Dogs used to stay at home when their owners went on vacation, but not anymore. Overall, about 37 percent of travelers bring their pooches along on the trip compared to just 19 percent a decade ago, and that trend doesn’t seem like it’s going to subside as more and more establishments advertising themselves as pet-friendly. Even B&Bs are opening their doors to your furry companions. Hidden Valley Bed & Breakfast, for instance, has a generous pet policy and 55 acres to explore together. Your well-behaved canine will enjoy his holiday just as much as you.
This is all good news for you and yours, especially if you’re active and like to stay fit while enjoying some fun in the sun — or under the Northern Lights. Here are some vacation ideas along with a few ways to make sure everyone stays safe.
Go for a Morning Run
This is the best way to start the day. It’ll help you burn off those calories from the big meal you had the night before while getting you nice and energized. What’s more, your dog loves a trot just as much as you, and there are other benefits for you both that go along with the fun, say the fitness folks at Runtastic.
For one thing, your best friend will help switch up the pace as they explore the area around them. Just remember to keep your eyes open, for your safety as well as the pup’s. A relaxing trip to the countryside makes for the perfect setting, though cities like New York also have nice wide paths and parks for joggers.
Take a Hike in the Woods
The descendant of wolves, your pup’s naturally drawn to the great outdoors, and it’s a wonderful way for you to spend an afternoon or even longer walking the trails and climbing the hills surrounded by stunning scenery and the scent of grass and trees.
The country’s national parks make for great destinations, as does the Appalachian Trail, which runs along the East Coast from Maine to Georgia. Backpacker magazine highly recommends keeping your dog under control at all times and yielding to other hikers along the way.
Have Fun at the Beach
If you have one of the many water-loving breeds like poodles or Labrador retrievers, the beach may be the best option, as they’ll get the chance to swim and splash around to their heart’s content. Both Fort Myers and Fort DeSoto in Florida have excellent dog-friendly reputations as do other beaches up and down the East and West Coasts. If you go, be aware of other bathers so your pooch doesn’t kick sand in their faces, and watch out for large waves and strong currents, which have been known to carry the unwary out to sea.
Get Equipped for Safety
As mentioned above, keeping your dog safe and under control is of the utmost importance, especially in crowded areas with lots of traffic. That means getting the right leash and harness to keep them by your side, even when they’re tempted to make a mad dash after other dogs. Other risks include dehydration, which can be avoided by bringing along a collapsible pet bowl or water bottle. Don’t forget your own safety either, which can be put to the test by the hot summer sun and an active play partner. You’ll need your own water and food for that.
Be Prepared for the Worst
As attentive as you are, the worst can still happen, so it’s better to be prepared. Start by researching the area that you plan to visit and learning about the dangers lurking outdoors. For those on the East Coast, that would be ticks, while blue-green algae poses a threat in the Midwest. You should also have your dog’s medical records on-hand as well as the name, address, and phone number of a reliable veterinarian. And like their humans, canines have vital signs such as a temperature and pulse that you should be familiar with checking.
Good luck choosing the right destination for you and your pooch. Remember to bring some treats along with you so they don’t go hungry, as well as a toy to calm their nerves, which can get frazzled on car trips.