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Old 04-25-2002, 08:58 AM   #1
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Pets in the motorhome

Edie -

I am specifically addressing this to you since you travel in your motorhome with a dog as big as mine (or used to?) - where does your dog stay while the motorhome is moving - in a crate (there is no room for a crate as large as I need, let alone a crate that is as large as I need!)?

What do you do with the dog while you leave the campsite and cannot take him with you? Do you leave him inside the motorhome with the a/c running off hook-ups/generator?

Finally, have you encountered any restrictions and/or difficulty while traveling with your dog and has it stopped you from thoroughly enjoying this lifestyle?

Thanks for your feedback!

-Emily
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Old 04-25-2002, 10:13 AM   #2
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You didn't address this to me, but, we have been traveling with our dog who is smaller, 14 lbs or so. We always check the park requirements before planning/arriving there, as some require pet vaccination certification, shorter leashes, or no pets at all. Also of course they require good pet owner "manners" when there.
So far it has all been smooth, with tying him out when we are around, and putting him in the coach with air on if necessary- or at least fan, and leaving him that way for a few hours at a time. My challenge will come this summer when it is hotter, and we might have to leave for longer than a few hours in some instances. I hope to work those details out as the time approaches.
Traveling on the road he is free to roam, and we stop occasionally at a rest area as needed. I find our dog loves the motorhome, and jumps in ready to go whenever I am out working on it.( which is often- its an obsessive hobby)
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Old 04-25-2002, 11:39 AM   #3
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How about our feline friends? Anybody travel with a cat? We have an indoor cat that we are starting to leash train in hopes that she can join us on our travels...any advice?

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Old 04-25-2002, 01:20 PM   #4
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Crates vs. Free Run

Hi Emily,

You asked several questions. I will answer each with a different post. The responses are fairly long, and some members may not want or need all the info in each post.

We don’t have any Great Danes right now. We had to have Caesar put to sleep the Friday before the April MH rally. His bone cancer was in a rear knee, so he couldn’t even get in and out of the MH. We only had the MH a few weeks before he died. Before that, we had Airstream trailers. I will be happy to share about traveling with animals in our trailers.

We had Pomeranians when we started traveling with our first trailer. We traveled with them in a crate in the bed of the pick-up, since we had a topper. We would move the crate to the trailer when we reached our destination. Our Poms never embraced good house manners. They’d be fine until the moment you turned your back. So they had to be crated if we weren’t around.

Caesar spent his first weekend with us in that trailer. Even though he was only 10 lbs., we knew we wouldn’t be able to crate him in the trailer as he grew. We gave him free run of the trailer.

As far as driving goes, we had an extended cab pickup at the time. We would lay the rear seat down so it was flat. We then put a crib mattress on the flat (hard) seat, and he would lie on the crib mattress.

At home, Caesar always had free run of our house. He was housebroken within 24 hours of joining our family. So it just followed that we gave him free run of our trailer, too. We never really crated him after he reached about 90 lbs./6 months old. He was not destructive, and would have exploded before eliminating in his “den”. (Which was great, because his den happened to be our home or trailer – wherever we were staying.)

About the time we started fostering Titus, the second Great Dane, we started full timing. We sold our business, our home, and most of our other possessions. We traded the extended cab F150 for a crew cab (four door), dually (truck with wide hips) F350. The Great Danes rode in a dog pile on the back seat of the truck.

Both dogs had free run of the trailer. We never had any problems. Remember, Great Danes are couch potatoes. They just lay around, preferably in someone's lap.

If we had a Great Dane now, I'm sure the dog would travel spread out on the couch. Or on the couch with me while I nap.
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Old 04-25-2002, 01:44 PM   #5
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Leaving the dog(s) behind @ the campsite

We have often left the dogs in the trailer when we left the campsite. We lived up in Wisconsin for seven years, and most of the travel was up in that area. The weather was usually nice enough to leave windows open for the dog(s).

Caesar was trained to use only a whisper bark if he was inside, whether he was in the house or the trailer. He would occasionally bark louder, but would quiet down for anyone using his name and telling him to “hush”.

Rally attendees were always amazed that they could make that huge dog be quiet. All but one, I should say. One man said, “I told him to shut up over and over. He never did shut up.” The problem is that we never used the phrase “shut up.” So of course Caesar didn’t know what the man was saying. I learned to be explicit when telling people how to quiet Caesar if we were gone.

Then we got Titus. He would push out ANY screen. As you can see in the photo of him I posted a while ago, we did finally learn how to contain him. But we couldn’t leave the windows open, or he would push out the screen and wiggle out.

