By Janet McAfee

Dogs love to travel!  Most dogs get excited when you grab the car keys, hoping to join you.  Dogs are natural nomads, traveling in packs in the wild.  They are curious creatures who love seeing new places and meeting new friends.  Traveling with pets is easier now that more hotels and restaurants with outdoor seating happily accommodate them.  Wise planning and safety precautions make the experience more enjoyable.  No need to feel isolated at home during the pandemic when Fido stands ready to hit the road.

It is good business sense to cater to pet owners.  Some restaurants even have “doggie” menus with special cooked items for canines. An excursion to nearby Upland can include Molly’s Souper, a lovely cottage style restaurant with lots of outdoor seating and a delicious menu for Fido.  Well behaved leashed dogs are welcome at many retailers including Home Depot, Lowes, Apple, The Pottery Barn, and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Most major hotel chains including Marriott’s Residence Inn, Motel 6, La Quinta Hotels, and Best Western allow pets.  Campgrounds are full of family pets who are welcomed on leash.  Doggie day care programs abound should you want to visit places where dogs are not permitted during your trip.

You can purchase a Puppuccino for your canine sidekick when you drive through Starbucks.  One pet focused resort, Canine Camp Getaway in New York, offers scent-detection workshops for the dogs, decorating home-made dog biscuit classes for the humans, and sharing celebratory beverages at “Yappy Hour”. While many dogs swim and know how to get themselves out, other breeds with heavy coats are not able to sustain themselves in pool water. Life preservers for dogs are an extra precaution in pools and lakes.



A host of new products ensure the comfort and safety of your dog during car trips.  Cool pads inside his carrier cool down the temperature during hot weather.  Socks or little shoes keep his feet from burning on the hot pavement.  Tiny sunglasses with UV protection guard against sun damage to the eyes and block dust & debris.  “Cool down” harnesses and vests containing cooling crystals help on hot days.  Car harnesses protect your dog if you have to stop suddenly. A collar with your phone number and a recent photograph of your dog are essential in case he gets lost.

Keep your pet in the back seat, whether he is harnessed or kept in a carrier.  They can be injured by front seat airbags. An active pup romping through a moving vehicle can cause dangerous distractions.

NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN A CAR EVEN WITH THE WINDOWS CRACKED.  It is illegal to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle under California Penal Code 597.7.  There has been an epidemic of stolen vehicles with pets inside in recent months.  It takes less than a minute for someone to break a window and steal your vehicle with your pet inside while you dodge into a mini-mart for a quick cup of coffee.  If you are traveling alone and can’t find a responsible person to watch your dog, no one will object if you take him into a public restroom. Drive through restaurants, outdoor dining, and picnics can replace indoor restaurant meal stops. Pets can perish quickly in vehicles from heat stroke and hypothermia during excessive hot or cold temperatures.


A health certificate from your veterinarian is required prior to airline travel.  Bring copies of shot records including rabies.  You must have a reservation for your pet, as there is a set number of dogs permitted on each flight.  Check in advance with your airline as pet requirements can differ. If you have a small dog under your airline’s weight limit, it is recommended you take them with you in a carrier in the passenger cabin.  Some groups advise against shipping your pet in the cargo area due to instances of loss, injury and even death.  If you must ship an animal below cabin, book a direct flight. Your trusted veterinarian can decide if sedation will make the flight easier.


Amtrak does not allow pets other than service animals.  Smaller regional rail companies are more hospitable, but call first to find out about crating and other restrictions.  Some transit companies don’t allow animals during crowded rush hours.  Short leashes are recommended.

Seeing the joy your pup experiences on a day or overnight trip makes you appreciate travel even more.  Dogs with their friendly optimism help us meet new people and frame the way we look at the wonders of the world around us.  A helpful resource, “U.S and Canada Dog Travel Guide,” can be obtained by going online to  Grab the car keys, hit the road, and double your fun with Fido onboard.

Still looking for a new best “furfriend” and travel buddy?  You are sure to find one from the list below.


Below is a partial list of shelters and rescues in Riverside county and San Bernardino county with animals for adoption. They are currently closed for walk-ins, so call for an appointment.  You can view most of their animals online before calling.

COACHELLA VALLEY ANIMAL CAMPUS – The county shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  You can view the animals at all four Riverside county shelters at, and get the ID number of the animal you want to adopt. Email them the animal’s ID number at, or schedule a virtual adoption appointment at, 72050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms, (760) 343-3644. (Public)

PALM SPRINGS ANIMAL SHELTER – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  They schedule appointments Wednesday through Monday.  View their animals online at, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave, Palm Springs, (760) 416-5718. (Public)

ANIMAL SAMARITANS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  View their animals at  Email to foster.  Located at 72307 Ramon Rd, Thousand Palms, (760) 601-3918.  (Private)

CALIFORNIA PAWS RESCUE  – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 73650 Dinah Shore, Palm Desert.  View their animals at, (760) 656-8833.  (Private)

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt a dog or cat.  View their animals at Located at 17825 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 329-0203.  (Private)

KITTYLAND – The shelter is closed so call for an appointment to adopt a cat.  Located at 67600 18th Avenue, Desert Hot Springs,, (760) 251-2700.  (Private)

FOREVER MEOW – Foster based  rescue for cats located in Rancho Mirage.  Contact them at, (760) 335-6767. (Private)

PRETTY GOOD CAT – Foster based rescue for cats located in La Quinta.  Contact them at, (760) 660-3414 (Private)

LOVING ALL ANIMALS – The shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Located at 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella,, (760) 834-7000. (Private)

MORONGO BASIN HUMANE SOCIETY – Located at 4646 Sun View Rd, Joshua Tree,, call between 11am-4pm for updates (760) 366-3786 (Private)

CITY OF SAN BERNARDINO ANIMAL SHELTER – Shelter is closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt.  Hours for adoption 10am – 4pm Tuesday thru Sat. Google “City of San Bernardino Animal Shelter” for website to view animals and get the ID number of the animal you want to meet.  Located at 333 Chandler Place, San Bernardino, (909) 384-1304 or (909) 384-7272. (Public)

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER AT DEVORE – Shelter closed but you can call for an appointment to adopt. Call (909) 386-9280 daily.  View animals at and get the ID number of animal you want to meet. Located at 19777 Shelter Way, San Bernardino (Public).

DREAM TEAM ANGELS RESCUE – Foster based rescue located in Grand Terrace/San Bernardino area.  Contact them through website, (360) 688-8884. (Private)