Changes can be difficult for pets. After the longest hiatus from road trips we have taken in many years, we finally got back on the road again in February. We leave again tomorrow. And again eight days after that. And again nine days after that. While this absolutely awesome itinerary gives me wanderlust goosebumps, the Cascadian Nomads canines and psittacine might not be as excited about all of this nomadic upheaval as I am. Then again, maybe they are. Our pets have always loved to travel. But Jason and I spend a lot of time getting them ready for the road.
Things are definitely more difficult with Leo. Parrots rely even more on routine than dogs. But if I am consistent with each place Leo sets his feet each day at home, even if the duration and activities might change at those locations, then he learns to trust that this will be true when we travel too. At home, Leo goes from his sleeping cage to his shower perch to his t-stand to his cage. Always in that order. But sometimes it takes eight hours to get to his cage, he gets to play on his tree or go out in hisPopemoblie. Other days the whole process takes eight minutes. When we travel, Leo goes from his travel cage to his shower perch to his t-stand to his travel cage. This again can be a routine that is slow and easy or quick because we have to hit the road.
- Slowly vary feeding times. Depending on your pets personality, this will need to be five minutes a day or as much as thirty minutes a day.
- Minimally alter feeding routines. If you always walk before breakfast, take a shorter walk until maybe your pet will tolerate breakfast and then a walk.** If your dog always eats in their crate, feed them just outside their crate or near it. Then try feeding them farther away, maybe eventually in another room.
- Slightly change play, potty and sleep time routines. When I need to set up camp before dark, I can't play with the dogs for thirty minutes like I do in the evening at home. So I get them used to playing for a few minutes here and a few minutes there. They do still deserve to play after a long drive but we all need somewhere to sleep!
- Socialize, socialize, and continue to socialize. While research shows that puppies up to sixteen weeks benefit the most from socialization, responsible pet owners continue to socialize their dogs and all their pets throughout their lifetime. Even a homebody human needs to go out once in a while and the same is true for dogs, cats, birds and more!
**Always be aware of the risks of bloat in regards to feeding and exercise times.