Are your bags packed and ready for a weekend getaway? What about your dog?
More and more people are taking their pets along on weekend getaways. And that's not only a great idea (your dog will love you for it) but also potentially a lot of fun -- that is, if you plan things well.
Choose the Right Destination
When it comes to pets, there are two types of weekend getaways: the kind that are good for you (and your dog gets to come along) or the kind designed especially for the pet in your family.
What does that mean? If this is all about enjoying time with your four-legged companion, then it makes sense to rent a cabin near dog-friendly hiking trails, near the beach, or any place where your pet can enjoy some off-leash freedom. If this is your weekend getaway and you're taking your pet along, then the focus is a much different one -- although that doesn't mean he shouldn't factor into the planning.
Need some ideas? The website CampingPet lists dog-friendly campgrounds, cabins, and B&B's and offers detailed listings of things to do once you get there with your dog. Or check if the local beach or park allows dogs. When planning the getaway, make sure it matches your pet's personality as well: If you have a dog who loves to run, a trip that's all about off-leash fun is the way to go; if you're bringing a kitty along, it might be more about a safe indoor place to stay, and maybe a few big windows to catch sight of the local birds.
Picking a Place to Lie Down
Even though pet-friendly hotels and campgrounds are becoming more common, not every place will accept your pet with open arms. After a long drive, the last thing you want to have to deal with unexpectedly is finding a place to sleep. So before you hit the road, make sure you phone ahead to confirm that your place of choice welcomes pets. Some hotels might have a "dogs okay" policy but only if your dog fits a certain criteria, such as being under 20 pounds. If you plan on bringing your 80-pound "furry monster" along, you'd better make sure he'll be welcome.
One tip about accommodations: Few places work well if you have an energetic dog who will bark every time he hears the elevator or somebody walking down the hotel aisle. In that case, you might be better off going camping or renting your own cottage or cabin. And no matter where you're staying, check that there are doggie-friendly places nearby. A nice hotel in the middle of town is not that great if there's no place for your dog to play once you step out of the door.
Packing Up for Doggie
When packing up your bags, don't forget to pack a few things for your furry one as well. At the top of the list? Food. You don't want to feed your pet a different brand when you're away and end up with canine tummy trouble as a result. If your pet has a favorite toy or blanket, bring that along as well. It might be a good way to keep him busy during a long drive or when "quiet time" comes around.
A weekend away with the family pets is not impossible, but it does require some forethought. As long as you plan ahead, your trip should go smoothly!