Americans love their pets. From spending loads of money on everything from food to toys to clothes to skipping out on social events in order to spend more time with our furry friends, this is evident. We also love to travel with our four-legged companions; nearly 80 percent of pet parents have traveled with their pets in the past year.

If you’re a proud pet parent, you know the joys — and challenges — that come with traveling with your pet.

Whether you’re taking off for a weekend getaway or a lengthy road trip, traveling with your pet can be both rewarding and complicated. 

National parks may seem like the perfect destination to take Fido along to. But many have strict rules about domestic animals. While it is still possible to bring your dog along on your outdoor adventure, you’ll want to do a little pre-planning ahead of time to ensure that everything goes smoothly. 

Keep reading to learn a few tips for visiting a national park with your pet.

Know the Rules

Each national park has its own rules about where pets are and are not allowed. For instance, pets are not allowed on any trails, in wilderness areas, on shuttle buses, or in public buildings in Zion National Park. The only exception is the Pa’rus Trail, which does allow pets.

If you want to visit Zion and enjoy other hikes besides Pa’rus Trail during your visit, plan to board your pet for at least a portion of your trip.

Other national parks may allow pets on additional trails. However, all national parks share other rules for pets and their owners. For instance, you’re always responsible for bagging your pet’s poop and transporting it to a trash can, even when hiking in wilderness areas. Pets must also remain on a leash — in most cases, a leash that is 6-foot or shorter. Your pet should never be allowed to harass wildlife.

The exception to these rules is service animals. Trained service animals are permitted on all trails, as well as in buildings and on shuttle buses. Emotional support or comfort animals are not considered service animals, and therefore must follow the same rules as pets.

Checking the rules of any national parks that you plan to visit ahead of time can help you to better plan your trip and avoid disappointment. Keep in mind that breaking the rules can lead to a fine, and bring a quick end to your fun trip.

Choose the Right Lodging

Another challenge that comes with planning a trip with your pet is finding lodging that allows them, and that makes your stay more comfortable for you and for your four-legged friend.

While some hotels do allow pets, they can be cramped. Noises from surrounding rooms may also make their way through the thin walls, and leave your pet agitated, or even cause them to bark.

A tiny home rental can solve this issue. The Dwellings pet-friendly vacation rentals make it easy to enjoy a comfortable vacation with your pet. 

Pack Right

Packing the right gear for your trip can help make it more comfortable. The same goes for your pet.

In addition to bringing their food and leash, it’s a good idea to bring a few comfort items as well. Your dog’s bed and favorite toys can help to make a strange place feel more familiar to them. If your pet is anxious, setting up a comfortable corner in your vacation rental can help to set them at ease so that they can get plenty of rest each night.

It’s also a good idea to travel with vet records, and a first aid kit for your pet if you plan to do any hiking together. Don’t forget to pack extra water for your pet. Like you, they’ll need to stay hydrated on the trails.

Consider Other Outdoor Destinations

If you have your heart set on hiking and enjoying the outdoors with your pet during your trip, consider visiting other parks and outdoor destinations besides national parks.

Most state parks have fewer rules about pets and will allow them on marked trails. 

If you’re visiting The Dwellings with your pet, nearby Quail Creek State Park should be a must on your itinerary. This beautiful state park features stunning red rocks and a large reservoir. Pets are allowed on all trails in the park as well as on the beach, as long as they are kept on a leash. 

Another option is to board your pet for a portion of your trip. You can even find daycare facilities that allow you to board your pet during the day and keep them with you in the evenings and at night.

Planning an Outdoor Adventure With Your Pet

Planning on taking an outdoor adventure next summer? You don’t have to leave your beloved furry family member at home.

With a little bit of planning, it’s possible to enjoy an exciting national and state park trip with Fido. Choosing the right vacation rental, checking the rules ahead of time, picking the right parks, and packing some extra supplies for your pet can all help to ensure a fun, safe, and enjoyable trip for your entire family.

If you’re ready to plan a pet-friendly vacation, start by booking your stay at The Dwellings!