That’s when we started leaving the trailer closed and the A/C on. We would leave the roof vents partially open, in case the A/C died or the power went out.

Finally, we’d always try to leave a special toy when we planned to be gone for very long. Caesar’s favorite was a chew toy made by Booda. It is called a “Velvet”. They make them in bone shapes and flat squares. It’s an edible toy made of cornstarch. It’s not very messy and lasts a long time. They aren’t cheap, but they can help keep the peace.

The most important thing is to be sensitive to those around you. In a dog-loving crowd, you can hardly go wrong. But if you are near people that don’t like dogs, every little courtesy helps.
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Old 04-25-2002, 02:12 PM   #6
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Restrictions...you CAN get around them with permission

“Finally, have you encountered any restrictions and/or difficulty while traveling with your dog and has it stopped you from thoroughly enjoying this lifestyle?”

First let me say that NOTHING could stop me from enjoying this lifestyle. We may only be weekend travelers now, but we will always be the “Turtle People.”

My dear cousin passed away a few years ago. We used to go to their farm in Indiana and park there a few times a year. She always called us the Turtle People, because just like a turtle we took our house with us everywhere we went. And of course we took the dogs, too. The ability to take the dogs along is a big part of RVing for us. And it’s a big part of RVing for many other families, too.

Here is the down side. Not all campgrounds that accept dogs will accept dogs over a certain size. Nobody can explain the logic in that to me, but that’s the way it is. And as you know, not all campgrounds accept dogs or even cats.

Rules can be bent. I needed a campground near my Dad’s house over Christmas. The only one I could find didn’t accept dogs over 40 lbs. After searching for another campground I called them back. They couldn’t even suggest any place within 30 miles that would take us. I asked them to make a deal with me. They would put us at the back of the campground, and we would be discreet with Caesar. I suggested that if they received a single complaint they could ask us to leave and we would, without disagreement and without a refund. It all worked out in the end. Politeness and tenacity do pay off.

I would ask that nobody try to get around the rules without permission from whatever authority may be in charge. It may be easier to get forgiveness that permission from some people you know, but not from strangers. And by breaking rules and flaunting it, it makes it harder on the next people with dogs who come along.

Finally, this seems as good a place to say it as anywhere. ALWAYS pick up after your dog. If you leave your RV with your dog, have a bag in your pocket or tied to the leash.

I was walking my poodle at a Florida rest area on the way to the Mystic 7 rally. The rest area attendant saw my bag and said, “You don’t have to use your bag, we have a person that comes through and cleans up.” I thanked him for the information, and sweetly told him that no responsible pet owner would consider not picking up after their dog.

The worst thing I’ve experience while traveling is taking my dog to relieve itself in the designated area, and having to clean my shoes because I was busy keeping my dog safe from traffic instead of watching where I stepped. I don’t want to step in anything the last dog left behind any more than I imagine the next person wants to step in anything my dog might leave. And it doesn’t hurt to carry an extra bag with you that you can give to someone else who is walking his or her dog and is taken by surprise.
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Old 04-25-2002, 02:24 PM   #7
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Cats

Shari,

Cats are easy. Don't laugh, but Caesar had a pet cat. We obviously fed it and cleaned the litter box. But that cat didn't like anyone but Caesar. We could pick him up, but he would only purr for Caesar.

Toby was a good traveler. He rode on the front seat between us, or curled up in the back seat with Caesar. He never tried to run out of the truck or trailer.

One thing, we did have a tag made for him with our cell phone numbers in case he got away.

It was smooth sailing with the cat, and LOTS of people travel with them. More than you'd ever know.
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Old 04-25-2002, 03:44 PM   #8
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Thanks Edie...

We would, of course put a tag on Lily's collar/harness...cellphone #'s sound like the way to go. She is way too much a part of our family to risk losing her carelessly. She actually is real good about staying indoors at home and we took her on a road trip last Christmas when we visited my family in AZ without any problems. We actually have taken her out to the trailer while working on it to start getting her used to it & she doesn't seem to mind. We just don't know how she'll do "out in the wild". So we'll see how it goes...

We're leaving for a weekend rally tomorrow, (our first one ) we'll be leaving Lily home for this one...so much commotion for us, let alone her! We figure we'll take her when we just go by ourselves...thanks for your encouragement!

