Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

posted in: Nonfiction, On the Road, Our Work, Travel, Woof Trekking, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

With the holidays coming up, many of you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Pet lovers may be taking their precious pups and furry felines on the road with them, perhaps for the first time. If you are new to the ways of Woof Trekking (road tripping with your pets), this may cause some anxiety for both the humans and the pets. But have no fear, we are here to help.
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We have been traveling with our two dogs, Izzy and Nana, and one cat, Billy, for four years. We have gained a lot of knowledge to share with you. If you are new to our blog, you can take a look at our previous woof trekking posts here. We have also written a book about our experience with traveling with our cat and two dogs. You can get your copy on Amazon and Kobo.
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You may be surprised that we travel with our cat, however Billy is a pretty chill cat who does fairly well on the road. If you want to take your cat with you (or a skittish dog for that matter), taking them on short, little trips to see how they handle going in the car is a good idea. We actually have two cats, but Tyra doesn’t travel well and prefers to stay home and be kenneled.

We have previously talked about what to pack for both your dogs and your cats. Some important items include: food, bowls, and kitty litter box.

Safety is very important while traveling with your pets and we have some tips to keep everyone safe. First of all safety in the car is very important, both of our dogs wear car harnesses so they can be buckled in. Billy also wears a harness so he too can be buckled up while riding in a human’s lap. You can read more about car harnesses here.


Some dogs and cats travel really well on the road and have no problems. Nana is one of these dogs. She loves car rides and watching the world pass by. Izzy is the opposite, she loves getting into the car but as soon as it starts moving, she becomes anxious and starts to whine. When we travel, we give her Dramamine, per the recommendation of our vet, and it takes the edge off. (Always talk to your vet before giving your pet medication.) Billy on the other hand gets motion sick in the car. He also gets Dramamine to help him deal with this. You can read more about Anxiety and Motion Sickness here.
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The last point we would like to make is about hotel safety. Some hotels are better than others but all should be inspected before letting your pets loose. We have found some interesting objects hidden under the bed. Our biggest tip is to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight to clear the floor of any dropped pills and other foreign objects.

Go forth and don’t be afraid to take your pets on the road with you. If you want to read more about our travels, get a copy of our book. Bringing your pets on your travels will make your adventures even more memorable!

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #2: Pacific Coast Highway and Carmel-by-the-Sea, July 2012

Woof Trekking Dispatch #2: Pacific Coast Highway and Carmel-by-the-Sea, July 2012

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After we departed Los Angeles, we decided to jump on the famous Pacific Coast Highway (aka PCH) to head north up the coast. This stretch of highway is 147 miles long and runs right next to the ocean, providing some extremely scenic views.

TWITTER PCH WOOF TREKKING

Our first look at the PCH started in Santa Monica, pictured below.

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As we drove along, we watched waves crashing and people frolicking on the beach. We drove as far north San Luis Obispo before we had to drive inland to our hotel in Paso Robles. (La Quinta Inn and Suites Paso Robles – it is one of the nicest La Quintas we have visited in the country! Very spacious rooms and artisanal lotions/soaps in the bathroom!)

First thing the next day, we stopped by Hearst Castle, but there was no way we could go since we had the dogs with us. (The only animals allowed on tours are service animals.) That being said we did stop by, get some brochures and used the facilities in alternating shifts. After that, we stopped by Elephant Seal Vista Point about 5 miles down the road.

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The seals blend right in with their surroundings.
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Do you spy the seals?


One thing to know about traveling along the PCH is that in some of the more rural areas, gas stations are few and far between. So if you plan to take a road trip along this scenic highway, be sure to get gas when it is available. We nearly ran out of gas, mostly because we were kind of balking at the price. California has some of the most expensive gas in the country.

pacific coast highway, california

It’s better to buy expensive gas than run out of gas, pull off the highway and have to call for emergency roadside assistance. You can use GasBuddy or Trucker Path, an app we mentioned in Tuesday’s post, to find gas near you (including the price).

