettable experience.
When you are your dog’s entire world, being without you for even a matter of hours can feel like an eternity to them. Why do you think you’re greeted so enthusiastically whenever you walk through the door after work? Or why they’re your permanent shadow when you’re performing day-to-day chores around the house? Because they love you more than anything else on this planet, and if it were up to them, you two would never spend more than a second apart. Unfortunately, spending every second of every day together is just not realistic. Spending every second together on a short trip, on the other hand, is definitely possible. In order to plan a trip that will leave a lasting impression on both you and your pooch, here are five suggestions for how to get the most out of a vacation with your dog:
1. Travel with Your Dog
If it’s at all possible, opt to make traveling together by car your chosen mode of transportation, instead of a plane. Traveling by plane can be extremely scary for a dog, especially one whom has never done so before. Between all of the unfamiliar faces, loud noises and smells, combined with being separated from their best friend, your pup can very easily get overwhelmed. The best way to avoid getting the trip started off on the wrong paw, would be to road trip with your four-legged friend as your shotgun rider. Besides, spending hours on end in a car with their favorite person, is truly a dogs dream come true.
Car rides for a dog, and their human, can be a relaxing and exciting experience, that only brings you and your little guy or girl even closer. For one, dogs make the best listeners. If you need to vent, or even just want to point out some of the cool sights you’re passing along the way, you can bet those adorable ears will be perked up the entire time. Even when you’re sitting in silence, the trip can feel quite peaceful, as you watch your pup take in the sights and smells that are passing by. I can definitely say, that the first road trip I ever took with Zoey, was one I will never ever forget. From stopping to eat together, staying in a dog-friendly hotel together, and seeing her excitement when we reached our little cabin in the woods, it was priceless from start to finish.
2. Capture Your Journey in Pictures
For some people, myself included, you might already have an annual spot that you venture to every year with your dog. No matter where the destination is, or if this is the first trip you’re taking together, consider taking a picture every year in the same exact spot, and maybe even doing the exact same pose! What you’ll be left with is an incredible timeline of photos that capture how you’ve both evolved together over the years. If you want to take these pictures a step further, you can even consider incorporating the date into each photo! Whether you hold up a piece of paper with the date, or Photoshop it in later, knowing exactly when the picture was taken can instantly bring you back to the memories that time holds, with just one look.
3. Visit the Local Dog-Friendly Attractions
Sure, you have your go-to dog park at home, but it can be a totally different experience when you visit the local park or dog-friendly destination while you’re on your vacation! Whether it’s a beach that allows pets, or a pet-friendly café, it can be a great opportunity to visit with other out-of-town dog owners, or even locals! Both you and your pup will make some “vacation friends” and could have fun blending in with the rest of the town for a little while! Having a pet by your side is always a great excuse to chat with others, which provides a perfect opportunity to see how others are making the most of their vacation. At the very least, you’ll get some great suggestions for what you and your pup should do or explore next on your vacation!
4. Go Exploring Together
No matter where you choose to go with your dog, there is bound to be some exploring to do, especially if it is a location you have never been to before! Think about it, your travel companion has a nose that senses smells at least ten times better than your own! Why wouldn’t you let them lead the way on your adventure? When you’re following a nose that picks up any and every scent, who knows where you could be led to! Freely wandering with your favorite furball can establish a huge sense of trust for both you and your dog. Wherever you decide the exploring should end, you’ll instantly realize how special this place will now be to you both; it’s now your special spot. Whether you discover a dog-friendly beach, or go on a hike and find a serene scene with an incredible view, you’ll instantly know what spot you’ll want to make “yours” to come back to time and time again. To make it even more official, consider carving your names or leave your mark somewhere where you can revisit year after year, “claiming” that sacred location between you and your buddy.
5. Create Keepsakes of Your Adventure(s)
Even though the trip has to end, the memories will always continue to hold a special place in your heart. Reminiscing on a trip, especially one as memorable as the one you shared with your dog, will never get old. There are so many creative ways to commemorate a trip with your pooch, but there are two ways that I am especially fond of.
First, you can create a cement stepping stone to either keep in your garden, at your vacation spot, or even inside your home! Kits to make your own stepping stone, can be commonly found at your local craft store, and are extremely easy to make. Once you have your stepping stone mix poured out, and your pups paw print indented in it, it’s time to decorate! To make sure this stone serves specifically as a symbol of your vacation, you can decorate it using items found on your trip! From sea shells, to rocks, to leaves, or even pine needles, there are countless ways to keep a part of your trip perfectly preserved in your new stepping stone.
Another idea, is to create an entire collage of canvas art, consisting of photographs from your trip together! There are a number of tutorials for how to create the canvas art yourself, or there are even places you can purchase canvas art using your own images. If you do decide to transform numerous photographs into canvas art, you can create an entire collage that perfectly chronicles your adventure. Every time you walk past that wall, you’ll instantly be taken back to that place and time.
So whether you choose to rent a cottage an hour down the road, or take on a cross-country adventure together, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are embarking on a journey that gives both you, and your best friend, a memory that each of you will hold onto forever.
Dog Riding in the Car: Flickr