Shari

P.S.
Just in case you want to meet "Miss Lily", she has her own webpage that you can check out @

www.insideout-design.net/lilybug
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Old 04-25-2002, 03:45 PM   #9
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Edie -

THANKS so much for all the valuable info. My dog at six months was over 130 lbs! He is also a "couch potato" and not very destructive, but I am realistic in acknowledging that ANY dog who is bored or anxious may become destructive. I plan on taking him with me and my son when we travel across country this summer (I am taking a month off from work!) for company AND safety reasons (single woman with 10-year-old son). I figure no one in their right mind will want to mess with a 170+ lb mastiff! My husband will meet up with us on the east coast (cape cod) and drive back with us (he cannot take that much time off work).

BTW - my husband doesn't even know I got this MH!!
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Old 04-25-2002, 03:49 PM   #10
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Thanks, too, to Alan!
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Old 04-25-2002, 05:50 PM   #11
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Shari - I actually met Miss Lily a while ago. She seems as precious as can be. I think she has wonderful "fashion sense", too. We used to always tell our smallest Pomeranian to get out of the way or we'd step on her and squash her like a little bug. She eventually answered to Little Bug.

I know you'll enjoy your first rally. Our first rally was almost 10 years ago, and we still talk about it!

Emily - Having a big dog for safety reasons is so reassuring. I always said that anyone who went into my house or trailer would get exactly what he or she deserved, when we had our Great Danes. I know that people give a lot more respect and distance to a woman with a big dog than a woman alone.

The secret to traveling, or even just living with dogs is the same as traveling with kids. Never let them get bored.
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Old 05-07-2002, 12:46 PM   #12
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Re: Pets in the motorhome

We are about to move into our 1981 28' Excella motorhome with our Lesser Sulpher Crested Cockatoo (medium sized Cockatoo) and need advise on cage size and preferred location in the motorhome. Has anyone had experience with a fultiming bird of this size?
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Old 06-13-2002, 03:20 PM   #13
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Well....we now have a camping kitty! Lily survived her first camp-out last weekend and she actually seemed to enjoy it! She was a trooper and loved to just hang out in the doorway, play guard cat and watch over her trailer!

Shari
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Old 06-13-2002, 11:30 PM   #14
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Here kitty-kitty-kitty

This is a no s***er, Last summer we camped in Watkins Mill state park in Mo. and we were told by the ranger to look out for and avoid the cats, apparently stupid humans bring their cats camping with them and let them loose I guess thinking they will return, duh! and they leave without their cats and they have kittens, and they have kittens, and they... So there are all these cats there at least 100 by my guess. Sooo the morning were getting ready to leave my wife takes the truck to town to do some shopping and look around and there is this cat hanging around the camp site with just me there and wont take a hint to leave, later my wife returns we pack up, hookup and head home and that one cat just sitting there very strange. I backed the trailer into the driveway before parking it in the back, I got out and my wife was already out after guiding me back and we heard a meow, we looked at eachother and thought oh no I ran over a cat, after looking under the truck and trailer- no cat, and we hear another meow and after some hard looking under the truck we hear more meows and it turns out to be a kitten sitting inside the spare tire under the rearend of the truck. Well that explains the cat hanging around the campsite.....mommy and the kitten was her baby who took a ride into town and back and then hitched home with us, what a ride she took. We finally coaxed the kitten out and it wasnt very old at all and after a few weeks found a home for it on a farm in Kansas and of course my daughter cried the whole time to which I said why are you crying we have three dogs!

John
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Old 06-14-2002, 08:11 AM   #15
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No worries!

Miss Lily was never off her leash or out of sight...she is one of the family and would never be left behind! This is one spoiled cat!

She did find a new hiding place inside the trailer we never knew existed though! There is a small compartment under the bathroom sink in the fiberglass shower compartment that she somehow found comfortable. Anytime someone came to visit she'd disappear...some guard cat!

Creatures...gotta love 'em!

Shari
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Old 09-18-2002, 11:26 AM   #16
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Traveling with bird

This is our second post regarding fulltiming with a Cockatoo (parrot sized bird). We bought a cage that will fit in a couple of places in our 28' Excella motorhome. Has anyone traveled with a bird and what has been your experience?

Dick & Genie
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Old 09-18-2002, 11:39 AM   #17
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Since nobody else has replied yet, I'll give you what little info I can. We weekended with a cockatiel. She LOVED it. She sang the whole time we were traveling, and watched everything around her.

It didn't require anything special from us whether we were home or on the road. Same rules about caution when she was out of her cage. While we were driving, she was in her cage, on the floor of the trailer (pre-MH), covered to protect her from drafts. Living in Florida, she only traveled in the winter.

