Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series: Roadtripping from NYC to rural Tennessee

We're still wondering if we have time to squeeze in a little roadtrip in before we have to go back to school, so we were very excited to get this post about roadtripping with Reggie from New York City to rural Tennessee. From car safety to rest stop advice, dog food packing tips and pet-friendly hotels, Reggie presents great advice for the things I never would have thought of when planning a trip:

A few times each year, Reggie and I make the 15 hour drive from New York City to rural Tennessee to visit my family. He enjoys some country living for a few days. I’ve learned a lot about taking a long road trips with a dog. There is a lot to consider from the weather to safety to comfort. Here is the photo album from our recent vacation.
We hit the road early in the morning on day one. Reggie hops right in. I put on his harness and buckle him into the backseat. The harness clips right into the seatbelt buckle. It’s long enough so that he has extra room to turn around and lay down, but not too long that he can find his way into my road trip snacks. Plus, the harness offers some protection in the event of an accident.
Reggie spends most of the ride staring out the window, like this:
Or staring at me, like this:
I stop at highway rest areas every few hours so we can both stretch our legs. Reggie likes to practice his escape artist skills. As soon as I open the car door, he would be off to the races if it wasn’t for the harness.
Summer driving can be a bit tricky with the temperatures soaring. Since I can’t bring him into the restroom, he has to stay in the car. I always look for a shady spot to park, but more often than not, there isn’t a tree in sight. What else can I do but open the windows and hurry as fast as I can?
Now is also a good time to rehydrate and refuel. Reggie is a good co-pilot and never gets car sick but my mom’s dog is a nervous passenger on long car rides so she feeds him a smaller-than-usual amount before a big trip.
We end our day of driving in a hotel just outside of Roanoke, Virginia. I always make reservations in advance. Not all hotels accept pets and some that do charge high non-refundable pet fees. When making the reservation, I double check that their pet policy hasn’t changed. Sometimes hotels don’t update their website as often as they should.  Reggie is used to the routine and makes himself right at home, but when we first started making these trips he would spend 20-30 minutes pacing around the room before he settled down.
For me, dinner is picking up takeout or calling for delivery. Most hotels have a policy against leaving pets unattended in the room. I usually bring Reggie's blankets from the car into the hotel room. I think it makes him a little more comfortable with familiar scents. For Reggie’s dinner, I’ve already portioned out his meals for the trip in baggies or containers. It’s much easier to bring them into the room and I don’t have to worry about measurements.
The next morning, we’re back on the road to do it all over again. Inevitably, at some point on the drive, Reggie gets a bit tangled up in the strap of his harness. If your car has handles or hooks above the rear seat windows (mine doesn’t), there is another type of harness that clips like a zip line which allows more mobility.
The time flies by on the second day and before I know it we’ve arrived at my family’s house in Tennessee.  The first thing I do is let Reggie off leash to run in the backyard grass. It makes the whole drive worthwhile!
 
Do you have any road trip tips? Please let me know. I often blog about Reggie’s adventures in NYC, among other things, here.
We loved hearing these great insider tips about how to have a great roadtrip with your dog. And as one reader pointed out, it's always a good idea for pit bull owners to research beforehand as some areas might not allow pitties. In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Florida, Portland, Richmond, Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs and boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull. We are still accepting posts, but we would like to receive everything in the next few weeks.If you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.  

22 comments:

lindsay said...

Reggie is a cutie! I like the tip about portioning the food. We always lug in tje big food container!

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Reggie is super cute. We always portion our dog food in ziploc bags too like that, it really does make things easier!

Kerri said...

Good tips! I'm taking the pooch on a long road trip myself at the end of August and we will probably encounter the same challenges. Instead of booking a hotel though, I reserved a campsite for our mid-way stop. I thought it would be nicer for the dog to have a bit of fresh air, and this campground has a fenced in dog run.

Froggy said...

Oh reggie you are adorable! I love the tip about the seat belt helping an escape artist. I REALLY need to get a seat belt this weekend.

loveandaleash said...

We love Reggie and we ADORE Jackie's blog. Our Chick is an experienced road tripper too -- we have driven back and forth between DC and Austin, TX with him a bunch of times (at least four roundtrips) and he is a total star in the car. He doesn't wear a harness (although I am now thinking that he should), but he has a special spot right behind the driver on the folded down seat of our SUV so he can rest his head on the armrest between the front seats and watch the world roll by. A few tiny tips from our experiences: first, I hate retractable leashes but do bring one on road trips so that Chick can stretch his legs a little at rest stops. He gets the zoomies when we get out of the car, and I like to let him run around a little. Second, we usually get drive thru food for lunch, but try to time it so that it's near either a rest stop or a park so that we can get out of the car, put down a blanket in the shade, and have a picnic. Chick likes to be able to stretch out and eat some grass, and we like being able to share a french fry with him now and then. Great post Jackie!

Tucker The Crestie said...

One tip for anyone road tripping with dogs ... figure out how long you (the human) can generally go without a potty break and locate the closest Petsmart, Petco, etc. to the route you're traveling so that you can utilize the facilities there rather than having to leave the dogs in the car!

