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Tail-wagging road trip tips

It’s no secret that Seattleites are a bit obsessed with our dogs. We bring them to our offices, local parks, breweries, restaurants, and on buses, so of course, we want to bring them on vacation too. From AAA’s PetSpot, here are some things to consider when you hit the road with your favorite fur friend:

Where to go:

It might be hard to believe, but not every city loves doggos as much as we do. And most National Parks severely restrict a dogs’ ability to roam out of respect for the local plants and furry residents– and for the pups’ safety. So where to go with Fido? Here are three of our favorite destinations:

The Oregon Coast. Your dog will love chasing balls on Oregon’s 363 miles of public beaches (most of which are open to dogs), hiking through forested trails, and relaxing with you on a brewery patio. Bonus: the Oregon Humane Society (in Portland) is celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. Check out their event calendar!

Yakima Valley. Hang out with your pooch and a pinot grigio at more than 40 different dog-friendly wineries located throughout the Yakima Valley. Check out Yakima Valley Wine Doggies for a list of pet-friendly Yakima lodging and dining options. And, of course, drink responsibly.

The San Juan Islands. In addition to abundant hiking opportunities and multitudes of spacious dog parks, the San Juans offer many pet-friendly lodgings and businesses. For the ultimate pet treat, get the gourmet lavender dog biscuits at Pelindaba Lavender Farm in Friday Harbor.

Where to stay:

More than 13,000 AAA Inspected and Approved hotels across the US are pet-friendly, so you have lots of options – but they often come with specific rules and restrictions. Make sure to book your accommodations in advance and read the fine print. For example, most hotels will charge an additional pet fee or only allow your fur-baby in their pet-friendly rooms (often on the first floor). Have your vaccination records on hand in case the hotel asks for them.

If you’re planning a camping trip, check in advance to make sure that your pet is welcome on all the trails, campsites, beaches, and parks you’ll be visiting – leaving a dog unattended in a campsite can make them vulnerable to predators. Research local plants that might be unsafe for Fido and steer clear of these culprits (a few not-so-dog friendly plants include common tansy, English ivy, ferns, foxglove, and rhododendrons). Finally, be sure to follow any restrictions about leashing and picking up after your pet.

Rules of the road:

Give your pet the same care that you would any other family member and make sure they’re properly buckled in. It will keep everyone in the car, including you, safe in case of a crash. Find a crate or car safety harness that’s been crash tested – Kurgo has some excellent options. And keep your pet in the back seat, where they’re less likely to be injured by airbags in a crash – and less likely to distract you while you’re driving.

Plan lots of pit stops so that both you and your doggo can stretch your legs, get some water and explore a bit. Bring a variety of chews and toys so that your pup has something to keep them busy (seatbelts do NOT make good chew toys!) And finally, never, ever leave your pet unattended inside your vehicle, even if you park in the shade and roll the windows down. The inside of your vehicle can heat up quickly, even on a mild day, and become dangerously hot for our furry friends.

Of course, not every vacation is dog-friendly, and sometimes we do have to leave our doggos at home (or at least in the hotel for a day). When that happens, we recommend checking out Rover has recommendations for everything from half-hour dog walkers to long-term doggie boarding, and every caregiver has been vetted (pun intended) and reviewed.

Check out AAA’s PetSpot page for more tail-wagging good travel tips, including information on pet insurance, moving with pets, and AAA pet discount partners.