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The Best Ways to Travel With Man's Best Friend

Nowadays, it's easier to take your dog on a road trip

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Hotels have been a really good thing for us. Some hotels if they know you have a dog, they’ll have a dog bed for you.
- Jessi Hoeft, dog owner


Changing times, more acceptance of pets and technology that help connect pet owners with pet-friendly businesses are taking the stress out of traveling with man’s best friend.

Dog owner Jessi Hoeft has been traveling across the country for work and pleasure with her dogs for more than a decade.

“Nathan and I are gone a lot for work so there are times when we have to be gone for 2, 3 or 4 days straight, and its easier to take the dog than put him in a kennel,” Hoeft said. “And if our dogs didn’t travel so well, we wouldn’t travel with them. They travel easy and listen very well.”

The first time Hoeft and her husband took their now deceased black Labrador retriever on a car trip from Nashville to North Carolina, they were hesitant but took the risk.

“Of course we were nervous. We put her in the car and said, ‘Let's see how this goes.’ She was asleep by the time we got 3 miles outside of town,” Hoeft said. “We have been traveling with dogs ever since then.”

Keep Your Pets Happy

The key to traveling with animals, Hoeft said, is to make sure you put your animal’s care first and take all the things necessary to keep them happy and healthy.

That means making stops for the dog to go to the bathroom and run around a bit. Hoeft takes a ball to play catch with her 75-pound American pit bull Porter because he loves to run.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Veterinarian Tammy Craig said its important to do everything to keep your pet safe. That means examining the area before letting your dog out to run because there could be trash, sand burrs or other unseen dangers in the area.

“Have them on a leash and walk them close to the sidewalk,” Craig said. “Some people just open the door and let them out. They say, ‘oh my dog likes dogs,’ or you have the little dog that starts barking which adds fuel to the fire of attack mode.”

Craig said while you might have your dog up to date on his or her vaccinations and knows their temperament with other animals, other owners might not be so cautious or educated.

“Don’t let your dog go up and sniff someone else’s dog,” she said. “They might look enticing but they could eat your dog. You’re stuck someplace you’re not familiar with at an interstate rest stop and the next town is 30 miles away and your dog gets chomped. That could be bad.”

Where are the Best Places?

When it comes to finding the best dog parks, pet-friendly motels, and other pet-friendly establishments, Hoeft said she oftentimes turns to the internet or phone apps like Bring Fido.

“Hotels have been a really good thing for us,” Hoeft said. “Some hotels if they know you have a dog, they’ll have a dog bed for you.”

She said some hotels provide bandanas, dog bowls, treats, water, and even dog beds for their pets during a stay.

Many restaurants today also have dog-friendly areas, many on patios, and some even allow well mannered and leashed dogs inside their establishments.

How This App Works

The app and website Bring Fido gives detailed information on all of these places including hotels, restaurants, events, activities, and services.

The app boasts providing information on more than 250,000 places in over 14,000 cities worldwide.

Of course, larger metropolitan areas are majorly covered but even a search of smaller communities in more remote areas has information as well.

For example, a quick search of hotels in Sturgis, South Dakota brings up hotels and shows which have a pet fee, if big dogs are allowed and the number of pets allowed

In that search, only one place was fee-free and another only allowed small dogs while the rest were big-dog friendly

A search of restaurants showed reviews for various establishments where some allowed dogs only on the patio while others allowed well-behaved and leashed dogs inside.

Under activities, the local dog park was the first thing to show up followed by hiking trails and other outdoor activities

Under services, you can find kennels, vet clinics and pet grooming salons for your chosen area

Taking Your Pet is More Common

Hoeft said she believes in today’s world that more people are becoming comfortable with the idea of dogs being part of the family outside the home.

And she appreciates that, as she doesn’t like to leave her dog home or at the local kennel unless she has to.

“By the time you start adding up the cost of it all, sometimes its easier to grab them, just put them in the car and go.” 


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The Best Ways to Travel With Man's Best Friend

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