For the fans wearing fur

When we head out to the fields, sometimes we have to leave the biggest sports fan in the family at home. Our very own version of Air Bud, Gordie (named after hockey great Gordie Howe) loves to go with us but some parks don’t allow dogs. We have discovered that there are plenty of opportunities to take your furriest fan if you do your homework.

No dogs allowed

No bark at this park

Bark at the Park?
First, check with the field or park to see if pets are allowed. Many schools will have a no pet policy during the school year but will relax it for summer competitions. Call the parks and rec office or tournament organizer to find out if animals are allowed. Ask if there are any restrictions, like dogs have to be licensed, or on leash.

Hotel for Dogs
If you’re on a road trip, taking Fido may be more challenging but I was surprised by how many hotels allow pets now. Search for a pet-friendly hotel by state at PetsWelcome.com or PetFriendly.com or just look on the website of the hotel you are considering. When you make your reservation, confirm that you are bringing a pet and ask for a first floor room. Gordie has proven to be freaked out by elevators (who knew?) and going up and down seven flights of stairs with him wasn’t much fun for me. You can also check with the area Chamber of Commerce or a veterinarian for pet sitters or a doggy day care near your destination.

The well-stocked Doggy Bag
Pack these items for easy traveling:

A collar with ID tag
No need to create your own version of the Homeward Bound movie if your dog runs off. Even if your dog is microchipped, you’ve got to go to a vet or shelter to get it read and that could mean anxious hours for you and your lost pooch. A collar with an ID tag bearing your name, home city and phone will speed up the reunification process.

A bottle of water and a bowl
Dogs need lots of fresh water, especially if it is hot out or they are excited. We fill up an empty milk jug with water and bring it along. Any container can work for a water bowl; this one from Outward Bound folds for easy storage.

A leash
Even if your dog is really well-trained, leashes are often required.

Fans in fur

Our biggest fan

Clean up bags
It’s bad enough to have gum stuck to your shoe so let’s not go all Marge Schott here. Don’t count on the park supplying clean up bags, just tie a bread wrapper or plastic grocery bag to the leash so you are prepared for the inevitable.

License or papers from vet
A copy of your dog’s vaccination record might be necessary if you are trying to get into a doggy day care or your dog gets injured or injures another dog or person. Some municipalities require all dogs to be licensed to be in public areas like parks.

Homeowners insurance
Even the best-behaved dog can become frightened enough to nip at someone. Or knock someone over with his 75-lbs of sheer exuberance. Just to be on the safe side, you might want a copy of your homeowners insurance, especially if you are far from home.

Other stuff
I usually throw a baggie of treats and a couple fetch and chew toys in the bag and make sure Gordie gets a good walk or some play time before we go to the park to burn off energy before the game. Once at the park, watch out for garbage and food left on the ground. Dogs can get very sick from eating plastic bottle caps or other things.

AKC has a handy vacation travel with your pet guide. Flying with your pet? Here’s a reference for air transport. And remember, leaving your dog in the car on a hot day is never an option. The dangers of that are well-documented.

Hope your trip is more wag, less bark with these tips. Please add your own tips in the comments.

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