Spring is here which means warmer weather and Labor Day to look forward to!
A lot of people are planning vacations right now and the pet lovers among them are thinking, “Can I take my best furry friend with me?”
To answer this question, I sat down with Brittney Turner, a local photographer and bulldog lover who took her bulldog Walter on numerous trips to Savannah, GA before he passed away in January this year.
(Coincidentally, the University of Georgia mascot is a white bulldog and Georgia fans love their bulldogs. This made Savannah the perfect place for Walter and Albert to receive VIP treatment. Brittney said, “People would always come up to us wanting to take pictures of or with Walter and Albert.” She estimates that over 1,000 people have taken pictures of Walter and Albert.)
Like any pet owner, Brittney was nervous about taking Walter on his first long road trip ( a 12-14 hour drive). Add to that the fact that Walter was in his retirement years (ten, which is old for a bulldog) and you have a recipe for a very nervous dog mama.
After making multiple phone calls to the hotel and reading everything she could get her hands on about traveling with pets, she set out on her first trip to Savannah with Walter.
When taking your dog on a car trip, you may be wondering:
How Often Should I Stop?
Brittney says “I read all the pet articles about traveling with your dog and they said to stop every two hours and let your dog out. So on the first trip, I did and after about two or three stops, he had had enough of that. He would get out of the car, do his business right there and want to get right back in. He was like ‘I don’t care that you have food. I don’t care that you have water. I’m ready to GO!'”
So finally what I started doing was I would make really quick stops for myself and about halfway through the drive, we would stop for an hour so Walter could get out, eat, and drink. Usually we would stop at Sonic so we could eat outside.”
What Makes A Pet-Friendly Vacation Spot?
If you’re planning to spend a lot of time with your dog on vacation, look for a walkable city with lots of parks and outdoor dining. Brittney found Savannah’s historic downtown district to be very pet friendly because of all its green space and its walking- friendly layout.
Arkansas’ State Parks are very pet friendly. My parents have been taking their Chihuahua along on their RV adventures for years to Petit Jean, Mt. Magazine, Mt. Nebo, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and even the Florida beach!
I was surprised to learn that Disney World, and in fact all of Orlando, Florida is pet friendly. Disney World has five kennels where you can board your pet for $15/day and every restaurant in the city with outdoor seating is mandated to allow pets.
Brittney emphasized that if you’re planning a beach vacation, check ahead of time to make sure they allow pets on the beach because policies differ from place to place.
For the top five pet-friendly vacation spots, click here.
What Should You Look For In A Hotel?
Assuming you’re not staying with relatives or camping, you’ll need to find a pet-friendly hotel. Brittney picked The Mansion on Forsyth Park for her accommodations in Savannah. They not only allowed pets, but were very accommodating to Walter each and every time he stayed there, which was two to three weeks at a time several times per year.
When you’re checking out hotels, look for:
- Pet-friendly policies (is your pet within the weight restrictions?)
- Amenities (does your dog take medicine that has to be refrigerated?)
- Location (Is there an appropriate “potty area” right outside the hotel? If not, are you willing to hoof it a few blocks?
Of course, not all dogs are up for a road trip. If your dog has frequent accidents indoors, gets sick in the car, or if you won’t have the time to care for him on vacation, then boarding him at a reputable kennel or a friend’s house is the best idea. I recommend Furry Feet Retreat in Alexander, Ar. for boarding (phone: 501-847-5927).
Have you taken your pet on vacation? If so, how did it go?
I want to thank Brittney Turner for granting me an interview and the use of her photos. In honor of her late, great bulldog, Walter, Brittney has a special photography service for pets called “Special Attention Sessions”. These packages are offered at a discounted rate for elderly and terminally ill pets and can be done in your home. For more information, click here.