Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pets on the road

I have noticed that taking your pets with you on the road is so rewarding, sometimes not so easy and in many places, welcomed. 
We have 4.5 dogs and a cat. While we don't take them all at once, we do take 2 with us.You know, the cheesy His and Hers thing.  Usually this is Dottie and Annie, who are the "inside" dogs. Winston and Wally are the "outside" dogs and rarely come into the house or even want to come in, for that matter. The times I did let them in, they both whined at the backdoor to be let out. So I figured if that's what they prefer, then I am fine with that. The .5 I mentioned is a newbie to our world, Maggie. She is so stinkin' small that I can hardly count her as one dog. (lol)
On the trips we have taken, our dogs only became a problem one time. Or rather, our poor planning, became the problem. Here are the tips we have learned along the way. 


1. If you can't take your pets with you, we found "sitters" for them. While we are able to handle 6 pets at a time, not everyone is thrilled to take that many on for an extended period. We are not inclined to leave them at a kennel and can't really afford or justify a posh doggy hotel when our friends, family, and neighbors are willing to take one or three at a time and love on them every hour of every day while we are gone. The perk to this, is if your "sitter" is tech savvy, you get picture and text updates of how your canine friend is doing! 


2. When the pets get to go - What fun! We have found that the only thing keeping your pet(s) from being welcome is a nasty disposition but mostly, the lack of a leash. If your pet is leashed and their waste properly disposed of, you are good to go in most places. Some parks even boast a fenced in Pet exercise area where your pet can run free. 

3. On a particular trip, we had taken Annie and Dottie with us. We planned to stay in our coach the whole trip but unforeseen issues arose and we had to "camp out" with my parents in their 5th wheel. My mom likes dogs, just not IN her space. So, we had to make alternate arrangements for our dogs. Thankfully, my parents have room-mates who also had a dog and were willing to keep our dogs too. There were big things to do, like install dog proof runs and jerry-rig the doggie door and crate so our dogs were able to come in but not have the run of the house. Oh boy! Apparently, they did really well.


4. That brings me to the crate while traveling or letting the pet run free subject. Annie is a  Dachshund/Chihuahua mix. She is a nervous dog by nature but when that coach/car/truck etc. starts up, she is excited to go but tends to freak out when it starts moving. She pants, she whines, she shakes and she runs back and forth from the couch to the front and back to the couch again. At first this was cute and charming but after a mile, I was over it. It wasn't cute anymore.
 I was envisioning the kind of dog who would love to travel, sit on the dash (dash-hound), and be calm, cool, and collected. HA! Nothing could calm this four-legged child. She was a mess. So our alternative was to load her crate with her favorite things: blanket, bed, Kong with peanut butter, water dish, and her favorite stuffed toy (Dottie). While this helped with the running around issue, we could still hear her panting and whining. A fellow RVer suggested we give her a low dose of Benadryl. This worked for all of 50 miles. Then we put her crate in the back bedroom on the bed so she could see out when she wanted, but had a softer ride. No luck - then the howling set in. I then put her crate on the floor in the bathroom and shut the door - maybe she wanted peace and quiet... NOT. The crying became unbearable even over the roar of a 454 with an exhaust leak (fixed now). So back out into the salon she came. In her crate. Where we were. The panting suddenly became the least of her anxiety issues.
We are still working on a solution for her. :)

5. Our dogs are used to grass - well, a weed patch, but that is beside the point. So when we stop and there is not a blade of grass to be found to do their business on, it can become a chore to convince them to go. I have seen the little green patch of grass that you can buy for your pets with a removable and washable tray but I've yet to take the plunge. It just seems weird to me. This whole thing makes me think that a traveling cat is the way to go. Anyway, sorry for my wandering thoughts - Annie is more persnikety about this than Dot. Dottie is old, has been around the fire-hydrant a few times and is no respecter of bushes, flowerbeds, or graveled lots. Annie will hold on until the bitter end and if I am in a hurry and give up, invariably there is a gift waiting for me upon my return. So, this makes miss Annie, the most problematic travel companion. In her defense, however, we have not been on the road that long so hopefully, she will figure it all out lest she get left with a sitter. So what do you do when your pet refuses to go without grass? I'd love to know! 

6. Children and/or overly freindly people- We know that children and animals have this almost magnetic pull to one another. Some parents are vigilant in telling their children to not pet strange dogs without asking the owner first, but not all. I love my animals and I am proud to say that they are friendly and gentle with everyone; however, this is a big problem when you don't want them "getting up in someone's bidness" on the end of a leash. They are good about staying, sitting, heeling, and all that, but what do you do when the person comes up, sits down without an invite and proceeds to pet your animal but then gets bent when said animal won't leave them alone? (I cave and put them in the RV or in their outside crate but really, I am seething that my pet has to pay the penance for a human's ignorance). So we've come up with a plan. If we are in our campsite and a "guest" comes along and invites themselves, we ask "do you mind our pets being out? We can put them up if you'd prefer." I don't want trouble and I don't want to hurt feelings or make any camper upset if I can help it. So, we cave.

I've rambled on too long... bottom line, take your pets if you can put up with all the little and sometimes big, issues that arise. Take your leash, harness's, collar, crate, a vet approved calming drug for your anxious pets, and favorite  treats. OR leave your pet(s) with a trusted sitter or kennel. 

Your dog-lover-for-life-and-cant-stop-bringing-them-home bloggerette

Maggie, the new .5 pup


  1. Awww, you guys are so cool! Anyone who prefers to travel with that many animals is AOK in our book. I hope to meet your pack someday out there on the road. Although our Wyatt isn't the friendliest German Shepherd, you might enjoy meeting him!

    1. We do love all pets! Well, I am not too keen on snakes but will admire them from afar, VERY afar! LOL
      Hugs to Wyatt and let him know that we do indeed look forward to meeting him and his humans, too!