On the road and at home, pets are an integral part of our lives. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog, according to the Humane Society. Our pets often accompany us on the road, including one-day road trips. Fortunately, it's possible to save money and save your sanity while traveling with the family pet.
Doggie Travel Bag: Purchase a day pack at a thrift store if you rarely take your pet on short outings. Otherwise, splurge on wearable side bags so Rover can carry his own gear, leaving your hands free for behavior management and the distribution of snacks. Pack the basics, including pet first-aid items, toys, snacks, water and an extra leash for increased movement if the rest area you choose requires dogs to be tethered to the picnic table while you have lunch.
Nature Trails: Check out a hiking guide from your local library, or access nearby state and national parks. Fees range from free to nominal, depending on where you want to hike. Your family will enjoy a fun fitness activity while your pet receives outdoor exercise and environmental stimulation.
Hybrid: If your travel plans involve a mixed agenda of activities, including portions of the day that are not suitable for pets, consider a short-term stay at a doggie day-care facility. For $15 during a business trip to Miami, our Labrador Maggie enjoyed a full day of group play, swimming and an air-conditioned rest area. She joined us again later in the afternoon for family activities where her inclusion was more appropriate.
Pedestrian Malls: Outdoor pedestrian malls provide exercise for pets and family entertainment. Some malls offer outdoor cafes, inexpensive ice cream stores, wide walkways, farmer's markets and pet-friendly stores, including a boutique for animals. The range of pets on the mall includes dogs on leashes, parakeets, snakes and even small monkeys. People-watching and pet-sightings offer an afternoon of fun for the entire family, including Rover.