We have had our fair share of road trips this past year.
We also are not ones to leave the dogs behind. For the most part they are a packaged deal when we leave our house for an extended amount of time, unless they are staying with the grandparents or as was the case in Iowa we had friends and students watch them in our absence. (Man I miss those dog sitters!)
This does complicate things a little bit because we have to be able to problem solve what to do with them. Here are some questions to ask if you are traveling with dogs.
1. Can you have them where you are staying?
2. Do they need to be in a crate when you leave them alone?
3. How often can they be left alone, and how does this fit into your plans?
4. Do they need to meet a certain activity level each day, and is this attainable?
5. Does your dog have any special needs that may be impacted by travel?
We do not kennel our dogs because we are afraid they (mainly Grace) will revert back to when we first got her with her separation anxiety. Some people swear by kennels and have found really great places to leave their dogs while they travel. This for us is just not a feasible option. You must know your dogs and figure out what is best for their personality.
We have found that even though we do not crate them at home, this is something we have to do while we are traveling. We don’t need anymore dog-shaming for these two. They get into quite a bit of trouble when they are not in their crates when we are out-of-towners. Although our last trip home, Grace did Houdini herself out of her kennel and for the first time ever there was no damage to the room she was in. Dare I say my little girl is maturing?
We also quickly learned that hotels are not Crosby friendly. Since we normal do not leave him in a crate, he barks anytime he hears a noise while in said crate. Unfortunately in a hotel, the noise never really stops. We had to leave a wedding early because the hotel kept calling to complain that our dog was barking. Whoops…
So you need to know your dogs and figure out the best plan for your trip.
As a side note, if you do stay in a hotel, make sure you look at the hotels policy. Not all hotels are dog friendly or they have restrictions on size and number of pets. If they do allow pets, more than likely there will be a non-refundable pet deposit. You may have to pay this fee for each night AND for each dog separately, so make sure you put that in your budget. This can rack up fast if it is per night.
Our dogs are really good in the car, but I know that many dogs get sick on car rides. If your dog is one of those queasy ones, make sure you plan for stops and medication if needed.
We try to make the ride as comfortable as possible. We have a cargo carrier now that we put most of our luggage on so that the entire backseat is left to their leisure. We put tons of blankets down, although they usually end up all in one spot once they start playing around back there. We make sure they have a few toys so they can be distracted a bit. We also keep a small water bowl out for them as well. If our trip is longer than 5-6 hours, we will plan to have food for them as well.
They have their own luggage too. I pack their walking leashes as well as extendable leads for potty breaks. There are treats and toys a plenty in the bag as well. We also pack tons of carabiners to help secure the kennels. (Our dogs are escape artists…)
You need to make sure you account for stops and what is the most convenient stop with a dog. If I am by myself, I try to stop at more rest stops because I can get in and out a lot faster and not leave the dogs in the car as long. It is much better when Tom and I are together, and we can take turns which makes the dogs less anxious about being left alone. We also try to get them out as often as possible to stretch their legs, but you also need to be mindful of cars and area of grass. I have stopped at some questionable places with a patch of grass that is the size of my kitchen table. You make it work, and then remember to never stop there again.
We have been pretty fortunate to have such good travelers. We have had to make adjustments over time to find a perfect rhythm with them in cars and our destinations.
We wouldn’t have it any other way. They are a part of our family.
I mean seriously, why wouldn’t you want to take these faces with you every where you go?
And of course you get some amusement by bringing the furbabies along, like sitting on your sister’s face.
Do you travel with your pets? Any other words of wisdom when traveling with the furkids?