One of the hardest things about going on vacation? Leaving your pets behind, of course.
Don't worry though, it doesn't have to be so stressful – especially when you are able to bring your furry friend along for the trip. A vacation to Northwest Florida's Emerald Coast not only makes this possible, it makes it easy. Super easy! Ocean Reef Resorts offers the largest selection of pet-friendly vacation rentals in Destin and South Walton, so your small dog can join in the family vacation fun. With your pet along for the ride, a stay at one of these gorgeous coastal condos or beach cottages will feel just like a home-away-from-home. Except you also get the added bonus of being in paradise!
In addition to easily finding pet-friendly accommodations, the Destin and South Walton area welcomes all its furry visitors. Fall is an especially amazing time to travel to the Emerald Coast with your dog. There are plenty of nature trails to hike, and there are a variety of pet-friendly bars and restaurants in town. You will also find many businesses that place water bowls outside of their establishments to make sure your pet doesn't get too thirsty during all their vacation explorations. Pet-friendly festivals also make for great memories of your coastal vacation. All of this means that your pet won't have to stay cooped up in your vacation rental and can join in all the fun. As any dog owner knows, pets make everything better, and locals and visitors alike love the pet-friendly atmosphere of this Gulf Coast community.
If you decide to bring your favorite furball along for vacation, there are some things you will want to keep in mind. Local Nancy Bown, the founder of the non-profit Dog-Harmony, offers the following tips to help you prepare for stress-free travel with your pets.
Pack Shot Records and Medical History
Bring a copy of the most recent shot record and medical history of your pet. Bown said, "I keep a copy of my dog's records in my glove compartment at all times. Not only is it great to have for a last-minute trip, but it also comes in handy in the event of a trip to the emergency vet." If your travel plans involve a road trip, take a leaf out of Nancy's book and keep a copy of those documents in your glove compartment. If you're flying, be sure to place a copy of the records in your purse, suitcase, or backpack - so they are available to you whenever you need them.
Pack Pet Medicines
The last thing you want on your vacation is a sick animal, as it can definitely put a damper on the experience – for you and your doggo! Make sure to pack all pet medicines, including any prescriptions and anti-diarrheal meds. Hint: Slices of fresh sweet potatoes are a great natural treat or remedy. Additionally, treats made with fresh ginger can help with car sickness but must be used before the travel begins. It is also important to know how to prepare for unforeseen problems before you leave for vacation. Research local or emergency veterinarians in the area you are traveling. It is so much easier to have this information on hand when you need it, rather than searching for it during an emergency.
Pack Some Extras
Don't get caught without the essentials! While you might have everything that you need for your pet in specific places in your home, it can be easy to forget something on vacation – so bring extras! Pack an extra leash, collapsible water bowl, bottles of water, kibble, and dog treats to accommodate for any delay in travel. A crate and nice bed are also helpful. If you pack all of these ahead of time, you won't find yourself scrambling to find items you need along the ride or at the shop by your vacation rental.
Enjoy the Ride!
Traveling with your pet is a unique and fun experience, so enjoy it! Plan stops every few hours to stretch your legs and give your fur baby plenty of potty breaks. Who knows, you might find some fun little stops along the way that you might otherwise have missed. Once you make it to your destination – *cough* the Emerald Coast *cough* – focus on the beautiful sites, fun experiences, and amazing memories you will get to share with your pet. The beautiful sugary sands and emerald waters are a treasure in themselves, but they are even better when you can share the views with your family, pets and all!
Thanks to the incredible Nancy Bown for providing these great tips for helping prepare for a great and stress-free trip with pets!
Bown is a CPDT-KA, the founder of Dog-Harmony, and she loves dogs. By founding the non-profit Dog-Harmony in Santa Rosa Beach, Bown is dedicated to reducing the shelter dog population and promoting humane education. The intent of Dog-Harmony is to prevent dogs from becoming homeless in the first place. The volunteer-run non-profit provides resources for spay/neuter services, microchipping clinics, dog training and ownership, educational sites, and much more. It expands upon its vision by offering educational workshops, children's classes about responsible pet care and bite prevention, adoption services, and other public events. Partnering with organizations to promote pet education – like providing these pet-friendly travel tips for Ocean Reef Resorts – is just another way Bown and Dog-Harmony are hoping to make others aware of their cause and reduce the number of shelter dogs. As the organization with the largest selection of pet-friendly rentals along the Emerlad Coast, Ocean Reef Resorts fully supports furthering public education of dogs and shelters. Interested in learning more or want to get involved? Be sure to check out Bown's work and the amazing work of the Dog-Harmony volunteers here.
Planning a vacation to the Destin or South Walton area anytime soon? And will you bring your pets? We hope the answer to both of those questions is a resounding, "Yes"! Book a stay at one of Ocean Reef Resorts' pet-friendly rentals, right here on the coast. From intimate lodging to homes big enough for large family vacations, you are sure to find the right rental that meets your travel needs. Once you've booked your trip, pack up your family and pets, follow Bown's travel tips, and get ready for the beach vacation of a lifetime!