Traveling With Your Dog: 14 Tips For A Fun Trip

January 21, 2017 0 Comments vineyards and wineries

Want to hit the open road with your pup by your side? Nothing can be more fun than going on an adventure with your loyal companion (using Corkhounds.com as your guide to local dog-friendly vineyards and wineries, of course)! I have taken my miniature dachshund, Bentley with me around Europe (through parts of France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, and Switzerland) and the eastern United States. Given that I've had Bentley for 13+ years, I consider myself to be a veteran traveler. My passion was contagious apparently, as Peggy, my Cork Hounds co-founder has also embraced this lifestyle with her Dachshund, Greta. And with that, we have had a bunch of shared adventures, going on trips to vineyards more recently.

There are quite a few things to consider when traveling for one or more nights with your dog. Peggy and I have captured our lessons learned, which we offer here for your benefit. We hope these prove useful.

Checklist

#1 The best way to prepare for your trip is by creating a checklist to ensure you don't leave anything crucial behind. Here is a list of items that we pack, some of which may be pertinent to assembling a custom checklist for you and your pup/s:

PrescriptionsDoggy Toys / Chews / TreatsPlenty of Dog Food
Can of Pure PumpkinFlee / Tick Medicine and RepellentDog Bed
Bottled WaterLeash / Harness / CollarFood / Water Bowls
Spare TowelsPoop BagsFlashlight and Extra Batteries
UmbrellaLint RollerTweezers / Tick Remover
Pet Insurance InfoVaccination Paperwork


Lodging

Whether you stay at a pet-friendly Hotel, Inn, Bed & Breakfast, or rental property, there are certain things you may want to investigate and discuss with the property owners before staying overnight with your pup.

#2 Depending on the time of year/location, you may need to walk your dog after dark in an unfamiliar place. Consider the safety of you and your pet in these circumstances. If you enjoy staying in the country, as Peggy and I do, be sure to ask about (1) walking paths/areas, (2) outdoor lighting in those areas, and (3) any restrictions regarding dogs. Peggy and I have found ourselves in areas where we had to walk our dogs on a street without sidewalks. This was frustrating and dangerous, especially at night. If the lighting is poor / non-existent, it's good to have a powerful (300 lumens or better) flashlight. Lastly, some properties may have restricted areas, have policies against certain dog breeds or require you to pick up after your dog. This is when poop bags come in handy.

#3 If you're staying at a property with other people / dogs in close proximity to your room, and your dog tends to bark at such noises, it's good to have some white noise. Fans are great for this task. Ask the property owner if they can provide you with one, or bring a travel fan.

#4 The most difficult part about traveling with a pet is getting food for yourself. Many restaurants are not pet-friendly, and most pet-friendly hotels will not allow you to leave your pet alone, unattended in the room. Much like people, dogs will get stressed out if they are left in an unfamiliar place. Peggy and I will either find dog friendly restaurants, or we will get carryout/delivery to avoid putting us and our dogs in a stressful situation.

#5 The further away from a city you are, the worse your cell phone / internet coverage will be. This never fails to be a serious hindrance when you need it most. Peggy and I recently stayed at an Inn with satellite broadband, making the Wi-Fi almost unusable in inclement weather. Off Wi-Fi, we only had 1 bar signal strength and 1x data speed, leaving us radio isolated. Luckily nothing happened, but it left us thinking about what we would have done in an emergency. It's always good to have an area street map, and pre-printed directions to an emergency vet nearby just in case.

#6 If you have an elder dog on a sensitive diet, such as canned food, or one with medications that require refrigeration, you should ask about whether the room includes a refrigerator, or if they can store your stuff and provide you with access.

#7 If you've read our other blog posts, you have probably seen the links to HomeAway.com. We love their service, and prefer vacation rentals to other types of lodging because we like to have an entire place to ourselves. When using HomeAway, be aware that it is always a good idea to send a message to the owners of a pet-friendly rental in advance of requesting a rental. Let the homeowner know that you intend to bring your dog to ensure they approve. Some may have sizing restrictions on pets. As well, it gives you an opportunity to ask about #2 above. Lastly, you can see how responsive the owner is. This is especially important if you are trying to do something last minute, as the owner has up to 24 hours to respond. There isn't an easy way to cancel a reservation request, and if the owner accepts your request at anytime during that 24 hour period, you will be charged. Therefore, you may be kept waiting, and lose precious time to make other arrangements.

Traveling

#8 Think about where you might stop to walk your pooch on the trip to/from your destination. These opportunities give both you and your pet a chance to stretch your legs (and take care of business in the case of your dog). If driving, scope out potential locations near your route using Google Maps. We use the Satellite overlay to verify that there are sidewalks in urban areas, or accessible open spaces in rural areas. Make yourself aware of the local policies on picking up pet waste, leash laws, etc, and bring the appropriate supplies. Think of your safety when scouting for these locations. For example, don't attempt to walk your pet on the side of a busy road.

Photo of Bentley Walking by Jeremy Glesner, All Rights Reserved

#9 If traveling by airline, it's best to budget extra time to walk your pet between flights if possible. In addition, investigate the Airline's pet policies before booking. There are rules to ensure the safety of the animal during travel, such as the size of the pet carrier (or kennel), and requiring that your pet has enough space in the carrier to (1) fit under the seat, but (2) still have enough space to move around comfortably. To comply with these rules, your pet must be under a certain height/weight, but the Airlines do not specify this explicitly.

For your convenience, we've compiled some useful information from five U.S. airlines; however, please follow up on their individual rules for more detail. You can find airline-approved pet carriers on Amazon.com.

