Your best travel tips? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Question Your best travel tips?

I'm moving and it's going to be a 9 hour drive.

Typically I let Draco out every 3 hours at home or whenever he asks to go outside, but should I stop to let him out more often than 3 hours?
Should I keep water available to him in the car or would giving him water when we stop be better?
Any specific medications that might help keep him from getting car sick?

Any other advice is greatly appreciated! Haven't taken him on a ride this long before.

Draco

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:10 AM
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Does he settle nicely in the car? I would look at the route for any likely rest areas to give him a stretch. When we drive to our vacation spot in the summer (a six hour drive), our first stop is for me to use the washroom at a rest area with a coffee shops (about 2.5 hours from home) and my husband takes the pups for a little walk around the rest area. One may do something, the other will hold it.


The next stop is at a provincial park where we again take them for a little walk. Then it's back in the car for a few more hours, when we stop for gas and a third stretch of the legs. We could do it faster, but we're not in a hurry. We put their dog beds in the back of the car, and I find that they both sleep for most of the way. If they get restless or whine, we pull over (that's happened maybe twice in 2x yearly trips in the past five years).


Oh, we offer them water anytime we stop, but don't have it in the back (it would most likely spill or be stepped in). I don't have any suggestions regarding motion sickness. I know some people fast their dogs when they're travelling. Mine will usually get a few biscuits throughout the trip, and are fed when we arrive.

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Diva (Aphrodite de Domus Didacus, born December 4, 2009)
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 03:43 PM
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He's a mature dog? Riding in a crate? Does he typically get car sick? I don't generally make special stops for my dog, but if you have to clean up, you may have to. If he's just really anxious on the drive, I wouldn't want to keep stopping and starting the whole thing up again.

Doc

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:04 PM
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I drive to Fla from Va quite a bit and have travelled the country with my dogs. I bring bottled water as local water can upset a dogs stomach. I stop twice on my 720 mile ride for gas. While I pump gas I walk my dog (s). I don't make any special stops and have my raw food pre made and feed on the second stop. One the ride home I feed on each stop. It's about a 10 hr drive for me and the dogs go out when I stop. I do keep Gas-X with me and a first aid kit.

Dogs can travel well and easily in a car. I do have fans for my car and a battery power if it is hot and I am stopping for a while. Or I leave the car running and lock the doors with the AC on.

Jim
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:25 PM
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Potty stops are the hardest thing during the summer when you drive long distances alone. Obviously, you can't leave your dog in the car during the summer. Rest stops often have "no pets allowed inside" rules. That makes potty stops for the driver a little complicated. However, I found a solution:

I stop at Tractor Supply, Petco & Petsmart stores along the way -- and plan these stops out at 2-3 hour intervals. Petco and PS are in bigger towns; Tractor Supplies are sprinkled through rural areas. They won't mind you going inside to use that facilities with your dog. If you happen to be a woman traveling alone, it's also a safer place to stop than a lonely rest stop on the highway (and cleaner than a gas station restroom). They'll also have somewhere outside the dog can go. My dog loves these stops. (BONUS: there's often a Starbucks with a drivethrough nearby a Petsmart...not sure why, but it's definitely a pattern.)

I give water when we stop. Mine nearly always goes off his food on multi-day trips, but I do offer food on his regular schedule.

On multiday trips, I try to find a dog park to visit just after the sun comes up -- there's never anyone there that early, the dog can stretch his legs and fetch a ball, and take an off-leash poop before we get on the road.

The only antinausea drug I know of for car sickness for dogs is Cerenia. It's about $30/pill from the vet. It would be better to acclimate the dog to the car with lots of short trips, with increasing duration, for a few months before the trip.

For multiday trips, I plan out restaurants that are dog friendly so that I can get a healthy meal that isn't take-out, and my dog can chill on the patio. I also have my dog registered as an approved "camper" in the "Camp Bow Wow" chain. They have both cage-free and kenneled options. Getting in with them requires passing a day-long interview/trial so that they know the dog isn't a butthead, and being up-to-date vaccinations (so no "titering" instead). However, there's a CBW in nearly every major city, and they're all nearly identical (franchises), so when I want to go shop, sightsee, visit someone who doesn't want to see my dog, or catch a movie, I can park him at CBW for a half day of boarding (for about $20). They'll also wash him for me if we've had outdoor adventures leaving him funky smelling. It's made traveling SO much easier.

This kind of travel really reveals the joy of having an even-keeled, go-anywhere, decently trained, non-reactive dog. I seriously loved the four-day road trip I took with him recently.

Last edited by Magwart; 05-19-2017 at 04:34 PM.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:50 PM
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Magwart,
I leave my dog in the car with the car running and lock the car with a second set of keys, when I need to use a bathroom. I find that the larger chain hotels off the highway in a decent area are safe and the bathrooms are usually very clean. Hotels not motels, you won't catch me in a Red Roof inn or other motel parking lot unless I'm working and running cars for dope or wanted subjects.

I never stop at rest areas and wouldn't walk my dogs around rest areas. Starbucks is a good place to stop and you can sit outside on a nice day with your dog and drink a cup of coffee and give them some time out.

Jim
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 05:39 PM
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Out west or in more rural areas is very easy to travel with your dog as long as he's comfortable in the car. Last fall I took my WL puppy from Maryland to western Colorado and I was amazed how good she was. We were in the car for over 3 days, was about 3000 miles one way. The benefit of traveling in less populated areas is the fact that you can stop at most gas stations and there is open space and not much activity going on. Every time we needed gas we would scope out a gas station with a field next to it and would play ball with her. I noticed that she did not need to use the bathroom nearly as much while traveling, like her system slowed down from resting so much.
I'd let him have access to water whenever he wants it, they sell a spill proof bowl called Buddy Bowl that you might want to consider. I would also do some test runs with him, maybe a day trip somewhere to see how he behaves. I did get a mild tranquilizer pill from my vet incase the ride was too much for her but never ever came close to needing it.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 06:16 PM
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Slamdunc, don't you worry about someone getting into your locked car with the engine running? The news reported that thieves look for cars warming up in the winter time, so I'd assume a running car with A/C would be just as attractive...unless the dog is the deterrent.

You undoubtedly know a lot more about the behavior of car thieving operations than I do from your LE work...it just scares me. My attitude is take my car, if you must, it's insured -- just don't take my dog!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 07:16 PM
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Well if you are really worried get a "Club" for the steering wheel and lock the doors. I doubt anyone is going to cut the steering wheel or the club at a Hotel. We do get a lot of stolen cars, more than ever. A lot of new cars have the key fob and people start their cars and leave them running or forget they re running. That makes it really easy to steal a car.

Jim
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 07:24 PM
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Every summer I go to Canada with Rorie...I think she just knows the routine now and on the 2 days she is quite content to just take quick potty breaks and get back in the car -so that we get there-I stop and swim her along the way-and travel in the spring before it gets too hot
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