Traveling with a big dog can be a huge hassle and an even bigger expense. However, if you carefully plan ahead and know the rules of the road before you hit it, then you can manage things pretty easily. Whether you’ve got a German shepherd, a cane corso, or a big black lab, the following ideas can help you save time and money on your trips.
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Know the Gear You Need Before You Go
It’s not enough to just pack food bowels and an extra leash — you will also need many other pieces of gear when you’re vacationing with your furry friend. Got a shedder? You’ll want to pick up a seat cover. Pup with a stomach that doesn’t mesh well with movement? Vinegar, water, and a steam cleaner are a must. Spend some time online looking for discounts, cash back, and special offers on all the gear that needs to go with you. Sites like Ebates can help you both save money and get paid to buy the things you need anyway and from your favorite stores. Don’t forget the basics, such as extra food, a portable kennel, and any medications your dog takes.
Confirm the Pet Policy
Not all people are dog people, and not all hotels and airlines welcome wagging tails. While you can usually travel with a small breed with few difficulties, bigger paws have different laws. United, for example, updated its PetSafe pet transport program and now restricts several larger breeds. If you have a mastiff, you’re out of luck and need to find an alternate airline. Even some medium-sized dogs are no longer allowed to fly the friendly skies. Hotels, too, often shy away from anything larger than a shoebox. Check PetsWelcome.com for big-dog-friendly accommodation options, and then call ahead to confirm your comrade won’t get bounced at the door. Failure to do this can leave you holding a bill for a boarding pass or room you can’t use.
Get to Know Your Destination
Alright! You’ve made it safely to your hotel, they had dog biscuits waiting, and now you’re ready to explore. You latch Lenny’s leash and head down the road only to find “No Dogs Allowed” signs are far as the eye can see. Sadly, you’ve planned your vacation to Newark, Baltimore, or one of the other top ten least dog-friendly cities. A few minutes of research would have helped you figure out that these are the places you’ll most likely have to board your dog just to enjoy the sites. However, that will add another $25 to $45 per night in kennel costs, according to PetCareRx. Instead of battering your travel budget, make sure your preferred vacation spot will have plenty for you to do with your dog — Scottsdale and Tampa are good choices.
Visit Your Vet Before You Jet
A vet visit might cost you a few bucks, but it’s better to know that your dog can handle travel before paying for an emergency visit halfway to the beach. Further, your vet can help you determine the right kind of restraint your dog needs depending on your destination. Only a handful of states have clear laws when it comes to dogs in cars, but it pays to be prepared. If you’re traveling across state or country lines, you might also be fined — or turned away — if your pet does not have a certificate of health.
Getting miles under your belt with a big dog along for the ride doesn’t have to cost you big bucks. If you plan well, confirm policies, and shop around for discounts, you can pack your bags without punishing your bank account.