Staying Fit on a Vacation With Your Four-Legged Best Friend

If you’re committed to regular exercise, particularly jogging or walking, you probably keep up that healthy habit even when you’re on vacation. And if you own a dog, chances are he or she is your exercise buddy and goes right along with you. Dogs love to be in our presence, and we truly hate to leave them behind in a kennel, pet hotel, or with a sitter for the entire time we’re on vacation, or even on a short business trip. In fact, writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Marc Bekoff claims that dogs themselves are more highly stressed than we realize, and they definitely feel the effects when we’re being away.   

 

So why not take your four-legged friend on vacation with you? In fact, make your dog part of your vacation plans. And if he’s part of your exercise routine when you’re at home, have him part of your exercise routine when you’re on vacation, too. Not only will the two of you keep up your fitness habits, but your dog will also be less stressed.

 

Here are four ways to have a great — and healthy — vacation with your dog.

 

Plan Early

 

It’s tempting to just pile the family and the dog into the minivan for a spontaneous road trip. However, since you’ll be taking your canine friend with you on your vacation, you need to factor in a dog-friendly destination. Ideally, you should try to avoid long stays at amusement parks because you’ll end up either putting the dog in a pet hotel or other type of facility, which will, of course, add to his stress. So, plan the type of vacation that you and your dog (and, yes, the rest of the family, too) will enjoy, such as a beach, a wooded area with a designated hiking trail, a place to kayak, or just strolling alongside a lake. There are also a number of dog-friendly cities that might be ideal destinations. Many cities have dog parks where your pup can get in his exercise (just make sure you supervise him and keep a close eye on any signs of aggression from other animals). Either way, find a place where you two can keep up your exercise habits together with a daily run or walk.

 

Make Sure the Dog’s Shots and Tags Are Up-to-Date

 

Before you set out, make sure your pet is vaccinated and properly licensed. In addition, if your dog hasn’t been microchipped, have that done immediately, and have a tag made with the dog’s name and your cell phone number on it. In case your dog gets away from you, you’ll want to have every chance of him coming back home safe and sound.

 

Chart a Pet-Friendly Course

 

After you choose a destination, determine where the pet-friendly hotels are along the way. This also means you’ll need to factor in the dog when you’re determining the trip’s budget since many hotels will charge a fee for the dog based on weight and other factors. You’ll also need to pack enough dog food for the entire trip, plus you’ll need to include stops for bathroom and water breaks. It’s also a good idea to make some time for a few extra scenic stops (so you and your friend so you can have a nice run or walk together).

 

Include Some of the Essentials of Home

 

No matter where you end up staying (resort, hotel, or lodge or cabin), make sure your dog has some of his belongings, such as a blanket, some toys, rawhide chews, or anything of his that has the scent of home. This not only gives him things to do when you’re not out having fun together but also gives some comfort for those times when you are out on your own or with your family. You should also invest in a foldable crate for him to stay in so he won’t wander freely around the room and possibly do some damage.

 

It’s not hard for you and your dog to keep up your regular exercise routine together when you’re on vacation. Just plan it well, keep it pet-friendly, and that way you can make some great memories together.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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