Although it doesn’t seem fair, pet parents of breeds such as Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers may often find traveling with their dogs more challenging than pet parents of other breeds.
For example, some “pet-friendly” hotels explicitly refuse these breeds, while many others have weight restrictions that exclude 50-pound-plus dogs like Pit Bulls and mixes.
And then there’s breed-specific legislation in some areas, prohibiting pitties from visiting.
But hitting the road with your pittie pawl and enjoying the trip is not an impossible dream.
Just ask Michelle Sathe, a journalist who took a cross-country road trip two years ago with Loren, a homeless Pit Bull, as her sole traveling companion. Along the way, Sathe hoped to raise awareness about the maligned breed and, especially, find a furever home for Loren.
Loren eventually did find a home, and Sathe published a book about their adventure together, called “Pit Stops: Crossing the Country with Loren the Rescue Bully.”
Now Sathe is on the road again to promote her book, and this time she’s taking along Kara, another homeless Pit Bull, as her travel buddy. (Read the Pit Stops Blog to follow along on their journey.) Sathe offers the following essential travel tips if you’re planning a trip with your own pittie pooch.
1. Plan ahead.
Sathe says it’s crucial to make sure your accommodations and the attractions you plan to visit allow all breeds. “This is especially important if you have a bully breed, Boxer or Rottweiler,” she said.
If you’re planning on camping or visiting parks, Sathe said that while many national parks do not have breed restrictions, this may not be the case for private parks. Also be aware that while some parks accept dogs in their campgrounds, they may not be allowed on trails due to wildlife protection measures.
If you’re staying in hotels or motels, make sure there are no breed or weight restrictions. Sathe said she found that expensive chains have more restrictions than budget chains. Breed-friendly motel chains include Motel 6 and La Quinta. Most Super 8 and Red Roof Inn motels also welcome all breeds, but charge a $10 fee per dog. Sathe recommended figuring those extra charges into your travel budget.
If you plan to spend a day sightseeing, Sathe recommends you consider boarding your dog in a local doggie day care. Check with the facility in advance, because it may have breed restrictions.
2. Avoid areas that enforce breed-specific legislation.
Sathe altered her route to bypass Denver and the state of Ohio since Pit Bulls, and most dogs that look like Pit Bulls, are banned there. Check the ordinances of the cities you’ll be visiting before your trip to make sure your dog will be safe there.
3. Be responsible.
“If your bully breed is dog-aggressive or doesn’t do well in social situations, it’s probably not a good idea to take him out to crowded or popular places,” Sathe said. “But if he’s not, take him everywhere.”
Be sure to be a responsible pet parent by keeping your dog on a leash, and always have poop disposal bags handy.
Like Sathe’s traveling buddies Loren and Kara, a well-behaved pittie can help change people’s attitudes about the breed.
“Pit Stops: Crossing the Country with Loren the Rescue Bully” is available exclusively at pitstopsbook.com.