Guest Blog by David Blank, Happy Tails Tours

Do you feel guilty leaving your dog behind when you go on vacation? Or do you sacrifice travel for the sake of your pup? For many of us, traveling with our canine companion can be an intimidating challenge. That’s why we created Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours. Adventuring with your pet deepens your bond in ways that daily walks, occasional hikes and hanging out together at the park may not. 

At Happy Tails Tours, we take people and their dogs rafting, kayaking, hiking, wine tasting, dining out, surfing, visits to the beach and some museums, and more. Our tours include visits to State and National Parks, boat and jeep tours, and even plane and helicopter rides – all with your canine companion by your side.

When you are with a dog traveling 24/7, your relationship inevitably changes – in my experience, for the better. Our dogs’ problem behaviors are often symptoms of problems in our relationship with them, and of course it’s hard to enjoy time with your dog when you’re frustrated by their behavior, especially in public. Everyone – dogs and humans – have their quirks and challenges. But that’s the great thing about traveling with them – the travel experience brings any problem issues to the surface and allows the time and space for addressing them directly.

When you are traveling together, you naturally give your dog a lot of attention, and that attentiveness results in an awareness of their needs, as well as an understanding of their body language and how they communicate. This is what happened for my dog Max and me, and the internet is full of stories of the amazing relationships that traveling dog lovers have developed with their canine sidekicks. And isn’t unconditional love and companionship the real reason we get dogs in the first place?

Tips for the Road

1. Do a health check. Before setting out on an adventure with your canine, get them checked out by a vet. You can also stay on top of potential health issues by making a habit out of thoroughly petting your dog and getting familiar with their body. Not only does touch deepen your bond and provide relaxation for both yourself and your dog, it also provides an opportunity to assess your dog’s physical shape and discover whether there are any potential concerns or aberrations you should address.

2. Consistency and safety in all climates. While traveling, be sure to keep your pup hydrated, regulate their temperature, and keep their diet as consistent as possible. For the most part, dogs do better with consistency when it comes to food, meal times, walk times, and training. If you’re journeying to a cold climate, you might need a jacket for your dog if they are short haired. For safety in the heat, pack booties for your dog’s sensitive paws if you’ll be walking or hiking on hot surfaces. Invest in a canine life jacket if you will be spending time on the water, kayaking, or paddle boarding.

3. Practice vehicle safety. When traveling in the car, make sure to never leave your dog parked in the heat, even with windows open. Cars heat way too quickly, and a dog’ temperature regulation is different from a human’s. Consider driving with a safety restraint or crate to keep your dog safe in the event of an accident and to avoid distraction. At the very least, keep them in the back seat with a divider.

4. Explore unfamiliar territory. While there are of course limitations on dog-friendly activities, there are more and more fun options now for adventuring with your canine cohort. The key is to keep an open mind and find out what’s possible. If you think you can safely do it with your dog/s, do your research and proceed mindfully. Reach out and see what people are willing to allow. If you and your dog are super well behaved, people can be pretty receptive. Our tours include all kinds of activities, some very dog-friendly, some less so but adjusted for your canine companion who is always by your side.

So if you are ready to get out and have an amazing, safe, hassle-free adventure with your dog, there is no time like the present. You can join us on one of our amazing southwest adventure tours, where everything is taken care of for you, or head out on your own. Either way, we are here to help.

For more tips, download our free E-Book: “Everything You Need To Know To Travel With Your Dog – Roadtrip Edition.”

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About the Author

David Blank has been traveling internationally with his dogs since 2000, when his first dog Max, an Australian Cattle Dog, hopped up into the crate on the back of his motorcycle and they took off for a yearlong adventure. Over the next 13 years they traveled to 10 countries throughout North, Central and South America. He added another Cattle Dog named Dozer in 2004, then his wife Claudia in 2007, and finally completed their family with Margie, a Golden/Collie, in 2009.