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Dogs for Boomers Who Travel
Written By : Susan Smith 
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The baby boomer generation has just started to retire. Born between 1946 and 1964, there are approximately 76 million baby boomers in the United States today-or about 28% of the US population. Baby boomers are healthier, wealthier, and better educated than their parents, and they can expect to live well into their 80s. They have raised their children and now they are "empty nesters" as the kids have moved on to lives of their own.

In order to fill the emptiness in the house when the children leave, many seniors get a pet or they inherit one from their children. As a matter of fact, baby boomers are more likely than other age groups to own pets. Yet, according to several recent surveys, baby boomers plan to travel extensively in their retirement, and many of them will face the dilemma of what to do with their dogs and cats when they travel.

Options include hiring pet sitters or leaving pets behind in kennels or pet hotels. Interestingly, however, a survey conducted by a pet product company found that more than half of all older seniors prefer to bring their pets along with them when they travel. Traveling with a pet makes for a more fulfilling vacation for many seniors.

So what is the best breed of dog for traveling baby boomers? It depends on the type of person and the type of travel. Physically fit adventure seekers who enjoy outdoor activities such as camping and hiking might consider choosing a dog from the Sporting Group, which includes Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, and Weimaraners. Although these dogs are usually good-natured, friendly dogs that thrive on outdoor family activities, someone considering this type of pet must be ready to devote time and energy to train and exercise their pet.

Traveling with a larger dog is also quite different than a smaller dog. The most comfortable way to travel with any dog over 15 pounds is by car or RV. This allows for frequent stops along the way to walk and hydrate the dog. Of course, the pet always needs to be restrained for safety.

For those people taking extended vacations that require air travel, there are many considerations when bringing a large pet along. Undoubtedly, your pet will have to travel in the cargo hold of the aircraft, and so needs to have an even temperament. An IATA compliant pet crate will be required, as will a health examination by your veterinarian just prior to flying.

For many seniors, and certainly for apartment dwellers and those with physical limitations, a smaller dog may be a better choice. Although they too need to be restrained while traveling in a car or RV, small pets make great traveling companions. Most small pets enjoy the change in scenery and are truly happy to be with you in a new environment. Remember, though, that no pet should ever be left in the car alone.

Additionally, many traveling pet owners also like the fact that their small dogs may be allowed to fly with them in the cabins of many commercial airliners instead of the cargo hold. Snub nosed breeds such as Pugs are not allowed in the cargo hold due to their breathing problems, so be sure and be careful when selecting this breed if you want to travel extensively.

There are other reasons smaller dogs may be a better choice for aging baby boomers. Larger dogs may be intimidating to strangers, and many pet friendly hotels have size restrictions on dogs. Older baby boomers may also have difficulty handling larger, more energetic, young dogs.

Smaller dogs that traveling baby boomers may want to consider are Miniature or Toy Poodles, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Pekinese, Maltese, Lhasa Apso, Pekinese, and Yorkshire Terrier. All of these breeds make great lap dogs and wonderful companions.

On a strict budget? Do not forget your local animal shelter!! They have wonderful pets for adoption and many of them have already been trained and are more mature. In many cases, these animals come from loving homes that, for many reasons, could no longer care for them. In most all cases, these animals are very grateful for a second chance and prove to be loving and loyal pets.

Whether a baby boomer favors travel by auto or air, there are few reasons why owning the proper size or breed of pet would hamper their vacation. Traveling with a pet can add dimension to a trip and make it more fun both for the pet and their owner.

Find out more about: retirement
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This is Susan Smith's first article.

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