Going On Vacation When You Have Multiple Dogs
Going on vacation is one of life’s great pleasures, but for pet owners with multiple dogs, leaving them behind can be stressful.
After all, our fur children are family and their well-being is important. We want to make sure they are taken care of.
But how do you go on vacation when you have multiple dogs? Do you leave them behind? Should you take them with you?
The good news is that there are plenty of options available to make sure your dogs are happy and safe while you are gone. And also ways to include your dogs on your vacation.
From finding pet-friendly accommodations to hiring a pet sitter or finding a boarding facility, there are several ways to ensure that your dogs are taken care of. With or without you.
In this post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to go on vacation with multiple dogs, so you can relax and enjoy your time away without worrying about your pets.
Finding Pet Care Options
Ideally, we would all love to bring our pets with us on vacation, right? But realistically, that’s not always a viable option. Ya’ll, I’ve got four dogs. Mila can’t even ride in the truck to the end of the road before throwing up. We can barely get Grandma Dog in the car at all. Those two just aren’t good vacationing buddies.
Cocoa and Lily do fine on vacations with us. They’ve come on vacations before. But we hate to separate them all.
If you’re unable to bring your dogs with you on vacation, you’ll need suitable pet care options. Several options are available depending on your preferences and your dogs’ needs.
One option is to hire a pet sitter or a dog walker to come to your house to care for your dogs while you are away. This can be a great option if you have dogs that would do well staying home, alone, in their own environment rather than going through the stress of boarding.
As always, make sure to check references and trust your sitter to take care of your dogs properly. You can find trusted sitters on Rover and read over reviews and rates. Explain all details about your dogs’ current routines and make sure your pet sitter knows where to find emergency information.
Another option is to board your dogs. This can be done at a facility specific to pet boarding, like a dog daycare, or somewhere like your vet.
When deciding on a place to board your dogs, you’ll want to take into consideration how your dogs will be kept. If their basic needs will be met, if the staff is capable of handling any medical issues or medication administrations that may be needed, and most importantly, you’ll want to be sure that your dogs can get along with other animals.
Family and Friends
You may also consider leaving your dogs with a close friend or a family member that the dogs know and trust. This is a great option for dogs with anxiety or dogs who would feel uncomfortable with a stranger handling them. When Addie was alive, this is the option I would have chosen for her. A loud kennel would have been too much for her to handle. She would have been much more comfortable staying with family.
If you are interested in bringing your dogs with you on vacation, you’ll want to start planning early.
One of the first things you’ll want to do when planning a vacation with multiple dogs is to find pet-friendly accommodations. This could include hotels, vacation rentals, or even RV rentals and camping sites that allow pets.
You’ll also want to consider the location and amenities of the accommodations to ensure they’ll be comfortable for both you and your dogs.
Some pet-friendly places also offer additional services like dog walking, dog-sitting, and even dog daycare, which is a great option if you want to do things that your dogs can’t do with you.
Be sure to check for regulations and restrictions for where you plan to stay since some places have a weight limit on pets, breed restrictions and a limit on how many you can have with you. Read all the fine print and be sure to ask any questions you may have to ensure that the accommodations will be suitable for you and your dogs.
Traveling With Your Dogs
If you are planning on taking your dogs with you on vacation, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to make sure that your dogs are comfortable with traveling in a vehicle.
As I mentioned before, Mila is not a road-tripping dog. Poor girl, she’ll vomit half a mile down the road. When Leslie has to take her to the vet, she’s got to give her meds to calm her down and keep her belly calm. And 9/10 times, she’s vomiting anyway.
Taking Mila on a week-long RV trip just isn’t feasible.
Grandma Dog, her body is so old and so painful that getting her upstairs would never happen. If she needs to go to the vet, she’s got pain medicine and a sedative just so we can get her in the car.
Those two can’t do family vacations, whether we want them with us or not.
Aren’t sure if your dog is suitable for a long car ride? Start with short trips around town and test it out. Gradually increase the distance and see how your dog does. Maybe you’ll be lucky.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the necessary supplies for your dogs, including food, water, bowls, toys, and medications that they might need.
What to do Before You Travel
Before your trip, you’ll also want to get your dogs up-to-date on vaccinations and get whatever health certificates might be needed when crossing state lines or traveling internationally.
Health certificates aren’t too expensive. I paid around $30 for one of my foster dogs to travel from Louisiana to New England about two years ago. The process was quick. I was in and out and the vet issued me the certificate right away.
Planning ahead when traveling with multiple dogs will make your life so much easier. Look at the route you will be taking and make a note of where you can take potty breaks and let them stretch their legs. You can map out pet-friendly restaurants along the way, as well.
I love to use Bring Fido for this part. Bring Fido makes searching for pet-friendly places, where ever you are, a breeze.
If you are planning to fly with your dogs, be sure to read and fully understand the rules and guidelines implemented by the airline you will be using to ensure you are doing everything correctly. Understanding 100% will save you a lot of headache at the gate.
Preparing Your Dogs for Vacation
Once you’ve decided on a pet care option or to take your dogs with you on vacation, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prepare them for their vacation.
