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In Europe it is no big surprise to see to women sipping coffee at a Café, each with dogs wrapped adoringly around their feet or for people to go shopping fido or fifi in tow. Europeans also would not dream of going on vacation without the company of their beloved canine companions. America is a different story all together. Most people do not even know they have the choice to bring poochie along.

Whether to travel with your dog is a very personal choice. It takes a bit of effort to arrange everything but it can be a very rewarding experience. Here are a few simple things you can do take dog with you and make it a fun and comfortable experience for you both.

If you have a set itinerary planned call ahead to the hotel and see if they allow dogs. If they say no ask if they would allow a dog that when unattended is kept crated. A crate is always an excellent idea to have with you when traveling. It is a humane way to keep your pet confined. Most dogs seem to regard a crate as their “den”. If you have a hard time finding a hotel on your own call a travel agent (usually free) to help, or there are several good books on the market available at your local library or bookstore. You also have World Wide Web at your disposal.

Camping follows these same rules, call ahead to the park service find out what’s allowed. A lot of women camping alone feel safer with Spot as company on the trail. The golden rule for both hotels and camping is be considerate of others. Scoop where your buddy poops.

Take several short drives with your dog to see how he reacts to being in the car. Is he relaxed? Is he excited and distracting you from your driving? Does he fit comfortably in your car? Will he fit with luggage? If he seems excited you might want to consult with your veterinarian and see if a sedative is a good idea. You should also consider getting a car crate if you plan on traveling with your dog often. Dog car safety has gotten very creative; dog seat belts and pick up track harnesses are widely available.

Food and water. Sample sized dry food is great to take with you. It is also easy to get along the way. Make sure you have plenty of water. Collapsible water bowls are available in most pet stores, but personally I buy bottled water with a pop/sport nozzle and my puppy dog drinks it like a bottle. If the day is hot your dog needs lots of water. When you stop make sure you leave your car windows cracked for your puppy. You would not want your vacation to turn into a tragedy.

Bring toys. Just like with children dogs need to be entertained. A lot of destructive behavior can be prevented with a good chew bone. Nothing more needs to be said about this.

You are ready to conquer the world with your best friend