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Okay, so I started out with just wondering if you can take a dog to Niagara Falls. So I looked into some stuff and ended up thinking about planning a trip up to New York on the way up and went down the rabbit hole of information. It uh... Kind of tumbled from there over a period of a couple weeks. Funny how that happens.
Anyways, here’s what I found out in addition to some personal experience with traveling with dogs. Maybe I’ll add more to it if I find more info or think of anything else.

Get all your vaccines
Unless your dog is one of the small percentage of pets that have adverse reactions to vaccines (in which case, I would research the state’s bylaws on the subject heavily and have a note from your vet just in case), you will need to have the core vaccines, especially if traveling by plane. Even though it is optional, I would also get the Bordetella vaccine just in case an emergency pops up and you need to board your dog. Considering if you are going someplace where there is a high incidence of Lyme or Leptospirosis, you may also want to consider getting those according to the risks you are taking (not all at once! Make sure you space it out, a dog’s body can only take so much.). Make sure you get an original copy of the vet’s records, then print several copies of the dog’s vet records, and, most importantly, store those copies in multiple areas (your purse, your car’s glove box, etc.). If one gets lost or destroyed, you’ll be grateful to have backups.

As a side note, some states accept the 3-year rabies vaccine. Some do not, and only permit pets with a 1-year rabies vaccine unless you jump through the appropriate hoops. As with everything, triple-check to ensure that your dog is safe.

Hawaii and dogs

Hawaii and dogs flying to it is complicated. Understandably, they have procedures in place to prevent the transmission of Rabies, since it is not present on the islands. This makes traveling there with a dog a royal and required pain in the neck. You must get an antibody test done for Rabies and the results of that test sent in at least 30 days before arrival if you want to avoid the 120 day quarantine (yup. 4 months.). You also have to get the dog treated for ticks chemically and check that the dog is in general good health, and jump through numerous other hoops. They WILL make you wait if you miss a step; it’s a matter of ecological stability. This article explains it pretty well: Yes, You Can Bring Your Dog to Hawaii and you can find Hawaii’s quarantine page here: Animal Quarantine Information Page (Updated)

Essential items list

I may miss a few here and there, but these are the items that are most essential:

Collar with ID tags
Vet records and phone number to both your vet and ones where you will be staying. This is a good practice for humans, too.
First aid kit consisting of at the least: styptic powder, bandages, muzzle, tick tweezers, alcohol pads, Benadryl, and hydrogen peroxide, along with a sheet of the recommended dosages
Microchip!!! If your dog gets lost somehow, and their collar comes off, that may be the only way you are reunited!!!
Harness if needed
Food and water bowls (can and should be collapsible for ease of use)
Heartworm preventative if gone longer than the time in between treatments (especially if visiting swampy areas during the summer)
Any other medications that the dog takes
Supply of the dog’s food for at least a few days (when we traveled with our dogs, we just bought a new bag when we had settled in to our location)
If road tripping or other ways of travel that allow liquids, a bottle of shampoo/conditioner. I wouldn’t advise bathing your dog in the hotel bathroom, but there are pay-to-wash services complete with driers. Some of the products used in those places are hit-and-miss, or are even nonexistent, however, so if your dog needs a particular product, BYO.
Speaking of grooming, brushes and combs, and if you band, extra bands in case one breaks.
A bag for all the stuff
Poop bags! You might not encounter any dispensers ‘out in the wild’, and if you do, it’s a general rule of thumb that they will be out at any give time that you need one.
Treats—I would bring a small bag for when you’re actively traveling, and then purchase one of the big bags because you never know when you need to shovel a bunch down the dog’s throat because they’re afraid of the swaying boardwalk, and in my experience, the little ones only last a day or so.
Kennel. Sometimes those hotel room doors don’t close all the way, or someone else’s door key is somehow synched to yours (which is why you put all your valuables in the safe… Right?). If somebody opens your door by accident, or you forget the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, your dog can and likely will speed out the other way, and then you’ve got a mess on your hands. Here is Ian Dunbar’s site on crate training if you’re having troubles, and if you have further troubles still, you can always post about it in the General Training and Obedience section! Crate training I’ve used the hard airline carriers in the past, but if I were to do it again, I would buy a wire crate and a crate cover since those are much more portable.
Blankets and pillows
Favorite toys

Hotel stays

Don’t leave your dog in the hotel unattended for hours and hours at a time. If possible, I’d recommend taking a break mid-day to come back and let them out for at least a half hour before resuming activities. If not, it may be worth looking into boarding for the day. After all, you’re the one who brought them, so make sure you find time to care for them in all the fun.
Don’t bathe your dog in the bathtub, or the sink at that, unless doing so is permitted explicitly by the hotel. Not only is it against the rules at many dog-friendly hotels, but it can cost you literally if you accidentally damage the tub with doggy claws or clog the drain with fur (in the case you have a dog that is shedding). Just Don’t Do It.
Don’t let your dog drink out of the glasses provided.
It’s general practice not to let the dog sleep on the bed—even if the dog is non-shedding, the smell still remains, and the people cleaning it after will know.
Do allow your dog to have friendly interactions with the staff and other visitors. Have that little bag of treats on hand for you to feed or, if comfortable, to allow other people to give.
Do take your dog out to the bathroom each time before you leave, just as you would at home. Get up early if you need to.
Do give your dog some exercise so that they don’t bark all day (possibly giving you and other future dog visitors the boot)
Do leave your contact information with the desk in case they need to contact you about your dog

Hotels that are good for dog owners

I’ve stayed in Motel 6 for road trips in the past. It can be hit or miss with the quality, but if you’re on a budget, it’ll work. Best Western, Holiday Inn, and Marriott all have hotels that permit pets, although some do not allow pets.

