I love taking road trips with my dogs. When I was a proud dog parent to my mutt, Simba, my (late) husband and I would look everywhere for dog-friendly accommodations so we could take him along.
At that time, India did not have many pet-friendly resorts being advertised like they are today. So it wasn’t easy to find even a restaurant where we could take him.
Despite the inconvenience, we took him on many road trips to Goa in our beat-up old Maruti 800, choosing to stay at my parent’s flat in Monte de Guirim instead of some fancy beach resort. I remember many good times, and at least one mortifying time on the beach with Simba.
As I don’t take too many road trips nowadays, I usually look for a reputed and loving dog boarding to keep my dogs when I travel. However, I miss taking them on a road trip, as we did with the older one, Tiara when we went to Kashid Beach near Alibaug many years ago.
And so I decided it was time to take Chewie, the younger one, on her first road trip. I chose Dapoli in Maharashtra, India, for the pet-friendly accommodation at the Beach Resort Igloo House at Murud Beach (This property is no longer listed on Booking.com, where I did my booking).
According to Google Maps, the property is a good 5.5 hours from Pune. But if I’ve learned anything about Google Maps, it’s that the distance and time estimate is a “best case scenario” barring traffic and pit stops on the way.
We booked a Pet taxi with Petxi in Pune and our driver, Ashok, picked us up early in the morning. He was very good with the dogs and helped us take them for short walks when we stopped to stretch our legs en route.
Given that it was during the monsoons and the roads were not in the best condition, it took us 7 to 8 hours to reach there. Along the way, we enjoyed some beautiful views of Mulshi, the lakes and streams and the hills lush with monsoon vegetation.
By the time we reached Dapoli, it was late afternoon and we were all exhausted from the journey. Unfortunately, the road to the resort was hard to find and we learned that there was no direct road there. We had to park the car outside the resort and walk there via the beach, fending off a few vicious strays who made their base near the food stalls.
I had carried a packet of dry food for the dogs but asked the resort to make them some kichdi (a mixture of rice and dal) minus salt and spices, with which to fortify their meals. The food served in their tiny beach shack was good, except for the fried fish, which had the taste and texture of leather.
The resort was bang on the beach, but we had to walk down a few broken steps to get to the waves. Our room was cosy and comfortable and did actually resemble an igloo with its circular construction and high ceiling.
Three adults, or two adults and two kids (two in the master bed and two kids in the bunk near the ceiling) could easily make themselves at home in it. It had a small balcony that looked out on to the ocean.
The only unpleasant sight was a largish channel dug in the sand near the rooms. I couldn’t fathom the purpose of this channel at that point.
Sometime at night, a large bulldozer came in and started working the sand in the channel right outside our room. The sound was deafening and I was forced to complain about it to the most readily available person lurking about, asking how long it would continue.
He told me it would continue all night and I was aghast. I protested vigorously and the bulldozer vanished after a while. Apparently, the channel was being dug to create a parking lot on the property.
Never mind that it was a weekday, I was just shocked that they would start construction right outside a guest’s room at night with no regard for their peace of mind. That’s one reason I wouldn’t recommend you stay at this place if you’re going to Dapoli.
Instead, here are a few decent, pet-friendly resorts by the beach in Dapoli, Maharashtra.
Other than that incident with the bulldozer, we had a pretty good time over the next couple of days. Our dogs had fun swimming in the ocean, while one of us kept watching for the strays. For me, this was a test trip, to see how well they would endure a long car journey.
I was happy to find that they enjoyed it very much and – thanks to the powerful air conditioning in the car – were reluctant to get out whenever we made a pit stop. Our next long road trip with the dogs will be to Goa, where the beaches are much better and the food is, too.
Make sure your car air-conditioning is working well. Either that or keep the windows open and let the breeze in. There’s nothing worse for dogs than a hot car.
- Drive slowly and at a steady pace. Long drives can be stressful and bumps can cause your dog’s heart rate to skyrocket.
- Keep your dog’s water bowls handy and give them lots of water to drink on the way. Don’t let them get dehydrated.
- Carry a mattress for your dog’s comfort. I forgot to carry one on this trip and wished I had.
- If you’re going with a driver, as many Indian families do, make sure he’s very comfortable with dogs.
Can you think of any more tips for long road trips with dogs? Post them in the comments below.