Dogs might be “man’s best friend,” but being a dog owner and travel lover don’t always go hand in hand. Dream vacations can turn stressful when it’s time to plan what to do with a furry four-legged kid. Do you take Fido along? Hire a pet sitter? Kennel him at a dog boarding facility? Try to find a pet friendly hotel? Our Military TravelingMom breaks down the most common travel options for dogs.

Look at that face! It’s hard to leave her, but sometimes it is for the best. Photo credit: Renee Virata / Military TravelingMom

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Travel Options for Dogs

Being the owner of an adorable, but rambunctious mastiff mix, Sheamus – I get it. Each trip we take I struggle with the decision of taking or leaving him. There are many factors that I take into consideration. How much time will we have to spend with him? Are we going to be out and about all day? Is there adequate room in a dog-friendly hotel? The list goes on. Luckily for us, there are many travel options for dogs!

Fido Tags Along – The Search For a Dog-Friendly Hotel

We adore having our love join us. If we’re road-tripping, the possibility of bringing him along is dramatically increased. Flying is another story entirely. This guy is not part of any frequent flier programs and I don’t think he will be soon.

Finding a dog-friendly hotel isn’t a huge issue. There are many hotels that have jumped on board with allowing pets stay. We usually look at La Quinta, Best Western, and a few others, if we’re just going for a few days. With our big baby staying in a cramped hotel room for an extended period of time takes all the fun out of our trip.

Travel options for dogs include bringing them like these two small dogs posing on the beach

Staying in a dog-friendly hotel makes taking these cuties along a breeze. Photo credit: Foodie TravelingMom / Linda Arceo

We enjoy renting larger vacation rentals if we are planning to stay for longer than a couple of days. This allows us a little more room and gives us a tad more freedom. But packing up for our extended adventures can be comedic. Maneuvering two adults, three kids, and our feisty fur baby makes for an interesting road trip.

How much time we’ll actually have to hang out with him tends to be the deciding factor. A relaxing beach trip – no problem. But an all-day theme park adventure? That is when we start looking at our other options.

Traveling to Disney? There are multiple options!

Traveling to Disney Parks is the exception to the rule. Unique in the world of theme parks Disney has gone out of their way to cater to their animal-loving guests.

From value to deluxe resorts, Disney has Pluto’s buddies covered! Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and the cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort have designated sections that will be dog-friendly, while the rest of the resort will remain pet free. Currently, this is in the testing phase and scheduled to end October 15, 2018.

Disney World does have an on-site over-night boarding facility. Best Friends Pet Care is a luxury resort for dogs. The add-on options for a stay are insane. Bedtime stories, ice cream breaks, even holiday dinner are just a small example of the offerings.

Travel options for dogs include leaving them with a pet sitter or using a boarding facility like ones at Disney theme parks

Disney theme park vacations don’t always mean leaving Fido at home. Photo credit: Quick Weekender TravelingMom / Renee Virata

Disneyland doesn’t have over-night stays, but it does have doggy daycare right near the entrance of the park. It’s not as high end as Disney World. Disneyland guests have to feed their pets and come back for potty breaks.

Sleep-Over Party for Fido at Your Local Dog Boarding Facility

Overnight dog boarding facilities, local veterinarian offices, doggy camp–you name it and it’s available. And it’s probably the easiest route to take. Just drop off Fido with his food, some toys and say “see ya later.”

But don’t fear! Dog boarding facilities have come a long way. No more bars and chains. Dogs now get to play in the lap of luxury during their doggy vacations. They have access to play groups, TVs, even spas.

Some offer dog moms and dads the ability to do daily video checkups. Others will send text updates. My favorite is the bath before they come home! It’s one less thing I have to worry about washing after a long trip. Seriously, all that laundry! Then add dirty dogs on top of it. Nope. Just nope. I’ll pay a little extra for a clean doggy.

Our young man is ready to mingle. So we’ve never had him stay at a vet’s office. But for older dogs or those that may need medical attention, staying at the vet’s might offer more comfort.

Not Comfortable With Just Dropping Off Fido? Pet sitter to the Rescue

Using a pet sitter is our usual go-to when Sheamus can’t come along. I’ve dealt with a dog that had high anxiety, so using a pet sitter works best. It allows them to stay in the comfort of their own home and stick close to a normal schedule.

Having a pet sitter is great for dogs that suffer from anxiety.

Hiring a pet sitter allows Kylo to relax in the comfort of his home. Photo credit: Renee Virata / Military TravelingMom

This is where being a military family comes in handy. Being away from family means that neighbors count on each other for many things. Pet sitting is just one of those things. We tend to have a relationship and take turns swapping free pet sitting services with our neighbors.

I have hired professional pet sitters and they were all amazing. Most sent videos, pictures and messaged me nightly to let me know how they did. There were walks, doggy play time and so much more.

Whenever I make the decision to use a pet sitter, whether it be family, friends/neighbors or a professional, I make sure to pull out all the documents they may need and make a list of numbers they may need. These include vet records, phone number and address of the vet, closest 24-hour animal hospital and where we’ll be staying.

We recently moved away from our close-knit military community and needed to come up with a care plan for our furry family members. I was directed towards I will admit that I was hesitant at first because I had never heard of this website before. But after doing some research I found out that it’s been connecting families with pet sitters since 2011 with stellar reviews. Each sitter is subject to a background check, and according to, they accept less than 20% of applicants. Knowing this made me a tad more comfortable.

After signing up and putting in all the requested info I was led to a page that listed pet sitters in my area. There are options for boarding in their home, coming to your home to check on your pet and even every day dog walking. We picked to have our pup boarded in their home as it worked better for him. It was an amazing experience! We got daily pictures and messages to let us know how he was. Our sitter even sent him home with a goodie bag that included a brand new toy. She went above and beyond. was an absolute success in my book!

A lot of thought goes into making the decision to travel with our beloved pets or have them stay home. But those times when leaving them behind is the best option for all of us – I’m glad to know they will be well taken care of.


Insider tips on traveling with our furry family members.