One thing we always do is to carry water for our pets. If it's just a weekend, we bottle our own from home. If we travel for an extended length of time, we purchase bottled water for them. There's nothing like having a sick pet while on the road.

Then I'd just say follow the same common sense you use at home. Keep the bird away from drafts and out of direct sunlight. Keep to a routine. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Now, you may have noticed that we've traveled with dogs, a cat, and a bird. When we were full-timing, I was always trying to figure a safe way to travel with fish, too. Brett finally put his foot down with fish.
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Old 09-18-2002, 12:37 PM   #18
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Cats in trailers

We have a female Manx who loves to travel. The Manx site on the web says that truck drivers like Manx since they adapt well to travel and small spaces. That is sure true of Dakota. She likes to ride on my lap and watch the wheels spin on the 18-wheelers as they pass. If not on my lap, she rides facing backwards on the console.

As a kitten, she learned in the first couple of hundred miles that the litter box, food, and water was in the trailer. At first, I just carried her back and forth. As she grew, I started keeping a cat harness and leash on her in case she was startled. If she is spooked, I just let her jump and go under the truck or trailer. That way, I don't get spiked.

I haven't tried her in the new Airstream yet. It is too hot in Texas in the summer. I plan to pull out one of the under-bed drawers and put her cat box there. I use clumping litter and dip out the clumps frequently, before the rest of the litter can get any odor. She is content to wait for us while we are gone.

Her favorite sport in the trailer is playing ball. She retrieves like a dog, without all the saliva. The photo is of Dakota in my Scamp 5th-wheel as a kitten.
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Old 09-18-2002, 03:27 PM   #19
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Edie

I can't believe you couldn't sell Brett on the fish. You should have tried from the angle that it was also fresh water for the other animals.

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Old 11-01-2002, 12:46 AM   #20
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Thumbs up Traveling with a dog or dogs

Hi. I read the dog travel posts with interest. I suggest you find out what your breed's show people do when traveling. I showed dogs for ten years and I have a lot of experience traveling with my Scotties, but travel arrangements differ according to the breed. You need to spend some time, several weeks, accustoming your dog to the vehicle, to travel in it, and so forth. Dogs can really freak out the first time they travel in a trailer behind a tow vehicle if they are not accustomed to the place. In my oppinion the phrase "Sick as a dog" came from people traveling with dogs that were not used to the experience. You really haven't lived until you have cleaned up a ton of dog barf. Let me tell you, a sick dog riding in a swaying trailer is an endless source of barf. Spend some time feeding your dog in the trailer, sleep in the trailer in your drive way with yor dog, take some weekenders with your dog before you take off on the big trip. As to a crate, I am not impressed with the larger plastic crates for heavy dogs. A smart dog will quickly figure out how to get the crate open as a heavy dog can simply put it's weight in the front of the common Vari-Kennels and the door will pop open. As I said before, if you travel with a big dog, even a big dog mix, go to the AKC web site and look for the area Traveling with your breed or a breed close to yours. You will get lots of advice. If you can't find anything, look for the web address of your breed's local Breed club and someone is sure to help you.

