Should you bring your dog to your elopement? As much as I want to shout a resounding “YES!!! PUPPY OMG” The truth is, like many things in life, the best answer is “it depends.”
Consider the experience your dog will have.
Well trained dogs that are frequently your partners in the outdoors are much better suited to joining you for a hiking elopement than a dog that is normally at home for most of the day. If you think your pup will need to be closely managed on your wedding day, but will otherwise be happy and excited (and fit enough!), consider having a friend along who’s sole role that day will be to care for your pet’s needs so that you and your partner can focus on your own experience.
Plan a special session just for your dog.
If your pup is not well trained to be on or off leash, and will be pulling and struggling on a hike or around new sights and sounds- they are likely not going to have a good time (and neither will you!). Consider leaving your pup at home in this case, you can even arrange a special pet session so that your dog is still included in photos but can relax at home when you’re exchanging your vows.
If you are flying to your elopement destination, know that it can be very difficult and stressful for a dog to fly. Internationally, it’s often impossible for a dog to fly out for a short visit due to quarantine and vaccination requirements. For some short nosed dog breeds, flying can even be dangerous. Trust me when I say you’ll enjoy your elopement experience much more when you don’t have to worry about your pet’s safety during the trip.
Check the rules.
Most US National Parks, including Crater Lake National Park are only allowed in certain, specific areas. However, some smaller parks such as John Day National Park (Painted Hills) do allow dogs on leash. Restrictions on dogs in National Parks are in place to protect visitors and wildlife, so checking the rules at each place you are considering is very important.
Bring plenty of supplies.
You should always bring plenty of water and poop bags for your dog, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Never leave poop bags on the trail, even if you intend to get them later. An empty Pringles can make carrying used poop bags a million times more bearable! The hard cardboard will prevent the poop from being squished in your pack and the plastic seal keeps odors in. As a bonus, it’s reusable! It’s a fantastic idea to bring lots of treats- it helps with posing and sitting for the camera!
Be prepared for an emergency.
Anytime I hike with my dog, I am always be prepared to carry him should there be an emergency or in case he gets injured or over tired. For longer hikes and large dogs, consider purchasing an emergency backpacking dog harness.
What questions do you have about eloping with dogs?