The dog days of summer: travel expert’s tips on vacationing with your pet

For many Manitobans, summer means vacation time, and if you’re planning on taking a trip with a furry family member, there are some tips you’ll need to consider, a travel expert told 680 CJOB.

Travelzoo’s Susan Catto said that due to popular demand, her company has begun including information about which hotels are – and aren’t – dog-friendly, so travelers and their pets don’t have to find out the hard way.

“The last time you want a surprise is when you pull up somewhere after everyone’s tired, your dog is restless… you don’t want to be finding out then that your hotel doesn’t accept any dogs over 30 pounds or that your campsite completely outlaws dogs,” said Catto.

The biggest one, she said, is the weight and size restriction, so that’s one thing people should check even if their hotel says it’s pet-friendly – so double check the fine print.

“Sometimes hotels charges fees, and often these are very reasonable and they make sense, and sometimes they’re not – so you just wanna know before you go. I think there are definitely places where it’s worth paying that fee for the peace of mind that you’re not going to be sneaking your dog in and out of your hotel room.”

Catto said taking a dog as a travelling companion also means you end up with a different view of the city you’re visiting from the one you’d see on a formal tour.

“When you’re travelling with your dog, you can really have a different experience in a city. Instead of going to a museum, it’s summer: why not explore a city park? You can often take your dog to a restaurant that has a sidewalk cafe,” she said.

“You can usually find web communities of dog owners in that town that will give you all the inside scoop. The dog is the ultimate icebreaker. There’s no better way to meet people on vacation than to travel with your dog.”

The key to dog-friendly travel, she said, is just making sure you know the laws and abide by them. Some parks and campsites may be advertised as ‘dog-friendly’, but that doesn’t mean your pet can be free to run around off-leash.

“I know in Manitoba, the provincial parks allow dogs on-leash, but you can’t just let your dog swim where people are swimming,” she said.

“It’s just a question of being considerate, because other people on vacation may not love it. They don’t want a vacation with your dog.”

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