Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Deciding Whether To Take Your Dog On Vacation

As dog owners, we understandably dote over our dogs and treat them as veritable members of the family. We take them to day care, methodically check their weight, make sure that they aren’t too afraid during a storm, and always have their best interests at stake when we search for discount pet meds online.

But even though our dogs feel like members of the family, they often get left behind when family events occur. They cannot go out to a restaurant or go watch a dance recital after all, and they usually cannot accompany you when you travel on vacation. This can be hard for both the dog and the owner, especially when a longer vacation is involved. You certainly want to get away, explore a new place, and take a break from the routine, but your family vacation still won’t feel complete when Fido is sitting in a pen back home.

There are, however, some vacations that can more easily accommodate canine members of the family. These vacations are those that involve driving to a nearby destination rather than flying to a far one, and they usually occur during the summer rather than the winter months.
If you are already looking ahead to the coming summer, you may already have a family driving trip in mind. And, if you do, you may be wondering whether there’s any chance that your dog can come along. If you are, here are a few questions to keep in mind:

-Is your dog allowed to stay with you? Unless you’re getting around via RV, your lodging situation is the most important factor to consider when determining whether the dog can come along. Some hotels and rental homes – even some high-end ones – will gladly welcome canine visitors. Others will not. Others will permit doggy guests, but force you to pay a substantial fee. Before you go, then, call individual hotels or check out a site such as Dogfriendly.com to find an appropriate lodging option.

-Can someone be with the dog at all times? If you have an independent dog and are staying in an apartment or rental home, you may be able to leave him alone during the day just as you would at your own house. But most dogs will not take kindly to being left alone in a new place while on vacation. It is therefore important that the logistics of your trip permit the dog to be with you (or with a family member) at all times. Is someone willing to stay back with the dog if the whole family goes to an indoor restaurant or an amusement park? Just as with a small child, you’re going to need to account for your pet at all times.

-Would your dog be better or worse off back home? Your dog’s wellness should also come into play when this decision is being made. Some owners will automatically assume that the dog is better off coming with the family on vacation than being left behind in a kennel or with a family friend. Sometimes this assumption is accurate, but other times it is not. Ask yourself: how has your dog done when left at the kennel in the past? Has he come home acting quiet and subdued? Has he been averse to going back? Use such signs to determine the suitability of staying at the kennel or someone else’s house.

Hopefully these considerations can help you decide whether or not to bring your dog on a family vacation. While it is certainly tempting to always bring our friends with us, we need to ask beforehand whether doing so is in their best interest or in ours.

2 comments:

euthymic

Nice tips! Mom doesn't take us on vacation, but we are making her read this so she will give it more thought:)

Mocha Barney, Ashley Pumpernickel and Winniechurchill

Kay L. Davies

We have long discussions on this subject. Fortunately, Lindy has friends who love her almost as much as we do, so she stays there when we go away. However, she is very good in hotels and loves to ride in the car, so we're discussing a North American road trip with overnights at dog-friendly hotels or motels.
The funny thing about Lindy staying with our friends in Medicine Hat, is they take her to Saskatchewan when they go to visit their family there, so she has travelled as much with them as she has with us, if not more.
K

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