With all the excitement of spending the holidays with my children, I never once gave any thought to the challenges of traveling with a senior dog.
I was too caught up with anticipation of seeing family and friends.
Harley turned eleven on November 25th…
Exceptional genetics, nutritional super foods, and an active lifestyle continues to give him A+ results after his annual physicals.
But he is still eleven years old.
When I think about it – that makes him older than me in human years and I struggle with cramping, fatigue and anxiousness mid-way through a lengthy ride.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN –
Ever since our retirement relocation, journeys away from home are generally spent with family. The human children always want to see the Boys, so Doodle Dad splurges on a huge rental to allow them plenty of comfort.
I thought I knew all I needed to know about pet travel tips. We had done this dozens of times.
As usual, a great deal of planning (and execution) went into scheduling this trip –
- Up (and awake) before dawn
- Car packed with clothes, food, water and gifts
- Travel doggie beds laid out
- Breakfast and a walk before departure
- Plenty of potty breaks to stretch our legs as we traveled
But apparently, I never took Harley’s age into consideration.
Eight hours later we arrived in Virginia. I noticed Harley was happy to see everyone but he napped the rest of that day into the next…
His eating habits were normal, but he seemed to need/want additional time to re-group from the ride…
Two days later he had more energy and seemed like his ole self again. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, we would be leaving the following afternoon.
HEADING BACK HOME –
What should have been an uneventful return to SC turned into a twelve hour nightmare.
There was so much traffic – it took five and a half hours just to go 82 miles.
Jaxson was either stretched out in Doodle-land OR he was busy watching traffic and playing “punch-bug” with Doodle Dad and I…
Harley tossed, turned, panted (heavily) out loud, and couldn’t get comfortable.
His behavior was so unusual, I was growing concerned.
Once we were home, he again, seemed to need an entire day (plus a few hours) to get back to the ole Harley-Darley…
TRAVELING WITH A SENIOR DOG –
The thought of leaving the Boys behind when we go visit the human children breaks my heart. They adore each other. I have to find ways to make the trips easier for him.
We already stop multiple times along the way. They have plenty of time to snack, drink, walk and pee. What else can I do?
There are plenty of sites that offer great suggestions. Some I knew of and some I never thought about. Like, this one –
Listen to your dog!
This article summed up my behavior pawfectly –
The biggest mistake I made was thinking I could set a schedule to exercise, feed, walk and give water to my dogs during our five-day journey across the country.
For example, I had planned to walk Kyrie every two hours, to help keep her from getting stiff in the car. This turned out to be a terrible idea, as she would no sooner get comfy in the back of the car than I was waking her up and dragging her out to stand in a grassy rest area while big rigs whizzed by on the Interstate.Eight tips for traveling with older dogs
That was ME!!!!
I wish I’d seen this sooner 🙁
VACATION OPTIONS –
Harley isn’t getting any younger.
I must begin thinking about other vacation options –
- Do I test drive boarding them somewhere?
- Should I have someone come in and stay with them in the house?
Many pet parents I know have a family friend stop by to feed, walk and cuddle with their dogs while they are gone.
So many options I just don’t know.
What do you do when it’s time to travel?
Stop back by on Wednesday to learn about “Jaxson and the bathroom caper” while we were on holiday!
Thanks for reading –
2020 – go confidently in the direction of your dreams ❤️