Taking your pet on a road trip

Pets as full fledged family members are no longer being left in a cattery or kennel when their humans hit the road. According to the Travel Industry Association, during the past three years more than 29 million American adults have taken a road trip of 50 miles or more with an animal companion. The most common pet passengers are dogs (78 percent), cats (15 percent), small animals such as ferrets and rabbits (3 percent) and birds (2 percent). Harnessed cats on leash are common in recreational vehicle circles.

Endless lists of budget motels to five-star hotels that welcome pets are easily available. Some offer walking services, gourmet doggie biscuits, personalized tags, plush pet bedding, toys and bowls. The W hotel in Seattle offers pet turndown service. Travel plans can include stops at exclusive, members only, private dog parks. The American Automobile Association pet friendly directory includes 13,000 pet friendly lodging facilities, local off-leash dogs parks and national parks. Other directories include pets welcomed restaurants, beaches, public parks, and entire communities where you and your pet are welcome as long as you pack waste pick up bags and have a good dog attitude.

Dogfriendly.com has a Top 10 list of dog friendly resort regions in the United Stated and Canada. Recent rankings include: Monterey/Carmel Calif., Black Hills S.D., Jekyll Island, Ga., Key West, Fla., Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, Mass., Yellowstone/Grand Teton, Wy., Mackinac Island, Mich., St. Augustine, Fla., Acadia/Bar Harbor, Maine and Hocking Hills, Ohio.

For example, want to explore wine country? Check you and your pooch into the Petaluma Dairydell Doggie Dude Ranch and Training Center. You can hit the tasting rooms while Rover has a ball - with or without you. Dairydell guests choose from boarding and daycare, obedience training, herding, agility, and other activities, grooming, educational seminars, and Dairydell's private dog park.

Dog Fancy magazine readers rate 10 Best Dog Parks each year. Top awards have gone to Freedom Bark Park in Lowell, Ind., and Jackass Acres K-9 Korral in New River, Ariz., is called one of the "greenest" dog parks in America. Dog waste is recycled and electricity is generated via solar power. Other high ranking parks include Pilgrim Bark Park, Provincetown, Mass., Kenton Paw Park, Covington, Ky., Cosmo Dog Park, Gilbert, Ariz., Puptown Dog Park, Chicago, W.O.O.F. P.A.C. Park, Santa Maria, Calif., Hermon Dog Park, Los Angeles, Prairie Pastures Dog Park, Clinton, Iowa, Wantage Dog Park, Wantage, N.J., and Bow Wow Beach, Stow, Ohio.

Wherever the wind takes you, remember to pack travel gear for your pet: vaccination records, current photo in case your pet gets lost, your mobile contact on a collar tag, updated microchip registration, extra leash, seat belt safety harness attachment, sturdy airline type crate with absorbent towel, litter and litter box, a pet first aid kit, protective paw boots, familiar food and extra water, favorite bedding and toys. brush, comb and lint remover, waste bags, old towels, disinfectant spray, sheets to put on furniture where you stay. In addition, it's a fact that music can calm pets so consider taking "Through a Dog's Ear - Music to Calm Your Dog in the Car," available on Amazon.com.

• Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animalsto help "Keep Tahoe Kind." Dawn Armstrong is the executive directorof the Lake Tahoe HumaneSociety and SPCA.


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