I traveled all over the country for many years with my Scottish Terriers. They are noisy, protective, and territorial, but they all learned to mellow out. When we traveled in a large trailer we took out some of the furniture and stacked the Vari-Kennels that were then bungied in place. (Watch those bungy cords, they can really damage you if they come loose unexpectedly.) Just about the most valuable thing a traveler with a dog can purchase is an X-Pen. Be sure and get one your dog can't jump over. If you have a bigger dog then travel with two. I have sawed off Scotties and I travel with three. Mine are four footers. The pens, not the dogs. All dogs, with some exceptions are four footed. An excited Scottie can really jump if he takes a mind to. You can get tops for them. The pens, not the dogs. I have bottoms for mine, the pens, the dogs come with bottoms, so that in really wet weather the dogs can be outside and not get sopped. This is really important if you like your furniture dry when the dog comes back inside the trailer. For some unknown reason mine like to run straight for the bedroom and roll all over the bed when they are wet. NOT NICE. X-Pens are readily available in many pet stores, but you will get the best buy on them at dog shows. The second best place is through dog supply catalogs. You have to pay shipping, but they are still cheaper and you have a big choice. An X-Pen will contain the dog safely outside while he or she can watch the world of the campground. Don't skimp on what your spend for them. I also suggest you either buy or make a sign for the pen that says DO NOT TOUCH THE DOG. Be sre to get the brass coated clips for the pen and water bucket. YOu will need one for each bucket and two for each X-pen. Buy the brass coated pens, not the bare metal ones as they don't rust and they hinge both directions. Get yourself a good quality water bucket you can attach to the side of the pen with the brass snap. You will never go wrong if you buy a good one. Like everything else, however, the key to travel with a dog is introducing it to the world of travel and applying good discipline. Even if you have a GO DOG, the hours in the car or the trailer are going to be a trial for any animal used to going in and out of the house at leisure. If you do this as you plan for the trip you will thank yourself a zillion times. If you wait until you go on the trip you will kick yourself for the first two weeks unless you have a very calm dog or an itty bitty one that sits im mom's lap. By introduce, I mean spend several weeks getting your dog used to the trailer, riding in it, sleeping in it, using the X-pen and so forth. If the dog is high strung then make sure it travels in it's own safe little or big crate. I don't know about you, but even I begin to feel like a dog rack after an hour or so. A crate is not cruel. Dogs are cave animals. They like spaces that are their own and once they are accustomed to them they feel safer. Even when we travel in the Van or the Pickup without the trailer, we always put them into crates with their own water, blanket, toy. They are much safer if I have to slam on the brakes and so are you as you drive. There is nothing like a dog in your lap when you are trying to make an emergency stop. But once again. If your dog has not traveled in a crate then he or she needs to become adjusted to the crate. Oh yeah, about that bucket. Get a nice big metal one with a good bale on it. I really like the stainless steal ones. Dont forget to buy a clip that has a clip on each end. One goes on the bucket and one goes on the wire of the crate. This makes it possible to put water in the bucket that will not spill as you travel. Also, when you are traveling in hot weather, you can fill it with crushed ice. The ice cools the inside of the crate and provides a nice source of cool licks for the dog. vari-Kennels are great for small and medium size dogs, but you can purchase all sizes of folding metal crates that you can stow out of the way when you are not using them. Once again, don't be stingy on what you spend. The cheap ones will bite your fingers every time when you fold them down and you will be cussing like a sailor. I suggest you go to a dog show in your area, and talk to the breed people for your breed. But if this is not an option then go on line for the mail order places that carry animal equipment. They vary in price, but they are all very reputable and your crate and X-Pen will arrive in a short time. Give some thought to where you are going to cary your X-pens. Dog people who travel from show to show usually have a rack on the back of the trailer for the pens. They usually have them specially built as they carry a lot of them, but a sturdy bike rack should hold the one or two you will need. Oh yeah, when you are planning your hours to the next stop, be sure to add in hourly stops for the dog. A little run around at a pull out is a wonderful thing for both of you. I suggest you avoid doing this at rest stops. Rest stops are home to fleas and bacteria. A pull out will rarely have a local festation of fleas. A rest stop is sure to have one. On top of that hundreds of dogs have gone to the bathroom there and your dog is just dying to sniff every bit of it. The result can be some pretty nasty diseases including parvo. Be sure to get your dog on heart worm medicine before you leave, expecially if you are going south (check on the presence of heart worm in the states you intend to visit) and get his or her vacinations up to date. If you are headed for open country, especially the west, get lyme disease covered. I also buy purified water for the dogs when we are on the road. It might sound silly, but dogs have very sensitive lower tracks. What might not bother you will get your dog going in a manner you don't appreciate. That, when mixed with the rigors of travel and different water from place to place can cause diahrea. Yuck. We never have problems when we buy water. Just chant to yourself "Ninty nin cents a day keeps diahrea away." You should also either plan to take a good supply of your dog's regular dog food along or accustom your dog to a readily available pet food before your leave. By accustome I mean slowly over a period of a few days switch your dogs' kibble and wet food over to a new food you can easily find on the vacation. We feed performance food and carry enough for the entivre vacation, but before going on vacation it is easier for most people to switch over to something readily available in a grocery store like Pedigree. Once again, changing food on the road can cause everything from flatulence to diahrea to a sick dog. It is easy to change over to another foodbefore you leave and a a difficult mess when you're tired and grouchy from a long day at the wheel.

One last thing. Most of us like to stop now and then at a nice motel for a night. Best Western and Holiday Inn are usually welcoming to dogs. They will probably assign you to the bottom floor. Be sure to carry some big black plastic bags to go under your crates if you take the dog in, don't we all, and make him or her sleep in the crate. The hoteliers are not nearly so upset about the occasional "accident" as they are about dog hair in the sheets. It is darned near impossible to get out and some places will charge you for replacement sheets.

Good luck. Joan
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