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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Traveling with Animals

So as Josh and I made the move to Atlanta, we drove 22 hours (four days, three nights) with our two dogs (one medium, one large). Once we got here, we had to stay in a hotel another night before we could close on our house. So I wanted to give a little advice on traveling with pets for anyone getting ready to take a big road trip!
  • Be prepared. Be ready to travel with many things, including:
    • Their shot records
    • Food and food dishes
    • Water and water dishes
    • Leashes
    • Toys/bones
    • Blankets/beds (if you prefer)
  • Bring an extra blanket. We brought one that they shared in their beds, so it smelled like them and was very comforting. We used it to protect our car seats and also kept it in the hotel room for them to sleep on.
  • Stop more often than you think. We stopped every two hours and that seemed to be perfect. Then again, our dogs are really big and used to a lot of time and room to run around. This might just be their preference, but it worked really well to let us stretch out, too.
  • Double-check hotel restrictions. Some hotels allow big dogs up to 75 lbs (Shadow is closer to 80), or only allow one dog. Some let you leave your dogs alone in the room without being crated, some require you to be with them at all times. Some have extra grassy areas, some don't.
  • Know your dog. Our dogs are really used to being off leash and coming when called, so we felt comfortable to (likely illegally) let them off leash in big, fenced grassy areas early in the morning or late at night without people around. They're really good listeners, so that helped.
  • Avoid things that might give them an upset stomach. It's tempting to give them some of your burger, but it might make for an unfortunate accident!
  • Be scared to travel with them! Dogs are the best, and traveling with them is surprisingly fun and easy.
  • Be afraid to leave them alone in (some) hotel rooms for a little while. I think it's good practice to start with short amounts of time and build. Just make sure you can hear them, and be ready to come back if they get loud. Nobody wants to hear your dog crying for three hours while you eat dinner.
  • Forget their food! Now is not the time to try a new dog food or expect them to acclimate.
Our dogs were super fun, but we also learned a lot of fears that we hadn't ever encountered (such as bridges, trains, busses, horses, etc.). Enjoy your trip and enjoy these few photos of our pups on the road!