Senior Dog - How do you travel? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Question Senior Dog - How do you travel?

Can't believe my GSD is already 9 1/2 years old! I first posted on this site when I got him in 2010, time has gone by so fast.

My boy has some bad arthritis in his back and I've noticed lately that he just can't seem to get as comfortable in the car like he used to. I have a Toyota Matrix hatchback and have a back seat hammock setup. At times he'll attempt to lie down but gets up immediately and seems to be the most comfortable when sitting with his rump against the seat, nose out the window. This is fine for short local trips.

However, I take a long road trip annually and am planning to leave in a couple of weeks. Today I did a test run to see how he would do with the long-trip setup; both rear seats down with his memory foam bed in the entire back cabin. During the test run, he just couldn't get comfortable and stood on all fours the entire ride.

Wanted to hear from fellow arthritic dog owners on your car configuration / bedding setup, for your road trips.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 04:02 PM
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I recently took a 12 hour road trip with my senior in a minivan. I put the third row flat and used an old crib mattress for her bed. I think the mattress has more support than the memory foam I use for smaller trips. I also made sure to somewhat box her in the mattress area with my luggage and cardboard boxes or else she had the tendency to squeeze herself in odd places to get closer to me. I found that she was less sore after the trip with the crib mattress than the memory foam bed.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 04:15 PM
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Years back we had a old Dodge Omni ( a compact)..it simply wasn't big enough period...there was a time frame back then we had 5 dogs---2 of them weren't mine--the little Dodge simply wasn't big enough for even 2 dogs needless to say....after a trip to NC State Vet School with a dog who was hurting--couldn't get him comfortable when we went to pick him up 5 days later it was in a Jeep Grand Cherokee....we folded the rear seat forward-put a couple of comforters down and Baron was pretty comfy after surgery coming back to Virginia..........


As far as seniors with arthritis in the spine--we lost Beau early June of this year a few days short of his 14th birthday...he had arthritis in his spine and ED .... in his case for the last 4 years it was very very difficult for him to find a comfortable position to lay in our home on the floor--his last year was his worst....these guys usually just don't show pain--but in his last couple of months if I was looking in his eyes I could tell....I can't imagine him or any dog with arthritis in their spine being comfortable riding any long distance because of the bouncing-braking-cornering etc

Be kind to your dog..he's only a few years of your life
but you.. are ALL of his life
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your replies.

I've decided to give this SUV dog bed a try. It's supposedly made of "shock-absorbing" memory foam, made especially for car rides. It's made in the USA, they have a 1 year trial/no-questions money back guarantee and will even cover return shipping. It's a little pricey but if it will help make the ride comfortable for my pup, it will be $ well spent.

The journey will be 99% highway, so mostly a smooth ride. I will do another test run once I get the new bed, to see if he approves.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 07:17 PM
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That bed does look comfortable! If you don't have a ramp, you ought to get one for easy loading, unloading! I have a Dr. Foster and Smith dura ruff indoor ramp, it comes in two pieces and I use the slanted bottom piece to load moo in and out of the car all the time, it's a heavy duty styrofoam with canvas and a non-slip cover, very light weight but sturdy. I've had it 3 years and it's in great shape. I leave it by my bed otherwise. Looks like kohls has it when you google it, another company has the slanted style, "royal ramps". They're a little pricey, mine was like $150, but is so much easier on my senior dog and me! I've also wondered about using a styrofoam archery target they have at Walmart, around $15, would need something non-slip on top, to step up in a car, suv would need something higher though I guess. Good travels!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 09:29 PM
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Mine travels in the back seat with a hammock cover. Shell be 10 in November 😱 I just recently purchased a camping mat that rolls up for storage to use in the car for her. She loves going for car rides and gets butt-hurt when I dont take her lol Im in the middle of teaching her a help command where she puts her front feet up and I lift her the rest of the way. Also to wait for me to help her down. Its not that she needs help yet but Id rather train it now then later.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 09:43 PM
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Mine seem to really like a donut style bed in the truck. Bolsters on all sides. I think they feel much more secure to lay down in a moving vehicle if they have something to sort of hold them in vs something they feel like they will fall off of
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 09:46 PM
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What about looking into Adequan? People say it can rejuvenate older dogs and add quality of life.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thecowboysgirl View Post
...Bolsters on all sides. I think they feel much more secure...
I agree, I think the side bolsters will help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koda'sMom View Post
Mine travels in the back seat with a hammock cover. Shell be 10 in November 😱 ....
It's crazy how fast times flies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by readaboutdogs View Post
...If you don't have a ramp, you ought to get one for easy loading, unloading! ...
I have a folding step that I've been using, but lately he's been hesitating so it's time to get a ramp. I will definitely order one before I leave for our trip. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
What about looking into Adequan? People say it can rejuvenate older dogs and add quality of life.
Thank you for mentioning Adequan!, I've never heard of it. I'm impressed by the reviews I've read so far. My elderly mother has severe rheumatoid arthritis and has been on a self inject-able drug for years. It has greatly improved her quality of life. I was wondering if such a drug exists for dogs, this must be it.

I will reach out to my vet to inquire about this. My pup is currently on Carprofen, and TBH I haven't noticed any improvements. I can tell he is in pain when he starts panting. His panting subsides much faster when I give him a dosage of CDB oil vs popping Carprofen. Although I know the CBD is helping, I'm not 100% convinced that strong enough.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 10:48 AM
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If you have a small SUV, you can try using a household object as a step instead of buying a ramp. A friend uses a milk crate. My dog with HD uses an extra-large plastic kitty-litter pan bought just for this purpose, turned upside down:

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...n?cm_vc=-10005


The plastic litter pan stays behind my driver's seat to pull out for him. It's lightweight, doesn't take much space and is easy -- the ramps and dog-steps are much heavier.
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