Road trip in Canada with your dog | The Trupanion Blog
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Canadian road trip with your dog

photo for canada road trip dog and man on Vancouver bench
Vancouver, British Columbia

So you’re ready to hit the road with your furry bff to see all of the great sights Canada can offer. Before you hop in the car, you may be wondering what you should pack, how to plan, and finally, where should you go.

Planning your trip

No matter what kind of road trip you plan to take, make sure you’ve trained your dog for travel and know some basics of road-tripping with your pet. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccines, you have a leash, bowls, food, water, toys, id tags, medications, and pet insurance information. Secure your pet with a safety harness, carrier, or barrier in the car.

Once you have the basics down, now comes the fun part—planning the trip itself! Canada offers some awesome dog-friendly destinations.

Dog-friendly road trip destinations in Canada

Each province offers its own perks. As you map out your destinations, you’ll want to keep the season in mind. You may not want to visit the northern territories in the middle of winter—or maybe you do. Here are just a handful of great destinations across Canada.

canadian road trip dog
Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta
Photo by Jf Brou

Canadian National Parks

Leashed dogs are allowed in most areas of the 47 Canadian national parks, with some areas restricted to protect wildlife. These parks offer breathtaking views, long hiking trails, and pet-friendly accommodations in every province. Some favourites include Banff National Park in British Columbia, Jasper National Park, in Alberta, Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, and Forillon National Park in Quebec.

British Columbia

Vancouver, BC, is the perfect destination for a dog owner and relatively mild in temperature all year round. The city and surrounding area have plenty of dog-friendly attractions, bars, hotels, and off-leash parks. Take your dog for a stroll around famous Stanley Park or Granville Island. Some businesses are dog-friendly—just ask before you bring your dog inside.

Nearby, you can take your pup to Whistler DogFest in April or get a view from the treetops at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

The Vancouver Peninsula also has some beautiful dog-friendly hikes and destinations. BC Ferries allow dogs on the car decks so you can feel the wind in your hair and get an up-close view of the Gulf Islands. Once you’re on the peninsula, visit Victoria, BC, with its European-inspired charm and dog-friendly attractions like Butchart Gardens.

Alberta

Calgary, AB, is another great dog-friendly city, with plenty of off-leash dog parks and gorgeous hiking for outdoorsy types. Call ahead to see which breweries and patios in Calgary are dog-friendly, or take your pet to a dog-friendly attraction, like the Latitude Art Gallery.

Alberta is a fantastic province to stretch your legs and go for a hike. Banff is an obvious first choice, but there are plenty of great dog-friendly hikes around Calgary and throughout Alberta.

dog travel in toronto
Toronto, Ontario

Ontario

While in Ontario, you can always take your dog to a pet-friendly patio for a meal in Toronto, or take a stroll through one of many off-leash dog parks, like Cherry Beach.

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, take your dog to a pet-friendly lakefront cottage. You can take a swim, play fetch, hop in a canoe, or relax in an Adirondack chair with your dog by your side.

More tips for a successful road trip with your dog in Canada

  • Book accommodations and map your route ahead of time. Not every hotel will have room for your dog and campsites may be booked early, especially in peak season.
  • Plan to have your pet with you at all times. Many hotels will not allow you to leave your pet unattended in your room, and you should never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm or especially cold day. This may mean you have to pack a picnic for lunch and stay out of a museum along your journey.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and any natural disasters like wildfires in the summer or winter storm warnings from fall to spring. Be ready to change your route if needed.
  • If you’re crossing the border between the US and Canada, have the appropriate documentation. You can find guidelines for dogs entering Canada directly from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Know the laws of each province you visit. Ontario and Montreal have a breed specific law banning bully breeds who can be seized by law enforcement and even euthanized based on looking like a Pit Bull. If you have a bully breed, or a dog that looks like a bully breed, it may be best to stay out of Ontario or Montreal. Find full details of the law from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

What are some of your favourite road trip destinations in Canada? Share in the comments below!

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