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How To Create the Perfect Weekend Getaway with Your Dog

Published: 17 Apr 2024
Ashley Marlton
Ashley Marlton
Dr. Marlton spent her first two years in practice working as a veterinary assistant at a 24-hour emergency care animal hospital in Michigan prior to moving to Miami. Following graduation, Dr. Marlton attended Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biochemical Sciences in Fort Collins while participating in volunteer spay neuter trips.
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Our articles are meticulously composed and vetted by veterinary professionals, guaranteeing precision and pertinence by consulting credible sources, chiefly scientific journals and veterinary manuals. Prior to publication and major revisions, we thoroughly validate the factual correctness, providing well-researched content rooted in veterinary science.

Whether you’re hitting the road for a journey of five miles or taking an epic 500-mile adventure, setting up a weekend getaway is the perfect way to unwind and recharge. It gets even more awesome when you bring your furry buddy to experience the scenic views, fun happenings, and snug places to stay. Bringing your pet along? It’s key to keep your dog’s necessities in mind as you plan the ultimate pet-friendly vacation.

Spark Adventure with Dogscape Lodging  

Where you rest your head at night can shape your entire vacation experience. So, seek out dog-friendly places that’ll embrace furry guests with open paws—preferably without size or breed restrictions. Properties advertising themselves as pet-friendly often go above and beyond in catering to both humans and hounds.

Priority number one is securing lodging and permitting dogs indoors. While some hotels allow pets only in designated rooms, most pup-pampering places welcome dogs throughout the premises. Four-legged guests deserve the same comforts as humans, so seek the royal treatment for your loyal companion. Places with dog beds, bowls, treats, and even room service menus catering to canine tastes make it clear: dogs rule here!

Beyond the basics, look for exciting dog-centric amenities and area attractions. For example, an onsite dog park, pet spa or grooming services, and concierge staff ready to recommend local dog walking routes, parks, and pet boutiques provide everything needed for doggone fun. You can also explore and check out dog day care services within the area. Reputable facilities have supervised playrooms, outdoor areas for exercise, and trained staff to care for your dog if you need some independent adventure.

When reviewing your options, think about the experiences you and your pooch want to have together on this special trip. Then, pick the place facilitating those adventures.

Pack Accordingly for Parading Pups  

Once you discover delightful dogscape lodging, it’s time to prepare for some tail-wagging travels. Naturally, necessities like food, bowls, waste bags, and medication come first when packing. While your home routine likely has you covered already, consider any special needs or safety gear advised for a new environment. For example, reflective night walking vests and light-up collars help keep companions visible and secure on unfamiliar turf.

In the flurry of packing, don’t forget the doggy diversions, making any vacation truly fulfilling for your fur kid. Bring familiar and favorite toys, treats, and sleeping aids to help make foreign places more comfortable and homier. Just as you look forward to relaxing over a glass of local wine, your dog finds comfort in napping on a beloved blankie.

Documenting your ‘dogcation’ through photography and video also makes for memorable keepsakes down the road. So be sure to pack your pet’s bandana, charm collar, or any celebratory swag they prefer when posing for epic ear-to-ear smile shots.

With the proper gear and a little prep work, you’ll both be ready to make this weekend one tail-wagging adventure.

dog travelling with woman

Scout Local Dogscape Diversions  

A satisfying dogcation means finding activities suited for both species of traveler. Fortunately, local tourism boards increasingly cater to pet lovers across all industries as more folks hit the road with dogs in tow or on board. For instance, visitor bureaus in many communities have online guides pointing tourists to local dog parks, trails, dog-dip beaches, and other pet-approved attractions. With a prime pet playground just a quick search away, keeping your pal happily engaged is a no-brainer.

If time allows, you can survey targeted town tourism websites before finalizing your pet-friendly lodging reservation. Knowing the general landscape of attractions and policies can give you ample options when planning your dogcation schedule.

You’ll also get a preview of rules and restrictions to consider regarding parks, recreation sites, festivals, and seasonal events. While some communities embrace dogs’ presence just about everywhere, others impose limitations you’ll want to note before visiting.