The bigger national parks generally have themed hotels nearby. Some of them permit pets and some of them don’t. As always, call ahead.

As a side note, don’t force yourself to find a fancy 5-star hotel unless you really enjoy the hotel life and plan on spending a good portion of your time there. If there’s sights you want to see, you’ll be spending probably a majority of the time outside of the hotel and likely won’t be able to enjoy their movie theater or other things (and will probably feel guilty about it, too!). Also unrelated, but make sure that you browse privately if you are searching for tickets and things like that, as the websites will bump prices up if your cookies say you’re visiting places to buy these things.

Finding dog-friendly places

IF YOU ARE UNSURE, CALL AHEAD! Places can refuse you service if you have a pet with you, and so making sure that you are allowed in the area could make the difference between staying outside with the dog while everyone else goes in and actually getting to go in the place. Here are a couple of websites that deal with finding places to take and stay with your dog:

BringFido: Pet Friendly Hotels & Dog Travel Directory
Dog, Cat and Other Pet Friendly Hotels at Petswelcome.com

National parks

Some permit dogs, and some do not. Are you tired of hearing that yet? I’m a bit tired of typing it. We need some kind of code. An acronym. I don’t know. I’m off topic. Anyways, national parks are typically good places to take your dog, although for some of the ones that permit dogs, the ‘main attraction’ such as the Mammoth caves in Mammoth Cave park are off limits for understandable reasons. The Grand Canyon has been my favorite park by far (although I’ve never visited with dogs), and there is plenty to do above the rim, which is the only place where dogs are allowed.

Something really cute you can go and do with your dog in the national parks is the B.A.R.K. ranger program! BARK Rangers - Pets (U.S. National Park Service)

Disney World

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog, it’s expensive. But that’s to be expected at the House of Mouse. Dogs are not allowed in the main parks (and probably wouldn’t enjoy it anyways), but are allowed in a few of the resorts, so long as you keep your number of dogs to two.Everything You Need to Know About Bringing Your Pets to Disney World! | the disney food blog

Eating out with dogs

Did you read that right? Yes, you did. You can eat out with your dog! You just need to find places with outdoors seating that permits dogs (check laws in the area). My recommendation is to go to eat ‘off-hours’, however, as there will be fewer people to distract your dog and you can seat yourself further away from people if they are uncomfortable. Plus service will be faster. And obviously, don’t go and eat someplace with your dog if they are highly reactive and will be barking or a nuisance the whole time.

Remember that you and your dog are not only ambassadors for dogs, but for Poodles everywhere!

298 Posts
We have traveled a lot with & have never been in a hotel that allows us to leave our dog alone in the room. One hotel did offer to have her at the front desk while we ate at their restaurant. We usually just have take-out or eat in shifts.

Premium Member
23,881 Posts
This is a good and comprehensive post Floofy. I have traveled extensively with dogs. When Lily and Peeves were young we went about once a month to Maryland in the Clinton area just outside of DC. We stayed at laQuinta most times. They are very dog friendly and inexpensive.

More recently Lily, Javelin and I took a long road trip to the 2017 Rally nationals (Lily was entered) in Perry, Georgia. Most of the hotels I chose were dog friendly Hampton Inns. I chose my stops as dog friendly outings to parks state and national that allowed dogs on trails. We found plenty of places to eat outdoors More and more as we went further south). We had a beautiful dinner at a place just when you cross over to Hilton Head Island where the server brought water bowls for the pups.

I also suggest having a roll of paper towels and something like Resolve or other carpet type cleaner in case somebody throws up on a soft service in the hotel room. But also be honest with the staff rather than trying to hide your cleaning efforts. I also check the condition of the furniture and fixtures in the room right away when I arrive. If there is any damage I take pictures and show it right away to the front desk staff so that I don't incur damage charges.

One last thing is don't bring your dog into the hotel if it has been skunked. Somebody did that at a dog show official hotel. The desk manager for the evening was really annoyed. Her lobby stank to high heaven and she said if the person had just come in without the dog she would have called around to find a way that they could have gotten the dog bathed.

And the last last thing is make sure you clean up after your dog(s) so the hotel stays dog friendly. I have often cleaned up pretty nasty poo from other dogs so I could help keep my dog friendly sites dog friendly.

Premium Member
3,725 Posts
We have traveled a lot with & have never been in a hotel that allows us to leave our dog alone in the room. One hotel did offer to have her at the front desk while we ate at their restaurant. We usually just have take-out or eat in shifts.
Most chain hotels won't go for that but individually owned, very dog friendly (like 3-5 dogs of their own wandering the property) or low key ski resort towns with staff bringing their own dogs to work, those places might work with you.

DH doesn't like to plan ahead for one night stops so I do a lot of research before we hit the road and have options for lodging, eating, and off leash areas saved in my OneNote notebook for travel and as POI on my map apps, or in my contacts.

I also keep photos of my boys, and all relevant records as photos, and each boy is listed as a contact on my phone with info duplicated there. Down side there is the occasional call from Neo or Remo when a scammer spoofs my number. Cracked me up to hear my phone announcing that Neo was calling lol.

I also have a couple of the Tile bluetooth tags to attach to their collars, on the better than nothing plan.
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