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How to Plan Trips with a Big Dog

Don't Fail Like This Dog at Planning

“Andy, let's take a trip!”

This phrase comes out of my mouth at least 3 times a week.

Andy is a pro by now and takes it in stride.

Most of the time I think he is humoring me because we never get further than choosing a place to go before he distracts me with another task at hand.

Lately, though, we both have been seriously looking into a long weekend trip. The one catch is we want to take our 110lb dog.

Where should we go?

Perhaps the most exciting question any traveler can ask.

The possibilities are endless and the adventures, numerous.

Although, when traveling with a dog the problems tend be endless and the restrictions, numerous. So, what does one do in this situation?

Plan, plan, plan!

Personally, I think the word “plan” is a dirty word. I'd much rather fly by the seat of my pants if you will, but the thought of leaving our Tucker behind is all the encouragement I need to get my butt in gear and plan out a trip.

Andy and I started out by surfing the web for the United States' most dog-friendly cities. Unbeknown to us, there are many websites dedicated to traveling dog lovers.

After sorting through the websites, we found the closest “Dog Friendly” city to Des Moines was Chicago.

A trip to Chicago could easily be accomplished in a 4-day weekend. No flights needed here! Just Andy, Tucker, Myself, and the open road. Being able to drive to our destination is a must with Tucker.

I'm an over-protective mother and do not like the idea of loading him onto a plane.

Tucker Playing on a Playground

Tucker playing on a playground

So, we found a place to go. Now we need a hotel and things the 3 of us can do together!

Lucky for us, we have relatives who live in Chicago and are more than happy to accept us, and Tucker, free of charge.

For those of you who are not as lucky, I recommend looking at some of these sites which list pet-friendly hotels:

Do not be surprised if there are fees involved in bringing your pet to stay with you.

I found it to be frustrating that most hotels would not accept a dog as big as Tucker, but I know with a bit of persistence, and phone calls, I would be able to find a hotel willing to take him.

That is if my relatives were unable to have us!

Finally, what the heck can we do with a dog in Chicago? Plenty!

We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of businesses and activities that catered to dogs and their humans, most of which are recommended for the Spring, Summer, and early Fall.

Let's be honest, no one wants to wander around the ” Windy City”? in the dead of winter.

I recommend Dog Friendly to see what cities offer for you and your dog. We found out there is a company in Chicago that allows you and your dog to take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city.

There are so many opportunities to travel around the United States with your pets!

Andy and I would love to hear of other people's experiences while traveling across the U.S. with their dogs!

We would also like to know if anyone has ever successfully traveled abroad with their animals? How did you do it? What steps did you take?

Side note: we recently found out that Tucker has to have shoulder surgery due to his fast pace in growing. Sadly, we are sidelined when it comes time to take trips with him for the next few months. Keep him in your thoughts for a safe surgery and a speedy recovery!


Photo Credit: Fail dog

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Thursday 17th of December 2009

I've traveled and travel abroad with a wrinkly-faced canine companion of mine. My pug goes where I go. I've found as long as you do the research in advance (by calling the embassy, you'll hear different things from different sources so best to get it from the authority). The animals adapt quickly once they arrive and seem to enjoy life on the road as well.


Thursday 17th of December 2009

Thoughts to Tucker on this tricky time, get well soon!

I have a fairly small (but big in heart) dog. I've taken it abroad once (I live in the UK, so it's a ferry or chunnel, rather than plane). What you need is:

a) A pet passport - which means you need every conceivable shot up to dateb) Decent pet insurance

This is for the UK though, no doubt the US is different.

We had a caravan, so it was a lot easier as well, but was a good week in Belgium, especially with the family complete :)

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