April 6, 2014

Road Tripping

Posted in: Family

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I’m on holidays for the next 2 weeks so on Saturday Toby and I packed the car and set off on an 8.5 hour car trip from Melbourne to Adelaide to see Andrew. In the lead up to our trip I was debating whether or not we should fly but I just couldn’t bear the idea of Toby being petrified inside a crate in the plane. It’s not like I could explain to him what was going on. If I could say to him, ‘Look Tobes, we are going on a short 1 hour flight, you’ll be locked in a crate, you’ll hear weird noises, you’ll feel some pressure in your ears and your tummy may feel funny but it’s OK we are just going interstate to see dad.’ And if he could comprehend that, flying wouldn’t be a problem. But I just kept picturing his terrified eyes in the crate, him shaking, not understanding what was going on…I couldn’t do it. In the end, a road trip would be easier for both of us.

20140406-142058.jpg^ The night before, packing 2 weeks worth of stuff (I am the lightest traveler I know!)

20140406-145739.jpg^ With the essentials, water for Toby, his Blankie and his favourite toy at the moment, Garry Pepper and lots of chocolate.

Toby is a champion in the car, he has been since he was little. The whole car trip I kept telling him what a champ he was. It was a very long trip for him. For Toby, he has no idea if we are going to be in the car for another 5 minutes or 5 years. He is constantly left in the dark. At the start of the journey he was pretty excited because car trips always mean we are going somewhere fun. After about 2 hours he realised, wherever we were going was taking a while and tried to get comfortable and sleep. The bumps in the road kept waking him up and he would sit up to look outside, realise there was nothing to see, go back to sleep, there would be another bump in the road, he would wake up and sit up again. At times he couldn’t get comfortable and toss and turn, come over to me and give me a kiss, look out of the window, try and sleep for a few minutes, get up, toss and turn, and you get the idea.

Our first stop was in some country town, 3 hours into our trip. We walked up and down the street to stretch our legs and have a toilet stop. We stayed for 10 minutes and then hit the road again until we saw a McDonald where Toby and I shared a packet of chicken nuggets. It was during the second leg of our trip that Toby decided to go to sleep properly and ignore the bumpy road and had a good hour nap. We drove for another 3 hours before a stop in a large field where Toby ran around. We got back into the car for an hour, stopped in a small town and picked up a horrible cup of coffee because I was getting tired and then drove into Adelaide.

20140406-145732.jpg^ At our first stop

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20140406-145707.jpg^ Stopping at McDonald for some (horrible) chicken nuggets.

20140406-145658.jpg^ At our second stop

20140406-145643.jpg^ Our coffee stop

Overall, it was a very pleasant car trip and now we are all back together as a family with Andrew, living with our friends, Ricky and Cat, enjoying each others company and Toby is getting to know his new furry cousins, Zara and Eco. We are looking forward to the next 2 weeks.

20140406-143426.jpg^ Back together!

20140406-143901.jpg^ Toby getting to know Zara over some coffee.

20140406-143908.jpg^ Toby and Eco.

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20140406-145028.jpg^ Keeping dad company while he studies. Still can’t believe that this is what life is going to look like for the next 10 years.

So, if you are planning on taking your Furball on road trip here are some things you may want to consider:

Crate or Harness Them

It’s a good idea for your safety and the safety of your pooch to keep them in a secure strapped in crate or to harness them into the seat. I know this is wrong, but I didn’t harness Toby into his seat. When you are going 110km/h down the highway, it is pretty stupid not to. If I have to suddenly break, Toby would go flying into the glove box or worse, through the windscreen. I’m getting a harness for the trip back.

Don’t Feed Your Dog Too Much

With long car trips, it is a good idea not to feed them too much before you set off to avoid car sickness. Toby didn’t eat anything in the morning and only had his 3 chicken nuggets throughout the whole drive.

Pack Plenty of Water

Depending on the size of your dog, take plenty of water to keep them hydrated. You will notice that your dog will drink more water than usual during long car trips. I took a litre of water and Toby drank half of it.

Bring Their Comfort Toys

Toby brought along his Blankie and one of his favourite toys. Having comfort toys on a long car trip can alleviate some anxieties your dog may experience being in a car for a long time.

Have Adequate Stops

I know Toby can handle being in a car for about 3 hours, so I knew that having a stop every 3 hours would be enough for him to handle the 8.5 hour trip to Adelaide. If your dog isn’t too good in cars, have a break every hour or hour and a half, and when you stop, make the break fun by playing games or going for a long walk.

Medicate

I don’t like the idea of medication, although I wouldn’t rule it out if one day Toby had to board a plane. If your dog has extreme car sickness or car anxieties, it is worth speaking to your vet about medication that can help calm your pooch for long road trips.

Happy Traveling!