Patty said...

Reggie is adorable! Good travel tips

Benny and Lily said...

Road tripping in NY sounds great Reggie
Benny & Lily

road-dog-tales said...

Sounds like we have a lot of the same routines as Reggie! Nice to meet another road-tripping dog :)

PeeS - Who is Froggy there and does he/she do Frog Pose? :) Don't see a blog link.

The Road Dogs

lenorediane.com said...

I adore Reggie! He looks like an awesome traveling companion. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

houndstooth said...

Reggie looks like a seasoned traveler! Our girls love road trips, too, and I've found that it's a lot easier packing for them than it is for me.

Two Pitties in the City said...

We have always wanted to go on a road trip with our pooches, and this post just makes it seem very possible. Thanks so much for all the great tips and you are our road trip inspiration.

Laura and Hans said...

Ahhh! Reggie's a sweetheart. We also portion out Wilbur's food and finding pet friendly motels in advance is very important! We already have ours reserved for our trip south next week.
This is a great post about long distance car travels with a pet.

Amy said...

I love seeing Reggie in his seat belt harness! So many people imagine that their dogs will find them uncomfortable, but it's clear Reggie doesn't mind it at all.

Also, the GoPetFriendly.com road trip planner makes pet friendly road trips a breeze. You can locate hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, and even dog parks and beaches along your route!

Bobby said...

Reggie is having a great time,
It is so different here we can go anywhere within reason.
But no Pit Bulls in the UK.

kissa-bull said...

we really like the harness for sure. we need something like that for our hurricane season in case we need to evacuate those would be most helpful. as well as the portioned food baggies.

Brenda said...

I've been off blogger this summer, so didn't know about the contest, but had fun today going back and reading some of the guest blogs. What a great idea!! Wish I had time to do it myself, but I probably don't at this point... So, you should do this AGAIN sometime!! :)

Mack said...

Reggie sure does know a lot about traveling!
We had to evacuate one year cause of Hurricane Ike and IT WAS AWESOME!

Sugars,
Mack

Christine said...

I make a "road trip" from PA to MA several times per year with my dogs (it's about a 8-ish hour drive). We have dog seat belts too and I think they are key. My dogs just sleep most of the way but I like the seat belts for rest stops because of the extra security (I have trained my dogs to stay in the car until I release, but you just never know). I most often do the trip by myself and I have the same problem with how to make my own "pit stop". Like this poster said I try to park in the shade and literally RUN into the bathroom and RUN out. I also blast the A/C before going in to get the car as cold as possible. One additional recommendation I have it to bring vet records with you (just in case) and make sure you have access to current photos in the event your dog becomes lost. My dogs really do great and as soon as we pull onto the gravel driveway at my family's house they go berserk; they know where they are and can't wait to run down to the beach!

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

We have some ideas that we haven't seen mentioned. We make a list of of emergency vets, pet friendly lodging, rental car locations, pet friendly parks including local and state parks/forests with addresses and phone numbers. A good source we keep in the vehicle is the Motel 6 guide. We also obtain a health certificate from our veterinarian to keep with us which is required when crossing state lines. We also carry a current copy of our vaccine record and our home veterinarians office number. The health certificate is only valid for 30 days so may not want to pick it up too early. We take along a toy and blankets from home for comfort and we use our blankets at the hotel to protect their bed linens and carpets from dog hair so the housekeeping staff won't even know a dog stayed there and will hopefully help maintain the pet friendly policy. They have their own luggage and all dog items are packed together. The food is scooped into zip lock bags and those bags are placed in plastic totes like rubbermaid. Extra storage precautions will be needed if traveling and parking in bear areas. We always take more food than would be needed just in case we encounter any delays. We also carry several gallons of water and when those run out purchase distilled water to prevent any stomach upset from unfamiliar water sources. Benadryl is good to have on hand for any allergic reactions like stings or bites or other allergies. Check with your vet for dosage. Tweezers are good too if you pick up any ticks. If staying in one location for an extended amount of time an extra tag added to the collar with the address and phone number there might be helpful if God forbid it was needed along with a current photo of your dogs. We also take extra collar and leash in case one were to break or get wet they have another one to use. If not using a seat belt harness it's a good idea to remove the leash while inside the vehicle so it doesn't become tangled or if multiple dogs are in the vehicle they don't get legs and feet tangled in them. Then attach the leash before opening any doors. When alone I've used the seat belt to hold the leash handle while I open the door to get the dog. We also practice stay and out. If there are two of us one of us always holds the leashes while the other one helps the dogs exit one at a time.

It's nice to see how many people include their dogs in the family vacation. Hopefully it will help boost the number of pet friendly establishments.

Emma

Roo said...

That was a great story! Quite the seasoned traveler that Reggie :D I would need to be medicated for a trip that long :O This tourist series is just so much fun!

Waggin at ya,
Roo

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

These are good tips! We don't have a car so this is good advice for us inthe future!

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