Things to keep in mind:
- Prep Early: You don’t want to wait until last minute to start planning the place your dogs will stay while you’re gone or finding pet-friendly accommodations for all of you. Pet-friendly accommodations tend to book up quickly, so as soon as you make your decision, start reserving. Get your health certificates and vaccinations out of the way. This way, when you’re running around last minute doing things you should have done three months ago, your dogs needs won’t be an issue.
- Pack up your dogs accordingly: Make sure they have all of their essentials, whether staying at a boarding facility, with a pet-sitter or traveling with you on vacation, you’ll want to have everything packed and ready. This includes food, water, and medications to name a few.
- Communicate with your care provider: Be sure that your pet care provider has a thorough understanding of your dogs’ needs and routines. Leave a schedule with them to be sure that they will remember everything. My dogs all have a very specific place to eat their dinner and they all use very specific bowls. I’ve got their names written on their bowls and a map drawn up of where they all eat so the pet sitter doesn’t have trouble during feeding time. I also write up how much they all get, how often, and what additives are put in their food. Like supplements for pain and anxiety or if their food needs to soak because they don’t have teeth… I’m talking to you, Grandma Dog.
- Emergency contact information: Always make sure your pet sitter knows what to do in an emergency! This is so important. Make sure to provide regular vet information as well as emergency vet information. How many times have you had to rush little Fluffy to the vet at 10 pm because she was stumbling around, not able to focus on anything, and falling over? Just for the vet to tell you that she likely got into some not-so-dog-friendly-“snacks”? …..when you don’t even have said snacks in your home? ….and she likely stole it from someone in the neighborhood during one of her adventures…. not that this has happened to me.
Remember how stressful that was? Imagine how stressful it would be on your pet sitter.
- Travel emergency information: If you are traveling with your dogs, be sure to map out emergency vets along the way and near where you will be staying. That way, if something goes south you won’t be scrambling to find help. You’ll know exactly what to do.
Tips for Traveling With Multiple Dogs
Traveling with one dog is hard, but traveling with multiple dogs can be quite the…experience.
- Plan potty breaks. And then extra potty breaks: Your dogs will need potty breaks along the way. As I mentioned above, planning out rest stops for breaks will make this a much more enjoyable trip for you. Sometimes you might think that your dogs can handle long drives and then they decide to have diarrhea for six hours. I don’t know about you, but a dog pooping in the car isn’t a pleasant experience. It’s also a smell that stays with you for the rest of your life.
- Secure your dogs safely: You will want to be sure to have your dog secured in the car whether that is a crate, which I highly recommend, or having your dogs secured with a “dog seat belt” which is essentially just a lead that attaches to a harness. Do yourself a favor and purchase a crash-tested harness. Guys, accidents happen. In the event of a wreck, your unrestrained dogs become projectiles. Protect your dogs and yourself and properly harness them in the car, just as you would a child.
- Collars and harnesses: Make sure to have an appropriately sized collar AND harness for your dogs when you are traveling. Personally, I love the martingale collar. This collar is a limited slip collar. It helps to keep your dog secured if they pull and try to run away but also doesn’t choke them. At rest areas and parks, it’s easy for your dogs to get spooked and want to run off. Even the most well-behaved good boy can run off. Bring a harness as well. In the car, you’ll want to use a harness to secure your dogs to the seat. This is just an extra layer of protection and a way to make sure they can’t get away from you.
- Bring familiar items: Bringing things like a blanket from home or your dogs’ favorite toys will help them to feel more relaxed and comfortable while away from home.. Bringing a puzzle game can help to distract them while traveling and keep them from getting bored.
- Stick to your routine: Even while you are away, make sure to stick to your dogs routine. This helps to ease the anxiety they will feel from being away from their familiar environment.
- Prepare for emergencies: Bring your pet first aid kit and a list of emergency vets along your route. Anything can happen. Being prepared ahead of time can save you a lot of stress and give your dog the best opportunity to recover.
Having a Successful Vacation with Multiple Dogs
Choosing a pet-friendly destination is going to be the most important part of this trip. One of the places that I’ve really enjoyed was the Pensacola Dog Beach. Ya’ll, we may never go to another beach. This summer when we plan our beach trip, we will be going to the dog beach. Regardless if our dogs are with us or not.
Everyone there was friendly. The beach stayed clean. It was such a wholesome environment and a family-friendly experience. There were dog-friendly restaurants in the area and parks that we visited. I highly recommend going.
Going to a campsite is also always a nice experience for us. We are able to put tie-outs for the dogs and enjoy our time with no issues.
Hiking is another activity you can enjoy with your dogs if they can handle the exercise.
Ensure that you have properly sized crates that can hold your dogs if you’re doing things they can’t participate in. I don’t recommend just leaving your dogs loose in a hotel room or rental and generally, there are guidelines that state pets can’t stay loose. Bringing crates can save you a lot of hassle.
You can have a Successful vacation with Multiple Dogs
Going on vacation with multiple dogs requires careful planning, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pets. By preparing ahead of time, choosing pet-friendly accommodations or finding a pet sitter or boarding facility, packing the necessary supplies, and preparing for emergencies, you can ensure a lovely time for everyone.
The most important thing to prioritize is your dogs’ safety and well-being. Making sure vaccinations are up-to-date and having emergency plans is the best way to do that.
Going on vacation with multiple dogs, whether they go with you or not, is possible with the right prep and research. Doing so can guarantee a great time for you and your fur besties!