Upon arrival, check with your hotel concierge or hospitality desk for their inside scoop on pup hotspots. The locals always know best when pointing visitors to hidden gems. Beyond run-of-the-mill Google search suggestions, long-time residents offer unique insights about neighborhood hole-in-the-wall haunts worth sniffing out. When all else fails, posting questions in regional social media groups and subreddits rarely disappoints.

Activities Fueling Endless Escapades  

Heading out the door each morning without a clear plan means missed opportunities for memory-making. Savvy pet parents use the lulls of travel time to map out each daily agenda, highlighting both must-dos and maybes. Mixing exciting exploits with built-in breaks makes for balanced pacing preferred by pooches.

No dogcation is complete without a visit to at least one new dog park, putting playtime front and center. Scout parks with varied features beforehand so your outing meets your buddy’s play preferences. Separated small and large dog zones keep things safe, while dog beaches, agility features, walking trails, and water play areas mean dogs never run out of fun things to do.

For the more adventurous duo, seek out dog-friendly hiking and walking trails perfect for taking in gorgeous natural scenery together. But make sure you have the right gear for this type of adventure. National parks and forests also accommodate pets on select paths provided they remain leashed, so verify guidelines first. Ideally, start with beginner-friendly terrain, then gauge furry companion stamina as you go. This allows ample outdoor immersion without overexertion. Build in bountiful breaks for bonus water, treat, potty, and photo op stops, too.

If a lazy beach weekend sounds more up your alley, find a designated dog-friendly shoreline beforehand. Set up camp base under a shady structure, then take leisurely dips and strolls along the water’s edge together. Repeat ample splashing, shaking, and rolling in the sand until your buddy’s bath back home is well-earned!

Don’t forget to treat your road warrior to plenty of downtime, too. Seek out pet masseuses for pampered pooches needing some TLC after long days playing hard. You can also order room service catering to your pup’s culinary tastes after big adventures. Let them snooze peacefully on plush dog beds while you unwind over a movie.

Dining Out Without Doggie FOMO

For devoted pet parents, leaving your BFF behind means experiencing everything through a lonely lens. Why tour the town’s hottest eateries and craft breweries without your long-time mealtime companion? Luckily, as more diners take their pups practically everywhere, more establishments roll out the red carpet for four-legged diners.

A little scouting before your trip helps uncover the most dog-friendly dining options. You can opt for restaurants with patios, whether open-air street-side or cozy back courtyard seating. Connecting outdoor spaces to indoor dining rooms also means better accessibility. Call ahead to clarify rules, limitations, and pet policies so there are no surprises onsite.

Ideal dog-dip dining options provide water bowls for quick laps between courses. A front-clip harness keeps a wiggly pup from pulling but still allows for cuddle time on your lap. They can gaze around at the other patrons and beg for bites from your plate. You can also ask if the restaurant has ‘puppuccinos’ or other special treats made just for doggy diners. Those little touches make your pup feel like the guest of honor.

If bad weather or a small indoor space means you can’t dine on the patio, opt for takeout instead! Many places will still whip up a meal for you to grab and go. Then head to a nice outdoor spot nearby—maybe a green space by the waterfront, a trailhead, or a park that allows leashed dogs. Spread out the feast and have yourselves a little picnic! It’s one of the simple joys of traveling with your pooch. But remember, they still must have nutrient-rich foods.

dog peeking out of dog window

In Closing

Planning a weekend getaway with your furry best friend takes some effort, but it’s so worth it. Like any travel companion, take your dog’s unique needs and interests into account first when deciding on a destination. Pack everything they’ll need to stay happy, healthy, and entertained on your adventure together. Then, vet places you can both enjoy, whether that’s a hiking trail or a dog-friendly patio. Most of all, take a deep breath and go with the flow.

Enjoy each other’s company no matter what. Making memories side-by-side is what it’s all about! If you put care into the planning, your weekend dogcation will feel like nirvana for you both.

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