This month, thousands of dogs and their handlers descended upon Madison Square Garden for the 143rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show – the Oscars of the dog world.
Show dogs from across the U.S. lucky enough to score an invite traveled to New York City by plane, train and automobile, with some even getting shuttled by private jets and personal chauffeurs.
While not all dogs can be as well-traveled as these worldly pooches who routinely train and travel to compete in the run-up to the show, every dog can journey beyond home in style by adopting some tips the Westminster pros surely follow. An incentive for their owners: traveling with dogs is easier than ever as hotels, restaurants and bars increasingly welcome canines. And for the 87% of owners who worry about their pets when traveling, bringing their furry companions along can offer peace of mind.
So, consider the tips below and then click here for vacation inspiration that includes a variety of Hilton properties with paw-sitively perfect pet amenities and activities nearby, such as in-room pet messages, GPS-enabled dog-walking services, pet-friendly restaurants, and doggy turndown services.
Tips for Traveling with Dogs
- Do Your Hotel Homework - Check the Rules: Before setting out on your adventure, search for the best pet-friendly accommodations you can find. Check hotel websites directly and look for a section on hotel policies, which is often where pet information appears, such as any weight restrictions, cleaning fees, or deposits. When making your reservation, be sure to alert the hotel that you’ll have a dog and let them know when you’ll arrive so housekeeping is aware. Need a short-cut for your search? Try one of Hilton’s pet-friendly brands such as Home2 Suites by Hilton or Canopy by Hilton for a fast find.
- Amenities Matter: One thing that can make your trip more carefree and free up space in your suitcase are dog-appropriate amenities at your hotel. The hotel may offer pet essentials like dog beds and food and water bowls that you can use during your stay, and may even offer dog-walking and pet-sitting services to use while you’re away from the hotel. For example, Canopy by Hilton has a “Paws in the Neighborhood” program that caters to guests and their pup. Each room comes complete with a dog bed, placemat, "Woof!" door hanger, and Planet Dog food and water bowls. Each floor of the hotel also has a filtered spring water station, so guests and pups can stay hydrated after those walks or runs.
- Make it Fun for You and Your Pet: Whether traveling for leisure or business, carve out some time for your pet just as you would at home. Some pet-friendly hotels may have special pet events and programs, so check with the concierge or front desk. Also search for dog-friendly bars and restaurants with outdoor seating if the weather permits, or a dog-friendly beach or lake nearby. Fitness buffs can map out a nearby nature trail for a run or ask if there’s a dog park or other suitable area for a game of fetch.
- Keep Them Safe and Comfortable: Your dog’s comfort and safety should be the top priority when traveling. Pack their favorite toy from home and consider bringing their crate if you’re driving and space allows. The familiar scent of home on a toy or blanket and the confined space of a crate can provide your dog with a sense of security in an unfamiliar place.