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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27


Traveling with Pets
Today I thought I say a couple of things about traveling with pets. 
We have had pets with us ever since we started traveling through North America. 


The first year we had our yellow lab BOOMER and her excellence Ms.MOLLY with us. Those years we traveled in a pickup and a 5th. wheel and our two companions were staying in the backseat of the crew-cab pickup. To make it comfortable for them we removed the seat itself and put a plywood board in its place, which reached all the way to the front seat. We placed a nice mattress on top of it so they would not notice bumps in the road. If you want your pets not become a nuisance you have to make sure they have a comfortable ride with enough room for them to turn around and stretch out. And pets do NOT belong in the front seat!!! It is also a good idea to loosely leash them to the seat, so they don't turn into a projectile under a sudden break-up. You can also get a solid grate installed behind the front seats.


The second very important thing you should observe is making frequent stops every 2-3hrs. Pets are living creatures with normal bowel movements and they need to get out, stretch their legs and go about their business. Always remember to leash your pet when stopping along the road. Too many pets have gotten lost as they ran after a rabbit, were hit by an oncoming vehicle or simply never were found again by their owners.


If your pet tends to throw up under driving, don't feed it 12 hrs. before starting the trip. It will safe you for a mess.


Planning a road trip you probably wonder if you are welcome with your pet at the campground or hotel. 
Let me tell you that we only once had a problem when pulling into an RV-Park in Calgary, AB. The Park had a WEIGHT LIMIT for dogs!!!!  You can be 98% sure you will never experience anything like that. The only other restriction I have heard of a couple of places is that Pitbulls. Pitbull-mixes and Rottweilers are not welcome. Also, some municipalities have bylaws restricting these breeds. (Example for Pitbulls: City of Denver, CO)


Make sure your pet is no problem at the hotel/motel or campground. One of the biggest problems these facilities strive with are barking and/or destructive dogs when the owners are absent. If YOUR dog has a tendency to bark out his frustration when you are not home, then please don't leave them alone. Always phone ahead to your planned place of accommodation to learn about their pet policy. You can also find information on the internet for travelling with pets. Many hotels also post their pet policy on their websites. 


There are things you can do with your dog to prevent him from barking excessively. The secret is doing frequent WALKS. Your pet will thank you for that in a way you might not realize now. When you got your dog tired from a walk, your reward will be the freedom to go to that museum, to visit a National Park (pets are not allowed on trails in U.S. National Parks)  or to see an evening performance at the theater or simply go shopping.


We can leave our Molly for up to 4 hrs in our RV without having to worry that somebody will start looking for the number of the animal control officer. With that said you have to make sure that the inside temperature in your rig is not getting too high and that your pet has a filled bowl of water. On a sunny day the roof hatch must be open and windows must be cranked open on both sides allowing for moving air throughout. Also we always walk with her to get her doing her business BEFORE we leave. Establish good travel routines with your dog. 


Back in 2005: Our dogs, Boomer and Molly at Bodega Bay, California
If your dog shows destructive habits while you are off on sightseeing in town, you probably have to put him/her in a crate. Besides of the fact that destructive habits are a sign of wrongful treatment of the dogs, make sure that the crate is big enough so you can place a water bowl inside and the dog can turn and stand upright.


One of the things you can do is visiting public dog parks.  It is a lot of fun watching dogs interacting with each other chasing a ball or just running like crazy along the course. It's good socializing for both the pet and his owner. I remember specifically our visit to a San Diego Dog Beach where at least a hundred dogs were splashing in the surf and running along the beach.  Another example is our  walks through San Francisco.  We met many people who were just thrilled about petting our dogs when we came down the curb. Pets are natural contact creators. 


Give your pets a special vacation as well. They will love you for it and they sure deserve it.




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