You may remember that before I traveled to Kentucky for Thunder Over Louisville and stayed around for the chance to see the Kentucky Derby I made the decision not to take my usual traveling companions, Scamp and Rambler, my dogs. They instead enjoyed a vacation from me thanks to the kindness of my two favorite Nashville friends, Anne and Chet. When I got back and pulled in to their place towing Max, my Airstream, and the dogs got a glimpse of their home on the road, it was difficult to contain their enthusiasm. (I’m not sure who was most excited – the dogs or Anne and Chet. Scamp and Rambler can be a handful.) I’m thankful these separations are rare and they make me realize how important my dogs are to me. They are part of my family.
When I was in Kentucky, I told a couple I met at the campground that I had left my dogs behind with friends in Nashville and they asked me about the experience of traveling with Scamp and Rambler. They said they were considering getting a dog to join them on their travels and wanted to know about my experiences.
I talked to them for several hours and later I thought I would make it the subject of this blog. However, it’s such a broad topic I decided to confine this blog entry to things to think about while you’re actually on the road with your dogs.
Keep Your Pet Safe When Your Vehicle is Moving.
Years ago, I let my dogs sit next to me in my pickup truck while we drove but after reading about some tragic accidents in which pets had been injured, I made the important decision to fit them with restraints. I use seat belt harnesses for both of my dogs. I won’t give you a brand name because there are a lot of alternatives for how best to keep your pet safe, including harnesses and plastic or wire travel crates, and it has to be a personal choice for each pet owner. But I would urge you to research all of the possibilities and pick what’s best for your situation. Your pet will thank you.
Take Up-To-Date Records.
Make sure you take up-to-date veterinary records for each of your pets, including vaccinations, and license tags, of course. A lot of campgrounds require you to have certificates of things like rabies inoculations. It’s a good idea, if you plan your trip ahead of time, to learn of veterinary resources where you’re going and emergency numbers. It’s also a good idea to have a picture of your pet, digital or printed, in your file.
Take plenty of Rest Stops Along the Way.
This is not only for – how shall I say – the “relief of nature” but also for a little exercise. Every few hours is a good rule of thumb. Make sure you take plenty of disposal bags and clean up after your pet. Remember, you love your pets, but many others do not, and you would not want to be thought of as a nuisance.
Stay on Schedule.
Try to keep your pet’s feeding schedule as near to your home timetable as possible. Routine is important for them even when you’re all on the road.
Cleaning supplies are a must, of course, because accidents do happen and car sickness is not a problem confined only to humans.
After covering much of what I’ve written here when talking to the people who had asked me, I perceived a look on their faces of “Uh oh, this sounds like a lot of trouble.” I would be lying if I didn’t concede that taking a pet – in my case, two dogs – on the road requires a major commitment of time, patience, planning and, yes, expense, but I can tell you quite honestly it’s more than worth it. Scamp and Rambler are like my children, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences with them as an RVer for anything. There is nothing quite like taking them on a leash to walk a trail in a wilderness or to sit around after dinner in camp and listen to the night sounds.
Be awakened just once by a cold nose nudging you in the morning to get out of bed and you will know the joy that I feel when I think about Scamp and Rambler. They’re more than my pets. They’re my traveling companions.
Livin’ the love,
*Disclaimer: RV.com, which is owned by Dometic Corporation, sponsors On the Road with Robin. Neither Dometic Corporation, nor RV.com, provide this blogger with free Dometic products, and this blogger does not receive a commission on click-throughs from links on this blog to RV.com, Dometic.com, or any other site. All references made to product brands are made in an attempt to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to recreate the experiences mentioned in this blog.