Staycation: Pets Included

Staycation: Pets Included

Amber Byfield
Sep 17, 2008

9-17-08_staycation1.jpgWe've always been big fans of the staycation, even before news anchors rolled out that term earlier this year. And now that we've got a dog as a part of our little fam, we like to include her in the fun. In fact, we think a stay-at-home vacation helps keeps pets in their groove: they've got their own beds, their own schedules, their own turf. All you're doing is shaking it up a bit. Introducing your pet to new activities can also build their positive socialization skills.

We'd like to share just a few tips for a pet-friendly staycation, since we happen to be enjoying it this on and then share your own!

First of all, plan on doing things you've never done in your city before. For instance, we'd never gone canoeing on the lake--it was always too hot or too crowded. But this week, we rented a canoe, grabbed some oars, and hoped for the best, as our dog Fin had never canoed either. It was a huge success. Search the web for pet-friendly parks and activities in your area, then go from there.

Secondly, and this almost goes without saying, but remember to keep it local. We eat out almost every meal when we have a staycation, and our only rule is that we must go to local restaurants. Our dog tags along a lot, so we've also made it a point to find dog-friendly diners. Plenty of places in Austin allow dogs on their decks, and even cater to the pups by offering complimentary treats and lots of water at dog-level. Well-socialized pets are often welcome at farmer's markets, too.

And, finally, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, do something totally wild, and include your four-legged best friend. Over the weekend, we participated in the Harvest Moon Ride: 500 cyclists stopping traffic and riding through the city from 2 a.m. until 5 a.m. Our dog stayed home and slept, but we saw at least one pup who got to ride the entire 25 miles in its owner's bike basket (cutest thing we've ever seen). We're already planning on rigging up a trailer so 60-pound Fin can join us next year.

The best thing about a staycation is that you don't need multiple days off to enjoy one. Take a day, even on a weekend, and try these things out with your pets.

Of course, if you're going to travel, there are lots of pets-welcome hotels and destinations. We know friends who've rented pet-friendly condos on the beach, or traveled out to beautiful campsites with miles of hiking for those on two feet and those on four. What's great about pet-friendly vacations is that they tend to be outdoor-oriented: and therefore, a little bit greener than a strictly people-friendly vacation.

So, let us know if you've included your pet on vacations before--we've got a few days left of the staycation and would love some tips.

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