4 tips for bringing your dog on vacation

Keep an eye on your dog to make sure he or she stays safe.

Spring and summer will be here before you know it, and humans aren't the only ones who enjoy getting out during this time! Chances are your canine friends are looking forward to the warmer weather, too, and you can start planning now to help them take part in your vacation fun.

No matter where you go (or how big your dog is), it's good to think ahead and know what to expect.

1. Know where you can or can't go with your pet
There are, unfortunately, lots of areas that won't take your dog…but there's also plenty of places that will! Dog cafes, parks, beaches and other sites can be dog-friendly and will probably tell you up-front, either on their website or over the phone, if it's okay to bring them along.

If you know you'll be spending time shopping or otherwise inside a place your dog can't come, there are a few options. You could designate someone traveling with you to help take care of the dog when you need a break.

"You could designate someone traveling with you to help take care of the dog when you need a break."

While the Humane Society of the United States condemns using tethers for long periods of time, it does admit that the practice could be harmless in the short-term, so you could consider doing this if you have no other way to tend to your dog while you go inside somewhere. Just pay attention to your pet and try to keep an eye on him and her if you can.

2. Carry accessories with you
As a dog owner, you probably know all about walking them and the things you need to pick up after (so there's no need to go into that!). Longer excursions can require special accessories to help care for your dog, though. If you're going on a hike or day trip, consider packing anything you might need during the adventure, like a medical kit, extra food or a harness.

"Never forget that your dog's feet aren't invincible, no matter what he or she might think."

3. Look out for harsh terrain
Another issue that could come up during a long walk or hike is rough, dangerous terrain: rocks, broken glass and other hazards could be problems for your pooch, even if you're easily able to avoid them. Never forget that your dog's feet aren't invincible, no matter what he or she might think. It's up to you to be careful.

Thinking of spending all your time in the city? You still have to be wary. Hot asphalt and sidewalks are a notorious problem for dogs, who can burn their footpads if you aren't careful. In both the city and the country, your best bet is to put some boots on your furry friend. Your dog may or may not enjoy this, but it sure beats walking around with wounded paws.

4. Keep an eye out for trouble
Your dog is probably going to love being outside and everything that comes with it. In your efforts to make him or her happy, it's possible to overlook some of the dangers lurking here and there. Your dog might eat something harmful, wander too far away from you, or, if you visit a beach, literally get in over its head.

How to avoid all of this? In addition to training, you'll want to have a way for people to find you if your dog gets separated from you. The American Kennel Club suggests dog tags or even a microchip to help you locate a lost pup.

Dogs can be a handful, but they're also a lot of fun. These travel tips should help you have a better trip overall and leave a smile on your dog's face.

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