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Farmers Almanac
The 2016 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

On the Road with Rover

On the Road with Rover

With their selfless, gentle, loving nature, if pets ruled the world, they would undoubtedly extend to us in exponential measure the care and kindness we give to them. In short, a summer vacation without “the human” would be unimaginable.

With Humane Society statistics estimating 77.5 million dogs are owned by U.S. households, and pet products now an explosive $50 billion dollar a year industry, the age-old family debate that ruined many a vacation about leaving Buddy behind is no longer an issue. Many vacation spots in burgeoning numbers are now accommodating — and even courting — pets.

In fact, many hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, cabins, cottages, campsites, and lodges now go out of their way to lure Fifi and Brutus (and the people who love them) with special pet-centric amenities. Among these are personal pet sitters and dog walkers at your beck-and-call, doggy daycare facilities, pet-designated hiking trails, agility courses, spa treatments, pet swimming pools, special diets, fluffy pet beds, homemade dog treats baked daily and much more, all available to ensure that both you and your best friend have the best vacation ever.

To begin your pooch-positive (or pawsitive) summer search, travel guides obtained online or at your local bookstore, and websites like,, and, may provide current information on pet-friendly lodging, activities and attractions, parks, beaches, travel discounts, pet-friendly cafes, pet-accommodating public transportation, and even local veterinarians, depending on the site. If you are closing in on one or two venues, ask them individually to provide even more detailed information about their pet-friendly offerings and restrictions. (Take heed, here, as some destinations require that no pet be left unattended in the room, which may inhibit other activities you’re planning, such as a day at an amusement or water park without little Max.)

In preparation for the trip, a visit to the veterinarian, especially warranted for very young, frail, ill, or senior canines, will ensure your pet is in top condition and able to adjust to a few days or weeks in unfamiliar territory. While some initial stress may accompany a change in the usual routine and surroundings, a medically sound dog will adapt more quickly.

Be sure to take along all medications and current vet records, including a rabies vaccination certificate, in the event of a mishap. If the veterinarian is willing, an extra copy of a form to refill your dog’s current prescription(s) will prevent delays and even worse in the event medication is lost or left behind. Though geared as much toward your pet’s pleasure as yours, always inquire of your vacation destination about what, if any, additional vaccines are required for your pet’s interaction with other canine guests. And, make sure your companion is up to date on heartworm meds, as increased mosquito activity (a catalyst for heartworm) is endemic to mountains, trails, ponds, and rural areas in general.

Where food and water are concerned, be sure to bring enough of the former to last (and outlast) the trip. If you run out, locating a store that sells your brand may be harder than you think, depending on your chosen vacation spot, and a swift change in diet may cause stomach upset. Also, a change in drinking water (with its indigenous bacteria) has been known to challenge the digestive systems of even steel-stomached pooches, so bottled water is a safer bet. Familiar bowls and toys will signal to your pet that he’s not far from home, as will adherence, as much as possible, to his regular exercise and potty-break routine.

Finally, though it may be tempting to avail yourself of the homemade pretzels, ice cream, and fresh-squeezed lemonade inside the many hundreds of air conditioned travel plazas that exist alongside major roadways, summer temperatures outside may top 80, 90, and even 100 degrees. A pet left inside a vehicle in these temperatures, even with the windows rolled down slightly, can suffer brain damage, heat stroke, and death in a matter of minutes, with the inside temperature rapidly reaching 160 degrees. If dogs ruled the world, surely they’d take care not to leave their humans in such conditions, and so should we.

Overall, traveling with your canine family member and the good times that follow can deepen the bond so many humans and their pets feel for one another, and start a new family tradition to last for years to come.


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