This is a story about a road trip I took with my dog this summer. This is an informational story that will provide some insight as to what you need to consider when you travel with your pet. My dog’s safety while in the car had to be considered. I needed to know where to make pit stops along the way. And I needed to know what hotels would allow her to stay.
Sephi is my dog’s name, short for Persephone. Sephi is a 55 pound dog, part German shepherd, part Labrador, part chow, part border collie, etc. She loves to ride in the car. I don’t generally take her with me in the car during the summer unless it is to the park. But I needed to go to St. Louis for business. As a female, I don’t like to travel alone too far from home. So I decided to take Sephi with me as my “guard dog“. It is a four hour drive from Kansas City to St Louis, and 99% of the trip would be spent on the interstate.
Before leaving, I made sure Sephi’s tags were legible and that they were adequately secured to her collar. Sephi is not the type of dog to run off, but I’d rather not take any chances. Her tags not only have her name and my phone number, but they also have her vet’s phone number. The major dog essentials needed for this trip included Sephi’s leash, her dog car seat belt, water and her water bowl, dog food, doggie bags for picking up her waste, and her pet carrier (which is also her doggie bed). Sephi wore her dog car seat belt the entire time she was in the car. The dog seat belt she uses is easy to put on and comfortable for her to wear. The dog car seat belt is worn like a harness. A strap extends from the back of the harness and latches into the seat belt receptacle. Whenever Sephi is not in the car, the strap can be unhooked and replaced with a leash so that she doesn’t have to have the harness taken on and off.
I brought my own food and snacks or only went to places where I could pick up food quick so that I wouldn’t have to leave Sephi in the car. It was over 90 degrees outside and could get even hotter inside a car. Other pit stops were necessary. Since the drive was mostly on interstate 70 there were several rest stops along the way. These rest stops not only had restroom facilities for me, but they also had designated pet areas for Sephi. Most rest stops in the United States have designated pet areas. Even though it was obvious that many pet owners did not pick up after their pets, I used the doggie bags to pick up after Sephi. Not only did I do this as a courtesy, but I also did it in order to avoid getting into trouble with any law enforcement that may happen to be in the area. The last thing I need when away from home is to get a citation for an ordinance violation. One bad thing about traveling alone with a pet was that when I had to use the restroom, I had no choice but to leave Sephi in the car for a few minutes. There were signs clearly posted at the rest stops prohibiting dogs from entering the buildings so Sephi was not allowed to go into the restroom with me.
Sephi drank water while a the rest tops but she did not eat until we got to our destination. This is because Sephi tends to get a little car sick if she has food in her stomach. Our trip was only four hours long so she did not go hungry for very long. When we reached St Louis we had to find a hotel. Knowing by experience that many hotels allow pets, I did not do any research beforehand. As a result, I visited two other hotels before I found one that both accepted dogs and had wi-fi access. The hotel we stayed at was the Red Roof Inn. It was fairly inexpensive and comfortable. I brought Sephi’s carrier in the room. This gave her the comfort of familiar surroundings, but the carrier was necessary for another reason as well. Most hotels require that if you have to leave your pet alone in the room that the pet be confined. I had business to take care of and I would not be able to take her with me. So she stayed in her carrier while I left the hotel. Hotels have this rule for two major reasons. First, the hotel does not want pets destroying their property. Sephi is not destructive, but some dogs are so the hotel makes the rule apply to all dogs. Second, if hotel personnel needs to enter the room they don’t want the pet to escape or to bite the intruder. Before you travel with your pet, you may want to find a hotel that allows pets first. Be sure to read their pet policy so that you can make sure you comply with the guidelines.
All-in-all, the road trip was a success. I felt safe traveling alone with my “guard dog”. Sephi was safe wearing her dog car seat belt. She was kept hydrated and had plenty of potty breaks at the rest stops. And she was comfortable during her stay at the hotel. Traveling with a pet does not have to be an inconvenience if you remember certain points. Research hotels and hotel pet policies before traveling. Bring the pet’s carrier if you plan on leaving the hotel without your pet. Make sure your dog is wearing their tags and bring their leash. Make sure your dog has a vehicle restraint such as a dog car seat belt or a pet car seat. Bring something to pick up after your pet. Bring plenty of water. And last but not least, enjoy your trip!