Taking your dog on holiday/vacation? Some things to consider…

Diva as a puppyThis is a little late (meant to post before the holidays), but good nonetheless.

Almost every time my wife and I take our three rather large dogs (Diva's pictured, as puppy, to the left) to a friend or family member's house, I grapple with whether or not I really want to deal with them (the dogs, not the people.) They can be a lot of hassle and work, but in the end, they usually win. So I try to be as considerate as possible to our hosts, though it's not always the easiest thing to do. This New York Times article has some entertaining stories and tips about taking your pets on vacation with you, especially on holidays to friends' or relatives' houses. And though I do refer to my dogs as members of my family, I hope I'm not nearly as extreme as some of the owners in the story. An excerpt:

Difficult guests are no longer limited to humans. The boundaries between humans and animals have been so eaten away by pet therapists, pet designer outfits and pet bar mitzvahs, that it has reached a point where devoted owners, who treat their animals as privileged children, lose all perspective on the pet’s role in their social lives.

More American households have pets than ever — 68.7 million of them in 2006, according to a new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, up 12.4 percent from 2001.

Among dog owners, 53.5 percent considered their pets to be members of the family, the survey found. For cats, the number was 49.2 percent.

And the term “family member” should not be used lightly. Ari Henry Barnes, who works in a New York law firm, is so devoted to his cat, Romeo, that he wipes the animal’s behind every time he does “a stinky boom boom.”

Many four-legged family members are routine travelers.

Derek Welsh, the president of www.bringyourpet.com, a “pet-friendly” hotel and lodging directory, estimates the number at roughly 10 million a year.

“If you do get a green light, bring a lot of treats for both your dog and the human host.”