Is Your Vacation Destination Dog-Friendly?

Is Your Vacation Destination Dog-Friendly?

As Charles Schultz said, “In life, it’s not where you go, but who you travel with,” and who better to travel with than your fur-ever friend? 

Dog riding in a car

While our four-legged friends make the ulti-mutt travel partner, there are many places that aren’t suited to safely accommodate your pal during your endeavors. So, before you book your next stay for that getaway you’re planning, here are a few key things to look for to ensure your stay is not only safe and comfortable for you, but your dog, as well.

Indoor Safety

Whether you’re planning to spend most of the day out strolling the streets, hiking on trails, or just lounging around your rental, you don’t want to be constantly worrying about what mischief your dog could get into.

Ask these questions before booking your destination:

  • Are there any house plants – if so, are they on ground level or in places where a dog could reach?
  • If the pictures of the property don’t reveal the full space, ask if there are any breakable decor pieces at dog level.
  • If you notice lots of throw pillows, plush decorative items, or other objects that could be chewed, check to see if there is a linen closet where you could store those items while there.
  • Ask ahead of time if there are any collapsible dog crates in the house, or if you will need to bring your own
  • Whether a hotel, Airbnb, or some other type of property rental, many property owners like to leave a special welcome treat or snack basket for their guests, sometimes that includes chocolates or other types of candy, left on pillows or coffee tables. Before your scheduled arrival, reach out to the property owner or manager to request any snacks or treats be left on a kitchen counter, out of reach of your dog, and where you’ll know exactly how to find them.

Outdoor Safety

Even if your dog will only be outdoors to get their business done, it is crucial to make certain the outside space is dog-proofed before your arrival. Being in an unfamiliar place can make for a ruff time for your dog(s). Securing the fences and removing harmful objects is essential to providing a safe, dog-friendly, environment. To be certain the property’s outside space is just as dog friendly as the inside, ask these questions:

  • Has the yard been treated for ticks and/or fleas?
  • What is the height of the fence? What material is the fence constructed from? Does it encompass the entire property or just a portion? Are there any holes or gaps where a puppy or dog could dig, chew, or squeeze through?
    A dog looking over the top of a fence
  • Are there any products available for disposing of dog mess?
  • Is there a dog house or a shaded kennel? 
  • Are there any water features – pools, hot tubs, or ponds? If so, are they covered or separately fenced in?

Property Owner Do’s and Don’ts 

If you choose to list your rental as a dog-friendly location, it’s important to ensure every aspect is truly appropriate for a dog. If you’ve recently listed your rental as dog friendly or would like to make your property dog friendly for future guests, here are some necessary steps to take:

  • Remove any breakable or chewable decorative items. 
  • Consider your choices of furniture pieces, rugs, and bedding. The reality is, whether you like it or not, your furry guests will be making themselves at home, too. Choose pieces of furniture and bedding that can be easily washed. 
  • Provide a collapsible crate inside.
  • Provide cleaning products such as a pooper scooper and bags for pet waste, informing the guest(s) where those are located, as well as where they can dispose of the waste outside. After all, who wants to smell a fresh bag of dog poop while cooking dinner?
  • Consider the landscape. Are there any noxious plant materials on the grounds that could potentially be poisonous? A rule of thumb – If it has white sap, you can't have it. And absolutely NO oleanders!
  • Leave a special towel intended just for the dog in case of rain. Those muddy paws will need a quick wiping down before entering back inside.
  • Consider leaving bottled water for the dog. Many dogs are sensitive to changes in water, resulting in diarrhea. Leave a few bottles on hand, with a little note requesting that the owner uses it. The owner will paws-itively thank you later!
  • Place all cleaning products up high, tightly closed, and behind doors, ensuring the dog can’t reach them. If you’re unsure whether the placement is high enough or not, just think like a dog! Otherwise, you’ll have one sick puppy!
  • Provide clear expectations and guidelines up front, such as any additional fees if a dog destroys anything or has an accident on any bedding or other materials inside the home. 
    • Other questions to consider – is there a weight restriction and/or breed restriction; how many dogs will be allowed to stay? Will dogs be allowed to stay unaccompanied on the property or do owners need to be present at all times? 

Ways to Provide a Paw-tastic Time
A dog in a hotel room

Who said dogs don’t enjoy vacations, too? It’s the details that make a person’s experience in your property truly worth remembering. Great customer service can go a long way. The same mentality can be applied to your doggie guest as well. 

Step up your game for your four-legged, furry guests with these tips!

  • Leave a treat – You can’t go wrong with a tasty milk bone or two! Just remember to leave them up high and make sure the owner is aware. Sometimes furry friends get a little too excited and accidentally tear into their treat before the plastic wrapper is removed. 
  • You certainly don’t have to provide bowls for your guest’s dog, but it is nice for dog owners to not have to lug around dog bowls when traveling. Impress your guest by leaving a food and water bowl for their dogs – Bone Appetit! 
  • Think how special dog owners would feel upon arriving to find a small basket with a couple of fun toys for their dogs. Maybe a ball or chew toy that they can toss around to get out some extra energy or just help keep their dog occupied during their downtime. Consider a “take a toy, leave a toy” policy to always have some on hand. 

The Ulti-Mutt Adventure

While we highly recommend traveling with your best friend, there is a lot of planning that needs to be completed before venturing off. If you want to love your dog well, give them the safe space they not only need, but deserve. When in doubt, just think like a dog!

And if your adventure ever leads you to stroll down the streets of Fredericksburg with your four-legged companion, be sure to stop by and say hi! We love connecting with our fellow dog lovers.