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road trip from London Ontario to Victoria with a dog

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Hello,
We want to drive across Canada ( From London Ontario to Victoria). We will be travelling with our dag. Any suggestions of how to breakdown the road trip to make it enjoyable ( we are flexible on the number if days spent getting there). Any pet friendly accomodation to recommend?
Thank you!
Stéphanie

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    Welcome!

    I did Ontario to Alberta with a cat, and the key is not to drive too much each day and make sure you have pre-booked accommodation. With pee/walk breaks, you won't be able to do really long days.

    When will you making this trip? If you are making this trip after mid October, you need to remember that you could easily encounter winter weather. And with shorter days, you need to adjust your anticipated driving hours downwards.

    Also, after Nov 1, you will need to have at least M+S tires to drive on almost all of the inland BC highways. Also remember how short the days get later in the year, and the risks of driving at dawn/dusk/dark with regards to wildlife/people on the road/accidents.

    Note that depending on your route, if you are going through national parks you MUST purchase parks passes if you are going to stop at all in the parks (even just to pull over). Dogs must be on a leash at all times in the parks (national or provincial).

    With the dog, you probably want to stay in Canada, otherwise you will need to have all the rabies & health paperwork each time you cross the border (which you should have anyway). The first day or two is likely to be long as there's not much of a choice.

    Day 1 - Sault San Marie
    Day 2- Thunder Bay
    Day 3- Winnipeg area
    Day 4 - Regina/Saskatoon
    Day 5 - Canmore/Banff/Calgary
    Day 6 - somewhere in BC, depending on weather
    Day 7 - in Victora

    I stayed in Comfort Inns, which are pet friendly. It's worth asking to see if you can get ground floor rooms with back entry - that way you can park right behind the room and go in & out via the sliding glass door. That makes it a lot easier to bring stuff in and go in & out without the dog having to go through the lobby. They usually charge a small fee per night for the pet. Book ahead because not all rooms are pet friendly and some locations are very popular with travelers.

    Note that you cannot leave the dog alone in the hotel room, so one of you will always need to be there. Generally pets are not allowed on furniture - though they often gave me extra sheets to cover the furniture/bed.

    I strongly suggest getting a good crate - I got my cat used to the crate before we left. Not only did it give her a familiar place in each new hotel room, but I could also put her in the crate if I needed to very quickly run out to get food.

    Bring enough dog food for the trip - some of the areas are pretty remote and you don't want to be searching for a store with the right brand. Make sure to have poop bags, bowls, bed, extra towels (for cleaning dirty paws etc), leash etc.

    If your dog has not done long car trips before, I might suggest a couple of trial runs before the trip. You don't want to find out that the dog gets car sick or very agitated on the long road trip. You also need to make sure that he/she will not be noisy in the hotel - if the dog barks or howls, a hotel is not going to work.

    Unless your dog has just had an annual check up, I'd also suggest getting a check up from your vet. That way you can avoid any unexpected medical issues that would require an expensive emergency vet appointment along the way. Your vet can also suggest solutions if your dog should turn out to be car sick or a nervous traveler. For instance, my vet gave me some high-cal, high-nutrition wet food for my cat in case she was not eating much on the trip.

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    I recommend staying somewhere in the Kootenays if you decide to drive from Calgary on the #3 Crow highway to the west Coast. To get from Calgary through the Crowsnest pass to Cranbrook, BC it is about a 5 hour drive. (route to west coast: Calgary-okotoks-longview-coleman-sparwood-fernie-cranbrook-creston-christina lake-grandforks-oosoyoos-princeton-hope-Vancouver)

    If you take the #1 highway from Calgary through the Parks the drive is spectacular but takes at least an hour longer to get to Cranbrook. You might consider breaking up your drive and stay in Radium overnight and go to the hot springs there a really nice treat after a long drive.

    I recommend staying in Hope BC the next night as it is then an easy drive to get to the ferry and be guaranteed to get on it that day with several sailings left rather than getting in line at the ferry and not getting on for the last sailing of the day as you are then stuck there overnight.

    If you are needing a trip outside Victoria- night over in Parksville and go to the Pacific Rim National Park the next day and stay in one of the towns like Ucluelet over night. The scenery is spectacular, the fresh seafood amazing and also stop by the cathedral forest on the way between Parkville and Ucluelet and you can see ancient giant Douglas Fir trees. Well worth the extra excursion trip.

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    It will heavily depend on the time of year the OP is driving across Canada. In the winter, you want to stick to the major roads.

    I don't know about dog friendly hotels in Radium, and the hot springs would be tricky as someone would need to stay with the dog.

    Hope is a great location, but again you'd need to find a dog friendly accommodation. Probably a B&B??

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