When I was young we had two boxers who were wonderfully trained. Either they were the smartest dogs in the universe, or my mom was a terrific trainer….most likely they were pretty trainable and she had the knack. They were great travelers and went with us on all our summer camping trips in the back of the station wagon and graduating to larger space when my parents bought their first camper van in the mid 1960s.
Recreational vehicles are extremely popular, not only because you are bringing the comforts of home along while you “camp”, but RVs easily permit you to bring your pets as well. A local RV dealer has reported to me that even in this economy, her business has stayed steady as people have analyzed the cost of kenneling into their vacation budgets.
If you prefer to stay in motels or bed and breakfasts, travelling with a dog or cat is still possible. There are several websites that provide a great deal of information about lodgings that permit pets. Lodging range from moderately priced national motel chains as well as b&bs of all price ranges. In addition, restaurants are becoming pet-friendly, mostly by offering outdoor seating on patios and decks, but some have their own animals inside and offer water as well as dog biscuits!
Remember, when you call to make a reservation at any lodging, explain about your pet so you can be brought up to date on any changes in policies including size and weight restrictions and deposits.
Please remember some simple concepts to keep everyone, including the 4-legged one, safe and happy:
1. Research pet friendly lodging before you go
2. Keep a list of emergency vet clinics along the route and at your destination.
3. Rabies vaccinations are required for overseas travel as well as for returning to the US.
4. While it may look pleasurable, it can be hazardous for your dog to stick his head out the window as you drive. Not only is there a risk of insects and other windborne debris going where it can hurt, if you stopped suddenly, the dog would become a missile.
5. Also, a pet can escape if not held when doors are opened. Consider a pet harness for your dog and a car carrier for your cat. Always have the leash and collar easily accessible and on the animal BEFORE the doors are opened.
6. Consider sedation for your pet if it gets carsick but don’t use sedation for air travel as the high elevation may cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
7. Do NOT leave an animal in a car in the summer. There are solar powered fans that can fit in the window that will circulate air, but the car itself can become way too hot and cause heat stroke.
8. Make sure your pet has an identification tag on the collar. Make sure it has your home address but your cell number. Also include a local address if possible.
9. If your pet is flying, make sure the kennel is of adequate size. Airlines require vaccinations for rabies and other things. Always check with the airline before you travel in order to make sure you have the right documentation with you.
Now that you can bring your pet, make sure to consider pet activities when you custom plan your vacation. There are many parks that permit dogs on leashes, but some do not. Some attractions permit the pets on leashes on the grounds but not in the building. Many more cities have large-acreage dog parks now where your dog can run safely off the leash. Amusement parks usually have kennels, although usually only for dogs. Here are a few other activites that might be fun:
Cooking classes for your dog? Yes, in Amado, Arizona!
Pet Tasties Pet Café in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta provides three course meals for dine in or take out.
Boston will allow pets on leash on the MBTA trains. The ferry to Mackinaw Island permits dogs, but the horse-drawn carriages will only if the horses are in a good mood.Dogs are allowed to get out of the car and walk on leash on the North Carolina ferries.Pets are also allowed on ferries in San Fransciso Bay.
Canoeing on the Sequatchie River in Tennessee near Dunlap permits dogs with no additional fee, but doggy life vests are recommended. Pets are also permitted on several sightseeing boat tours and cruises in Florida and Lousiana. Check out Trips With Pets.
So, with adequate planning, EVERYONE in your family can enjoy a wonderful vacation!!!