Summer is taking it’s sweet time to get here this year, but there’s an upside: Now we’ve got more leeway to plan out the best warm weather road trip with our pets.
If you already bring your dog around town on errands and local activities, you may think a long weekend or week-long (or more!) journey on the road doesn’t require extensive planning. But for your pet’s sake and safety, it’s definitely best to think ahead.
Recently, I set out on the road in a Chevy Equinox with my little woofer on a weekend road trip to coastal New England. Some extra forethought and putting her needs first throughout our spring expedition made me feel confident we’ve got more fun and sunny adventures to look forward to soon. Follow these steps and suggestions to plan a memorable mobile vacation with your own dog.
1. Prep Your Pet(s)
When my dog was a puppy, she had a tendency to get car sick (hey, so did I as a kid). Although it’s been a while since she threw up in the car — we now know not to feed her until after we arrive at our destination, and never within 3 hours before take off! — I wanted to do something special to help calm her nerves before a two-plus hour road trip. So, I enlisted the help of animal reiki master Linzi Silverman. Linzi used various crystal energies, a dried chicken foot charm for protection and some basic hand configurations around Spoon’s canine chakras while saying a few positive mantras. Spoon was very curious about the crystals and chicken foot (of course), and I do feel the experience calmed her down. Linzi also visited my cat, Ruki, who was staying home solo for the weekend. Ruki sometimes gets a nervous stomach when we’re gone, so it was helpful Linzi gave her some reiki attention and TLC too. I can happily report that both animals made no messes throughout the weekend!
Don’t forget: Keep your pet’s collar with identification info (your phone number) on the tag at all times. It’s also a good idea to travel with your pet’s up-to-date vet records in case of emergencies, too.
2. Canine-Proof the Car
My fido family and I were excited to hit the road in style. The new 2018 Chevy Equinox we rented featured an interior with durable, denim-style seat fabric that was easy to clean. Spoon tends to shed a bit when she’s nervous, so this was definitely a plus as far as canine compatible cars go. While there’s a sizable cargo hold area in back for those who need to travel with their pet in crate or carrier, Spoon and I cozied up in the backseat. I kept her leash on the whole time, just in case, and certainly every time we stopped and let her out to stretch her legs. The OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot was also super convenient for navigating directions and pitstops along the way to find appropriate places for puppy pee breaks. Although we didn’t think to do it, you can even program your vet or an emergency vet number into the system just in case. Plus, the car’s diesel engine also allowed us to not have to stop for gas even once the entire weekend (about a 200-mile roundtrip)!
Don’t forget: For cars with less bells and whistles, plan on bringing a towel or blanket for your pup to rest on, as well as some extra paper towels or pet wipes in case there is an accident. Bottled water and a portable water bowl are also necessary. We traveled with a small cooler filled with fresh dog food, as well as her treats, favorite ball and a bone to chew.
3. Plan Your Stay
Since we set off on a Friday evening, we knew we’d be too tired to reach our final destination in one night (traffic out of New York City on a Friday after work is nightmarish). So, we chose a pet friendly hotel about halfway. The Hotel Delamar in Greenwich, CT, has an incredible pet program which features a Pet Services Menu offering special services such as dog walking, grooming (at a local groomer) and dog massage. Plus, the luxury rooms come with a doggie bed, a personalized welcome kit and bowls with bottles of water. The Delamar welcomes all dogs less than 100 pounds for a charge of $50.00 per night, a portion of which is donated to Adopt-a-Dog, a local non-profit. All pet-friendly rooms are located on the first floor, which works out well for walks along the hotel’s waterfront location.
Don’t forget: We decided to order room service in the evening, but it’s smart to check with the hotel restaurant about its pet policy and/or research pet-friendly restaurants in the area. It happened to be a warm night, so many places were available with sidewalk seating that welcomed pups. Another option is to call ahead and arrange for a long walk at the time you plan to eat dinner.
4. Set the Agenda
My dog’s weekend on the Connecticut shoreline was jam-packed. She lunched with family at Pa’s Place, a pet-friendly luncheonette on the Long Island Sound in Guilford, CT, with plenty of outdoor seating. Next, we visited the Deep Roots Farm at the Grove School in Madison, CT, where this pup met her first therapy goats! (The peacocks at the farm were less welcoming, unfortunately.) Finally, we took our very good and adventurous girl on a long walk at Hammonasset Beach and State Park. She particularly loved investigating the stone beach and jetty at Meigs Point. By dinnertime, Spoon was totally pooped. We left her to snoozle the rest of the evening while the humans went out for dinner at a people-only place.
5. Fido Post Facto
We originally planned to spend Sunday on a hike in Connecticut’s Chatfield Hollow, however the weather didn’t cooperate. We decided to get back on the road after brunch with the family, but stopped to visit a friend with a dog along the route back to Brooklyn. Spoon napped in the backseat (with me beside her) most of the way home. I must admit, after our long weekend road trip, we were all tired and I failed to check her body for ticks after being out in the countryside. The next day I discovered one on her belly, nothing serious luckily, and had that confirmed by a visit to the vet. But, it does serve as a reminder to always do a check for ticks and other parasites, especially during tick season: spring, summer and fall (year-round in warm climates). Read more about how to properly check for ticks on PetMD.