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Updated by Jessica E. Claudio, DVM on Mar 27, 2015
Headline for Want a Cheap Pet-Friendly Vacation?
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Want a Cheap Pet-Friendly Vacation?

Spring has sprung and you and your pets are ready to get out of the house. But your loan payments are insane and you know you won't have much money to travel anywhere in the world during your break. Where can your whole family go to get away from your humdrum nine to five work week blues? Visit pet-friendly family to avoid paying monstrous boarding fees.

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Spring or Summer Break on a Budget with Your Pet?

Spring or Summer Break on a Budget with Your Pet?

The bird song is in the morning air, early spring bloomers are starting to pop up, and the temperatures are creeping up ever so slowly even in the Midwest. Spring is here according to the calendar, and we are in the midst of spring break season. Before we know it summer will be here, and so will peak travel time!

Planning a vacation is fun and exciting. Who doesn’t want to go somewhere exotic and adventurous, yet safe and peaceful all at the same time? There are endless possibilities from cruises, to guided bicycle trips, to backpacking across France! How about a week at Disney or an exclusive resort in Puerto Rico?

Oh, yeah, you have a budget.

Okay, maybe this year’s adventure will be visiting Aunt Stella in Chattanooga, TN for a long weekend. It could be worse. Aunt Stella has always told you that you are more than welcome to stay in her mountainside home. Her place does offer good views of the area, and it is very peaceful on her back deck.

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Visit Family and Bring Your Pet Along!

Visit Family and Bring Your Pet Along!

Decision made. You are going to Aunt Stella's house. The dates are marked on the calendar. All you need to do is count down the days until trip time, throw some clothes in a bag, fill the tank and you and Buddy are ready to ‘hit the road’. Chattanooga Choo Choo and famous chocolate factory here we come!
Not so fast! It’s probably a good idea to do a little more preparation to ensure that you and Buddy are well-received houseguests. Yeah, you know not to snoop in all the cupboards in your host’s kitchen and medicine cabinet. You know it isn’t polite to walk around in your underwear like you do at home, but has Buddy ever visited Aunt Stella? A little bit of planning ahead can make these visits less stressful for Buddy and more pleasant for both the hosts and yourself. Here are a few tips for making this summer’s visits pleasant and fun for all!

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Before you go, schedule a spa treatment for your pet!

Schedule a bath and grooming for Buddy the week before you travel. No one likes a smelly buddy whether that buddy is human or otherwise. Clipped nails do less damage to floors, carpet, furniture, and people’s legs should Buddy give an excited jump when greeted by Aunt Stella.

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Clean Up after Your Pet

Clean Up after Your Pet

Clean up after your pet just like you would clean up after yourself. At home you probably follow a weekly cleaning routine to vacuum and clean up paw prints from your wood or tile floor. That’s okay. You can live with Buddy’s footprints and not even notice them. But if Buddy should accidentally track in wet or dirty paw prints at your host’s place, grab a paper towel and clean them up! Even if Aunt Stella assures you not to bother, at least you made the effort and showed respect for her property.

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Don't Forget Your Pet's Personal Items!

Don't Forget Your Pet's Personal Items!

Bring your pet’s own food, dishes, leash, blanket and her favorite toy. This probably goes without saying, but it never hurts to be reminded. Buddy’s senses will be deluged with strange sights, sounds, and smells (even though he shouldn’t eat it, he can still smell that chocolate from the chocolate factory!). Having his own “stuff” can help to give Buddy some sense of calm in an
otherwise exciting situation. Even if the host has a “buddy” of her own it is wise to bring one’s own supplies from food to blanket. Think of it as taking Buddy’s personal items for him. You wouldn’t want to share your personal items with someone, Buddy shouldn’t have to either.

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Keep the Natural Balance of the house by following the house rules.

Keep the Natural Balance of the house by following the house rules.

Ask your Aunt about her pet’s routines (if they have them). Do they usually go “down for the night” at a certain time? You will want to have Buddy calmed down and quiet when the rest of the household is ready for “lights out”. Is there a daily walk or exercise time Buddy can get in on? Is there a particular part of the yard which is “off limits” to canine guests? Should Buddy stay on the floor, stay in a certain room, be kenneled overnight? He might cuddle with you in your bed at home, but your hosts might not appreciate the smell of his canine cologne in their guestroom after you leave.

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Bear Gifts! (Who Doesn't Appreciate That?!)

Bear Gifts! (Who Doesn't Appreciate That?!)

Bring a host(ess) gift x two (one from you and one from Buddy). It used to be commonplace to take a small token of a gift to the hostess or host when visiting in their home. If you have never done this before, it is time to revive this lost art of being a gracious guest. While you’re at it, take two; one from you and one from Buddy. If there are animals in the house you might make Buddy’s a gift appropriate for the host animal to show his appreciation for their sharing their domain with him.

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Exercise!

Exercise!

Fit in as much activity/walk time as possible. Keeping Buddy active will assure he appreciates his “down” time when he has to stay in his kennel or room while you and your family are visiting or ‘out on the town’. My father-in-law was fond of the old adage that guests are like fish; they start to smell after a couple days. Following this line of thinking, take advantage of times your Aunt is busy with their own daily routines to get out with Buddy to see the sights. Find a local dog park or safe area to take a walk. Entertaining yourself and Buddy will take the pressure of having to fill every minute off of Aunt Stella. You may have the time off for the visit, but they may still have to get in some work or at minimum daily tasks around the house. Then when it is time for you and your hosts to go out together Buddy won’t be distressed in his kennel in a strange place. Instead, he will be catching some Z’s dreaming of that chocolate he smells, but never seems to be able to find out in the backyard.

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Ensure that you are Welcome Anytime.

Traveling with our four footed buddies is great fun, even more so when our friends and family welcome them with open arms. With a little bit of foresight and planning you can ensure that both you and Buddy will be welcome any time! Safe travels!