Will your pooch be going over the river and through the woods with you this holiday season?  The first time I brought Eddy traveling with me, I did a whole lot of research.  I wanted to make the first trip a positive experience because I knew he’d be traveling with me a good bit.  He is now a wonderful co-pilot!

Have Dog, Will Travel

Here are some tips and tricks I learned through my research, or the hard way.

  • Bring your dog’s blanket
    • It’s best if the blanket isn’t freshly laundered too.  That way your dog has something that smells like him and his home.  This blanket can serve double duty in case there is a mess made on it.  Now the mess is on your blanket, and not on your car seat, or a blanket belonging to your host.
  • New friends = treats!
    • I was so nervous the first time I brought Eddy home to meet my grandparents.  They aren’t dog people, so the pressure was really on to impress them.  When I pulled in their driveway, I left Eddy in the car for a minute while I brought a bag of treats inside.  I instructed my grandparents to have treats in hand for their first encounter.  After our quick post-carride walk, I brought Eddy inside, and he met the new humans who had such tasty treats for him!
  • Post-carride walk
    • One of the dog behavioral things I read was that dogs don’t necessarily understand that being in the car gets them to a new place.  They need the action of walking with their pack to understand that they’ve truly traveled.  And let’s be real, the humans can always use a walk after being cooped up in the car.  Eddy is old and small, so we usually just circle the block.  If your dog is larger or has more energy, a longer walk might be in order.  But you know your dog best!
  • Let him explore, but keep the leash on at first
    • When we get to a new place, I always make sure to walk Eddy around on the leash before unclipping him.  It’s a good way to make sure nothing spooks him, and that he doesn’t get into mischief right off the bat.  He’s usually not a marker, but I’ve seen him lift his leg in places where other dogs marked previously.  Eddy isn’t destructive, so after a quick lap he can usually be trusted off leash.  He’s also clingy, which means I don’t have to look far to find him (he’s snuggled up to me as I write this).
  • Dog-friendly hotels
    • Eddy stayed with me in a hotel a couple of times, and boy was THAT an experience!  Hotels have a lot of unusual smells because so many people pass through.  It can also be a little crazy if there’s a big crowd checking in at the same time you are.  For one trip, I had a lot of luggage (because heaven knows neither of us travels light haha), and Eddy and I were traveling alone.  The first week I took him, I tried to lead him on his leash while I pushed the luggage trolley.  Nope.  Apparently those things are absolutely terrifying from Eddy’s perspective.  I learned from my mistake, and the second week, I left Eddy in the car for the couple minutes it took me to check in and bring the luggage to our room.  Then, I was able to give him all my attention and just the two of us walked to the room.
  • Keep the collar on at all times
    • This may sound like an obvious one.  But your dog is in an unfamiliar place, so it is absolutely essential that his collar stay on, just in case.  We hate to think about getting separated from our dogs, but things happen and you’ll be able to take comfort in knowing your pooch has your name and contact info attached to him.  Eddy only got loose once, and I thought I was going to lose my mind.  We found him in only a minute and a half or so, but it was the longest minute and a half of my LIFE!  And of course it was shortly after we moved, so he wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood from walks yet.  Since then I’ve been extra vigilant; the collar only comes off at bedtime.
  • Have fun!
    • Hopefully by the time you’re traveling with your pooch, you are comfortable with his level of training.  This is your furry friend.  The two of you (or more) should be able to relax and enjoy the excitement of travel.  Change is stressful for dogs, and they are very sensitive to your energy.  If you’re freaking out, Fido will pick up on that and be on edge.  So enjoy your time away from home!

 

Be sure to share your own doggy travel tips in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @finickypooch.

Happy travels!  <3 Caitlyn and Eddy

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When we got the results of Eddy’s allergy tests, I felt a huge sense of relief before the fear set in.  Relief because we finally had our answer. The ear infections had a cause, and we had found it. Fear because I had no idea how I was going to feed this dog.

The dog food aisle is a collage of bright colors and desirable claims.  Pick the right food and your dog will be energetic, live longer, have a shinier coat, better joint health.  Pick the wrong food, and you could make your pet sick or worse, with all the recalls these days.  Now you get into the details.  Kibble?  Wet food? How much protein is enough?  Am I horrible for feeding grains?  Is it better just to feed “raw,”  whatever that is?

Without taking allergies into account, feeding your dog is incredibly overwhelming.  So let me just say you’re doing a great job.  I mean, let’s be serious, you’re researching what to feed your pup.  Clearly, you care.  This is what worked for me, but won’t work for everyone, and that’s okay.  I’d love to hear the tips and tricks you’ve come up with to keep your pooch happy and healthy!  Either comment below or email me at Caitlyn@FinickyPooch.com

So, we get the results of the allergy tests, and Eddy is allergic to everything.  Great.  Here are his results.  He was tested for food, as well as environmental allergens.  Any item highlighted with a P (positive), or with BL (borderline), Eddy is allergic to.  The items with an N (for neutral) next to them are the only things we know for sure he isn’t allergic to.

Food Allergy Test Environmental Allergy Test

We could only find one type of kibble that he could eat.  And believe it or not, he gets bored of food.  After starting on our second bag of the kibble, Eddy got bored.  He’d eat if he was really hungry, but he started losing weight.  That was a problem because he was underweight when we rescued him.  The kibble had a canned variety, and that was able to change things up a little, but he rarely finished his meals.  The only thing that got him excited was when my boyfriend cooked real meat and gave Eddy a little piece.  I’m a vegetarian, so there’s not a lot of meat hanging out in my fridge.

At my wit’s end, I decided to try cooking for Eddy.  The Internet is a great resource.  I found out that homemade food should be primarily meat protein (logical), that liver is super healthy (yuck), and that getting enough calcium is hard to do.  We found a multivitamin for senior dogs that didnt have chicken for flavoring, and then the fun began!  If you’re looking for recipes to make your dog’s food from scratch, check out my Cookbooks.

That brings us to where we are today.  Which actually doesn’t feel that much different.  It’s still a learning process.  We found a second kibble he can eat, so we alternate between the two kibbles and the homemade food.  I also feed him treats, and you can find my treat recipes either in my cookbook, or there are some free recipes posted on this site.  Once in a while we try a new food that he wasn’t allergy tested for.  That’s how we found out he can have peas but not broccoli.

Even though he can’t have most of the treats we gave him when we first adopted him, Eddy is still quite a spoiled pooch.  One week, he had two vet appointments in two days (one with a specialist, and one for his regular shots).  He was a very good boy and behaved nicely for all the technicians and both vets.  So to get him an extra special treat, we stopped by the local Amish Market and got him a marrow bone.  He about lost his mind when he got ahold of that bone.  I was worried he wouldn’t be able to get too much out of it because he has a pretty serious underbite, but oh man did he get a lot of marrow!  When he was done with it, he walked over to me and I swear he would have said thank you if he could.  He looked so happy and had bits of marrow all over his face.

If you have a dog with a lot of allergies, you are certainly not alone.  And I want to stress that there is no one correct way to feed your dog.  All we can do is the best we can, and change when we learn something new.  Comment below or email Caitlyn@FinickyPooch.com with questions or to share your own story.

-Caitlyn & Eddy