Vacationing with your pet

Vacationing with your pet

By Kim Gilliam

Summer is a great time of year to head out of town for a much-needed break. But when you bring out the suitcase, your pet immediately knows something is up. You instantly feel guilty leaving them behind, so should you take them with you?

While you may find it hard to be away from your furry loved one, they actually might be more stressed if they come along. Some animals aren’t well suited for travel, given their temperament or health.

Cats especially do not enjoy change, so taking them on trips typically is not advised. Consult your vet to ensure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations and in good health; they can also prescribe a sedative or tranquilizer and provide records as needed.

If you do decide on taking a dog-friendly vacation, you’re not alone. A recent survey revealed 47 percent of all leisure travelers own a dog and about 40 percent of them have taken their furry friends on vacation in the past two years.

Camping and other outdoor adventures are natural options, but it can be as fancy as a four-star hotel stay, as simple as a visit with your favorite relative, historical sightseeing in your favorite town, or simply snoozing in a hammock on the beach.

How can you choose a getaway that brings you the experience you want and takes into account your dog’s personality? Well, does your dog like adventure and excitement, or are they happier with peace and quiet? Are they a seasoned traveler or will this be a new experience?

Do they enjoy meeting new people and other dogs? If your dog is a social butterfly and you both love crowds and activity, you might choose a dog-friendly resort. In contrast, if your dog is shy and likes to run and swim, you might choose a quiet week in a lakefront cabin.

Now that you’ve selected a location, it’s time to do your research: Are dogs allowed in the hotel, motel or campground? Are there size or breed restrictions? Is there an extra charge or a cleaning fee for dogs? Are dogs required to be on-leash? Are there dog-friendly parks, off-leash parks or beaches in the area? Are dogs allowed on walkways, paths, or trails? Are they allowed in city or downtown areas? How about in stores, galleries, wineries or other local attractions? Is proof of vaccinations or a health certificate required?

You should also consider how accustomed your dog is to the type of travel you will be doing. Is your dog comfortable in the car or canoe? If not, you can take steps ahead of time to help them become more comfortable.

I have one client preparing for a mountain trip who can be found sitting in a canoe in the backyard with their pup right now. Planning ahead will help ensure a fun and enjoyable vacation for everyone.

The writer is the co-owner of Frolick Dogs, an indoor dog gym in the Eisenhower