Friday, February 16, 2018

Pets and RV Travel

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1. Pets don’t get motion sickness. 
They do, according to WebMD and, as in traveling children, motion sickness is more common in puppies and young dogs. They pet may not vomit but could  drool, vomit or lick its jowls. Or it could show its discomfort by whining, yawning or being extra active or extra lethargic. 
Stress adds to chances of a pet getting car sick, so make the whole experience as comfortable as possible. My dog Gypsy loves being in the camper, so she joins me there when I’m working inside even if we are not going anywhere. This makes her feel right at home when we are underway. 
If possible the pet should see out the front or at least out of side windows. This helps orient its balance system to the world around it. A crate is a good idea, both to contain the pet and any vomit. Position it if possible to the pet can see the road ahead. I haven't tried them but these relief drops for motion sickness might work for you.

2. Pets don’t need restraints
Pets have incredibly fast reaction time but no pet is quick enough, or strong enough, to withstand  the G faces in a panic stop or crash. It isn’t just the pet’s safety at stake. Even a small cat or dog could be turned into a cannonball in a crash, slamming into humans. 

Here's just one of the many Pet Seat Belts available. 

I knew an elderly man who always drove with his beloved pet parrot on his shoulder. In a minor crash, it was thrown into the windshield and killed. Here's a special bird cage made for safe bird travel. Birds are pets too.

3. Traveling Pets don’t need special food, water or medication
Depending on the trip, your vet may recommend shots or pills for snake bite, “kennel cough”, fleas, ticks  or other problems. 
Some pet owners carry bottled water, or water from home, to avoid upsets from drinking different water in every campground. 
    It’s always wise, my vet says,  to keep a pet on the same food or to introduce a new one very gradually. Abrupt changes in diet give Gypsy stomach trouble and a skin rash. Because her  brand of food isn’t available everywhere, I get the same dog food by mail order no matter where we are.

4. It’s OK to Let the Dog Piddle
Most RV travelers are meticulous about cleaning up dog poop but many will just stand there when the same dog piddles on someone’s tires or tent ropes.  It’s very hard to keep the dog from marking its territory and impossible to keep a male cat from squirting, but please don’t let another “No Pets Allowed” sign go up in another campground due to your pet’s bad manners. 

5. Campground showers are a great place to wash the dog
Not! Some people go bonkers if find pet hairs in the campground bathrooms. They go straight to the manager, complain, and yet another "No Pets Allowed" sign goes up.  If you have to bathe Bowser on the road, buy a small, inflatable swimming pool. 

6. My Dog Doesn’t Bark 
I once parked next to a couple whose large dog began barking as soon as they left and didn’t stop until they returned. They, of course, didn’t know that the din could be heard even when all their windows, and mine, were closed. It might take a tranquilizer, or a bark collar, or just playing the radio or TV while you are away but please don’t make all of us dog owners look bad. 

7. It’s a Cool Day, So Rover is OK Inside the RV
Even with windows open on a 70-degree day, a pet can suffer heat exhaustion in as little as 30 minutes According to the Humane Society, signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes,  rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.
Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke, say the Society,  if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

8. My Dog Obeys, so Leash Laws Don’t Apply to Me
Dogs can suddenly bolt or disobey out of hunting instinct, fear or need of romance. I once stopped to rescue a beautiful German shepherd that had wandered away when the owners stopped at a rest stop. Apparently on a schedule, they had to move on, leaving the dog. The heartbroken pet was desperately running up and down a busy highway, looking for its family. 
You could lose a pet, or be evicted from a campground for ignoring leash laws. 

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