Airline Restrictions Fees Phone URL
United Airlines max 1 pet per kennel; must fit under seat with enough space to move around comfortably; total of 4 pets per flight. 1 $125 ea way2 800.864.8331 http://bit.ly/1LVK4br
Southwest Airlines max 2 pet per kennel; must fit under seat with enough space to move around comfortably; total of 6 pets per flight.1 $95 ea way2 800.435.9792 http://swa.is/2j7taLU
American Airlines max 1 pet per kennel; must fit under seat with enough space to move around comfortably; total of 5 pets per flight.1 $125 ea way2 800.433.7300 http://bit.ly/2eBijMD
Delta Airlines max 1 pet per kennel; must fit under seat with enough space to move around comfortably; max 2 pets in First Class, 2 pets in Business, 4 pets in Main Cabin.1 $125 ea way2 800.221.1212 http://bit.ly/1x3CMeD
JetBlue max 1 pet per kennel; only 1 pet per customer, and the weight of both the pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds; a limited number of pets are allowed on each flight so book early. JetBlue also runs the JetPaws program offering pet owners reward points for bringing their pet.1 $100 ea way2 800.538.2583 http://bit.ly/18RG5v4

1 Not comprehensive; please review your preferred Airline's rules for full details, kennel sizes, etc.
2 Additional charges may apply

#10 Rental cars are a great idea for traveling out to vineyards and wineries, even when you just don't want to put the miles on your own automobile. However, make yourself aware of their pet policies before renting a car. There are generally no fees, unless you bring the car back with lots of pet hair laying about. And for that reason, most rental companies require that you keep your pet in a pet carrier.

For your convenience, we've compiled some useful information from the eight largest rental car companies; however, please follow up on their individual rules for more detail.

Company Policy Phone URL
Enterprise Pets are required to be crated at all times while in the vehicle. (Service animals used by members or passengers with disabilities are allowed in the vehicle without a carrier.) Please return the vehicle free of pet hair. Pet hair on the seats may result in a cleaning fee. 855.266.9565 http://bit.ly/2d0iQ79
Hertz Domestic pets are allowed in Hertz vehicles (excessive pet hair, soiling or damage caused by animals will result in an extra cleaning charge). 800.704.4473 http://bit.ly/2kdS8NO
Budget Housebroken pets are invited to travel in your rental car, just as they do in your personal car. Although Budget doesn't assess an extra fee for pets, pet owners will incur an additional charge for any damage caused by animals, or any special cleaning required as a result of shedding or accidents. 800.218.7992 http://bit.ly/2jBqF5E
National Pets are allowed in rental vehicles. Customers need to keep pets crated and return their rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair to avoid cleaning/detailing fees. Service animals used by customers with disabilities are allowed in the vehicle without a carrier. 877.222.9058 http://bit.ly/2k0Faja
National Dollar Does not publish their pet policy on their web site; however, other sites suggest that Dollar is pet friendly. We recommend you contact Dollar directly. 800.800.5252 www.dollar.com
Alamo Pets are allowed in rental vehicles. Customers need to keep pets crated and return their rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair to avoid cleaning/detailing fees. Service animals used by customers with disabilities are allowed in the vehicle without a carrier. 800.651.1223 http://bit.ly/2jBxlAD
Avis Avis does not have a strict pet policy, but please be sure to return your rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair, etc. to avoid cleaning fees. 800.352.7900 http://bit.ly/2jKNfuP
Zipcar Yes, but only when it's kept in a locked pet carrier. Many members are allergic to pet hair so if any happen to escape the pet carrier, please clean it up before your reservation comes to an end. 866.494.7227 http://bit.ly/1oJEbT3


General

#11 It is always a good idea to use a leash when in public/common areas. While your dog may be well behaved, you never truly know how they'll react in certain situations. And other dogs may not respond well to your dog. For this (and other) reasons, keep a respectful distance from other dog owners. Peggy and I have found it's always good to keep a shorter, six (6) foot leash handy for navigating the close quarters of a tasting room (or any busy area) to keep better control. As a matter of etiquette, always ask other dog owners if it is okay for your dogs to meet before approaching.

Photo of Peggy Walking with Bentley and Greta at The Barns at Hamilton Station. Photo by Jeremy Glesner, All Rights Reserved

#12 We created Cork Hounds to provide detailed information on the pet policies of vineyards and wineries, but they can change their policy at any time. Therefore, we suggest calling the vineyard ahead of time to confirm their degree of pet friendliness. It's simple to do, since we include each vineyards' phone number with search results. If you notice that a vineyard's pet policy is different from what we have on Cork Hounds, please let us know through our Feedback form and we will make sure to update our database!

#13 Summer is the ideal time to visit wineries but it is also the time when fleas and ticks are most prevalent. It is important to make sure your dog is using flea and tick preventatives and/or wearables. Please contact your veterinarian for recommendations on what product is best for protecting your dog. And don't forget, we humans also need to guard against ticks and other biting insects. Talk to your veterinarian about human bug repellent that will not harm your pet's health. Lastly, if you are going into a wooded area, consider whether closed toed shoes and socks are warranted.

#14 There are a couple other items worth having handy: a list of recent vaccinations/or dog tags, towels to wipe down a muddy dog, and a picnic blanket/basket! Peggy and I always pack some meats and cheeses when we travel out to a vineyard or winery (which the dogs love too).

In conclusion, a trip to the vineyard is a fun adventure for both you and your dog/s! We hope Cork Hounds and this list of tips will make your experience one full of good times and cherished memories.

Cover Photo is of the road leading away from Blair Vineyards in Pennsylvania. Photo by Jeremy Glesner, All Rights Reserved

Jeremy Glesner
Virginia Website
Jeremy is a technology executive in the Washington DC area, and the lead engineer for Cork Hounds. Posting stories related to the technological underpinnings of Cork Hounds.