A few weeks ago, I found out a friend of mine was moving cross country with her elderly dog. I asked her to write about her experiences here.
Traveling with a senior dog By Guest Blogger, Susan Geary
Our dog Emily has been a part of our family for the past 14 1/2 years. We’ve moved several times across the country in that time, and she has always moved with us. But even though Emily was an experienced traveler, we were faced with new challenges due to her age. Here is what we did to alleviate stress for us and our senior dog during a recently cross-country move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Roanoke, Virginia.
Planning and Packing
Because Emily has moved several times with us, she knows what’s going on long before the car trip. She sees the suitcases! She also has her own which contains food and water bowls, treats, poop bags, a brush, nail clippers, flea and tick protection, vet and microchip information, and anything else needed to keep her alive and well. If you’re contemplating a similar move, don’t forget ample towels for muddy feet and wet fur during the rainy season. Seasonal Weather
We have moved with Emily in the heat of the summer, early spring, early fall, and this time in late January. We found the January trip to be the easiest for several reasons. . .most notably because by this time, we were pretty experienced travelers. We kept a close eye on the weather and were able to avoid huge winter storms. None of us, or our vehicles, was subjected to extreme hot weather conditions that we dealt with during summer time treks. We didn’t have to worry about leaving Emily in the car if we ran into Walmart for an item. Additionally, in late January, the hotels were empty, and interstate road traffic was fairly light. We had alternate plans in case of inclement weather. The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck in a snow storm, especially with your beloved pets.
Food and Water
Be sure to carry enough food and water for the trip. At home, my husband would always cook for Emily. For this trip he packaged chicken and rice, froze individual meals, and then microwaved as needed from the hotel room every night. The chicken stayed frozen in the car because January temperatures dipped below freezing at night. In hotels without freezer space, we left the cooler in the car.
During summer road trips, we would grab a Subway sandwich or a salad at a truck stop and then take it to a rest area so we could all get out of the car and eat together. We noticed on our recent trip that a lot of the rest areas posted signs “no pets in picnic areas”. In January, it was too cold for a roadside picnic so instead we would find a Sonic or other drive through and eat in the car.
La Quinta, Red Roof Inn, and Motel 6 are uber pet friendly with uncarpeted floors in most of their pet rooms and no additional charge for the pet. We also stayed at Super 8 and Hawthorn Suites, where pet charges ranged from $10-$15 per pet per night. It’s important to let the hotel clerk know you have a dog. Whenever possible, ask for a room on the first floor close to an exit. You will want that for middle of the night fast potty breaks. Never try to sneak in a dog. Some hotel properties will charge an extra $250 for not declaring an animal. Call ahead and ask about their pet policy. Some hotels only have so many pet friendly rooms and they sell out quickly. Bring your pet’s bed along. Our dog never slept in the bed with us, so in the hotel it was no different.