Aw, the joy of vacationing with your kids and their pets — there's just something about the yelling, the fighting, and the hurricane of boredom, angst, and misbehaving that can unleash at any moment.
The last thing we want on a vacation is more stress and work that leaves us with a powerful headache and a desire to be back at the office. So let’s look at ways to make vacationing with your children, regardless of their hairiness level, enjoyable.
#1 Finding A Vacation Space
It’s important that you find a vacation spot that will work for both your kids and pets — because it’s not like it’s hard enough already finding a place for your kids alone. But don’t worry, there are plenty of vacation spots that work great for both your kids and their pets.
A dog-friendly beach is the perfect place to go, and who doesn’t love the beach? Hiking, camping, and fishing are great vacation activities as well. Plus, the wilderness will help bond your children to nature and help them better appreciate the world around them.
Really, the things that you want to avoid are places that require extensive traveling and as such would require a different mode of transportation other than your car. Oh, and avoid amusement parks, because those just don’t seem like a good idea.
#2 Finding a Pet-Friendly Resort
It’s pretty easy finding a pet-friendly place to stay depending on the city so let’s look at the best cities for dogs.
San Diego is full of off-leash parks and there are a ton of places to find pet-friendly restaurants that not only allow dogs, but also serve them up their own dish. Austin, Texas boasts even more off-leash parks, and instead of pet-friendly restaurants (they have those too), they have doggy yoga classes. I think a little friendly competition of “who can do the best downward dog” is in order
San Francisco, Charlottesville, Chicago, Portland, Arizona, and Seattle round out the best 8 cities to take your pet.
#3 Laying Down The Rules
There is a lot of time to build up boredom on those long drives, and both your pet and kids will become increasingly more antsy by the minute. Have separate rules for the car and really lay down the law. Now, make sure to plan out places on the way where your kids and pet can stretch their legs and get that pent up energy out.
Also, if you can create a barrier between your kids and the pets then go for it because the second one goes off, it triggers the others. You can also use the barrier to separate your kids themselves if needed.
#4 When You Shouldn’t Take You Pet
While it’s always a nice idea to include your pets into your adventures, sometimes it doesn’t work that way, and maybe your pet just isn’t a great candidate.
Cats are super self-sufficient and don’t seem to mind us leaving. That might be tough to hear, but ask yourself this. Would my cat prefer to be left at home for a few days or locked up in a crate in the car so he can see the beach? I think we both know the answer!
For dogs, you’ll need to judge their anxiety levels because they probably will get nervous at some point. If you’re in a tricky situation where they are anxious if you leave, but are equally as anxious if you take them somewhere, consider an anti-anxiety medication.
You can talk to your vet about a temporary prescription medication like Diazepam or look into a natural alternative for treating anxiety such as CBD oil.
#5 Microchips and Tags
Before you leave the house make sure your pets’ tags are all up to date, and that you have the required tags with you before you leave. Nobody wants to think about their escaping, especially in an unknown place, but this means it’s even more important to get your cats and dogs microchipped.
If your pet has been microchipped already, don’t forget to update it if you’ve changed addresses. As well, make sure the microchip company or vet has your cell phone instead of your home address so they can still reach you — this is extremely important if you’re going on a long vacation.
#6 Setting Sail: Packing List
When you take your pet on vacation there will be items that are a must.
Food — I mean, they have to eat after all. More important, however, is making sure they have access to water whenever they need it. So make sure you don’t forget their food and water bowls, and think about getting a spill-proof container for holding water — water bottles are fine, but you’ll need several depending on their size.
Waste bags — Hopefully, you’re comfortable picking up your pet’s waste. If not, get ready to be.
Sheet — Any old sheet will do, because you’ll just want to have one laying around in case you need to cover furniture, etc.
Odor control — Just make sure it’s not toxic to pets.
#7 Don’t Take a Chance: Plan it All Out
This is important — yeah, it sucks that you have to do so much extra work to prepare for vacation, but you’ll be thankful you did when you’re laying on that sunny beach with a boozy beverage in hand and the sea salt-tinge wind in your hair.
The first time you vacation with your children of all shapes, sizes, and hairiness don’t feel bad if it feels like you’re over-preparing because it’s most likely for the best. Hey, I just want you to enjoy your vacation, and I hope you and your family have a great time.