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Pet Travel 101

By Kylee

My name is Kylee and I am a brown-eyed four-paw Biker Babe.  I was adopted from the Akita Rescue in Jacksonville and what a life-changing adventure it’s been.  Since that day I’ve been to all the lower 48 states cruising the highways and byways in my chariot.

Now I don’t want to mislead any of my four-footed brothers and sisters, getting started diffidently took some serious work and patients but eventually, Hyway got his act together.  I’m here to tell ya it’s been a fantastic adventure.

First things first.  None of us like going’ the vet, but like havin’ to get a bath, it’s a necessary evil.  Before you even think about going on a road trip you’re gonna wanna make sure you’re current on all vaccinations, including “Kennel Cough”.  You never know where you might end up spending the night or even a few days when on a road trip, could be a rest area, a campground, a motel, or even a friends or relative's house. While I’m on the subject of prevention, those pesky parasites like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and worm larva-eggs are everywhere!  Be sure to keep up on your Heart Worm meds and flea and tick preventative, not only for your comfort but to keep your travel companion from going ballistic one morning waking up to find they’ve spent the night sleeping in a flea-infested sleeping bag or covered with ticks that have been feasting on them all night!  Hygiene is IMPORTANT; no one likes the smell of B-O whether it’s K9 or human or to get covered in hair when they pet you. Remember you’re gonna be sleeping in a small tent or at best a small room so keepin’ clean counts.  Whenever possible rinse off in a lake or stream but never use any type of soap or shampoo in lakes or streams.  Most campsites have some type of water supply for the campers so take a good shampoo bath from time to time; a good brushing is always appreciated.

Make sure your license tags are up to date, Ranger Rick just might wanna check ‘em out and be sure you’ve been microchipped with all current information.  It never hurts to have a separate ID tag also.  Word of warning tho, don’t put your name on the tag.  Just put Microchipped, daily medication, and your companion’s cell number on it.  Not everyone is honest, if you get kidnapped knowing your name is a huge benefit for ‘em and if they think you need daily medication they might turn you loose, and at least you have a chance to get found by an honest person or even the local dog catcher who will call your buddy or take you to a vet to get the chip read.

I know it’s beyond comprehension but there are some folks who just don’t like dogs or cats so make sure your travel buddy is aware of that.  Respect their opinion, don’t invade their space. The best way to change someone's opinion about you is to be on your best behavior.  Even the most enthusiastic animal lover doesn’t like being jumped on, or havin’ to listen to continuous obnoxious barking!  Basic obedience training is your best bet for converting a non-believer.  The training needs to be well established so that you will be welcome in most places.  The two most important commands is the recall and stay command.  There will be times when you just can’t go in an establishment with your companion so learning to stay and wait is extremely important.  Teaching your travelin’ bud to be aware of your comfort while waitin’ for ‘em is also extremely important. They need to be aware that animal lovers are everywhere watching out for us and they’re not bashful about expressing their opinions or callin’ “Johnny Law”!  You’ll be surprised at how often the folks in charge will “bend” the rules and let you come in from the hot summer heat if you don’t stink, are clean, and behave yourself.

The next thing that needs to be figured out is how you are going to travel.  I personally travel in a trailer or as I call it my chariot. I love the wind in my face and hair (LOL!!!  Helmet laws don’t apply to us!).  The best option is gonna depend on your size, some of my smaller brothers and sisters are content traveling in a crate attached to the buddy seat or the back rack and some bigger ones even have their own sidecar!  It really doesn’t matter how you do it, there are always gonna be risks involved after all motorcycle touring isn’t the safest means of travel no matter how you chew the bone.

One last point, problems are gonna come up anytime you are traveling away from home.  Be sure your travel buddy has some basic animal first aid knowledge and has the 24-hour emergency telephone number of your vet.  In an emergency, they can at least call and get some over-the-phone advice.

Wishing you a doggone good trip!

(Originally published in Go For A Rider Magazine, August 2015. Kylee's road-trip partner was Go FAR contributor Hyway Rebel.)