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Billy was not a fan of some of the more curvy sections of the PCH. So if your pet is inclined to motion sickness, you may want to skip the Pacific Coast Highway or other winding roads whenever possible. See our post Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness for more.

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The Bixby Creek Bridge, an extremely photogenic bridge along the PCH.

 

After driving for a couple of hours, we came to the artist enclave of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This quaint little town is about 330 miles north of Los Angeles and 120 miles south of San Francisco. Following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, a group of artists left the destroyed city and migrated to Carmel-by-the-Sea, thus establishing the small sea-side town as a now well-known hub for art and culture.

This was the perfect stop for us to hop out and stretch our legs. It was the first trip to the ocean for both Nana and Izzy.

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Nana thought it was just ok. ?

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Contrastingly, Izzy thought it was SUPER FUN!!! ?  She loved romping around in the surf.

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We already cover our car seats with towels (so it’s easy to clean up unexpected messes), but we also had the foresight to bring a couple extra towels, so we could wipe off Izzy’s sticky paws.

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Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness (100th Post!!!)

Woof Trekking: Anxiety and Motion Sickness (100th Post!!!)

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First, we want to mention that this post is our 100th post on zydoyle.com! Can you believe it? We wanted to start a blog for a very long time, and we are so glad that on 12/31/2014, we finally took the plunge. Thank you all for reading our posts. We look forward to what the future has to bring! Now, on to today’s post, which is an adaptation of a chapter from our new book, Woof Trekking.

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Note: If your pets get anxiety or motion sickness when traveling, check with your veterinarian prior to giving them any medications.

Anxiety and motion sickness can be a big challenge when bringing pets on a road trip, aka Woof Trekking. Before you take your pets on a Woof Trek, we suggest taking several trips in the car around town a few weeks in advance. Then you can gauge your pet’s car riding personality. “Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car,” says the ASPCA in their great article, “Travel Safety Tips.”

When it comes to how well our pets handle Woof Trekking, they are all over the spectrum.

The Pro

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Nana has no problems on the road. She absolutely loves riding in the car. She is very good at controlling her body through twists and turns by leaning against the centrifugal force. She will crane her neck to watch the road through the front windshield. We are convinced that if she somehow acquired the necessary skills, she could drive to the park herself.

The Lightweight

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Billy, in general is very good in the car, but he does have one big problem. He gets motion sick. In the past, Billy has received a half tablet of Dramamine (Meclizine Version) on the first couple mornings of the Woof Trek, at the advice of our veterinarian.

It makes Billy pretty drowsy. We only give it to him the first couple days, because after that, he tends to have adjusted to life on the highway. The Dramamine works, but only up to a point. If the road winds back and forth, he can still get sick.

We recently changed veterinarians and he suggested switching to Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate Version) or Benadryl to help Billy with his motion sickness, but we have not yet tried either of these options. Talk with your veterinarian to decide what solutions may be appropriate if your pet is prone to motion sickness.

The Wild Card

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Izzy can get a bit anxious in the car, especially on the first day. She pants and can whine on occasion, but eventually she settles down. Like Billy, she has received Dramamine (Meclizine Version), per the advice our previous veterinarian, to help cope with this. We give her the pill about an hour before we leave, and she becomes much more mellow and less stressed. Again, we only give it for the first couple days because after that, she has adjusted to our new schedule.

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You might ask, if Izzy is so stressed, why not just leave her at home? We tried once in 2013. Everyone was kenneled while we attended a funeral. We were gone for four days. Nana did fine. Billy gave Mac the cold shoulder for about a week, but was otherwise fine. But while we were gone, Izzy went on a hunger strike. She can be quite sensitive and is very social. It was the first time we had ever left her behind, and it is likely to be the last. She is the type who could expire from a broken heart. So now, we never leave her behind. We are her ohana and we won’t ever forget her.

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