Recently I received a generic Google email, which I tend to ignore and trash. But one caught my eye with the subject line Amanda, here’s your 2018 Timeline. Hm. “Okay,” I thought, “My interest is piqued.” So I opened it up and the first thing I saw was a little map of all the places I traveled in 2018. My initial thinking was, “Oh, that’s kind of cool!” I scrolled down a bit and the next photo I saw said that I traveled 14,515 total miles in 2018. Wynston traveled everywhere with me in 2018, which means that he also traveled over 14,000 miles. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Dog Mom Days 2018 Travel Recap
States visited: 4
Cities visited: 15
Miles driven: 8,676
Furthest airplane trip: Phoenix, AZ to Dallas, TX
Furthest road trip: Gilbert, AZ to San Angelo, TX
New lakes visited: 3
State we spent the most amount of time visiting: Texas – 5 trips
New places that Wynston hadn’t visited: Las Vegas, NV and Sierra Vista, AZ
So, how does Google know all of this!? Well, if you have the location turned on via your smartphone, Google can track everywhere you go. Sure, it may be a little creepy, but this overall look at our travels was super fun to look at.
We hope you’ll follow our adventures this year on social media using #TravelfortheWyn. Clever, eh?!
Do you have travel plans for 2019?
If you’re a pet brand who would like to be a part of our travels, we have sponsorship packages available! Email me at email@example.com to see how you can get involved in helping us reach our travel goal.
Nine days into the new year, I felt a sudden urge. That “I just wanna get out of here” urge. Within 30 minutes of that initial feeling, Wynston and I were well on our way. I filled up my gas tank, grabbed a cheeseburger to share with my boy, and headed west on the I-10. All I knew is that we were going to head toward California. Because why not?! In life, right now, I’m just going where the wind takes me. And on January 9, 2019, it took us to Indio, CA and The Salton Sea!
Our Impulse Trip to Indio, CA
Just three days before our first trip of 2019, I posted these lyrics on our Facebook page:
“What I love most about rivers is,
You can’t step in the same river twice.
The water’s always changing,
But people, I guess,
Can’t live like that.
We all must pay a price.
To be safe we lose the chance at ever knowing
What’s around the river bend.”
I’m being drawn to new adventures in order to make memories with my son. I want to explore bodies of water that we’ve never stepped foot or paw in, and journey through a forest we’ve never been lost in. The feeling of driving and ending up at a beautiful place is incredibly freeing. And this trip to Indio, CA reminded me of that.
On Wednesday we headed out around noon. We just drove for a bit, and when we hit Blythe, CA I decided maybe we’d try to find something in the Coachella valley since we hadn’t stayed there before. Luckily I spotted a Holiday Inn Express off the freeway. I first noticed the beautiful view surrounding the hotel, and remembered the Holiday Inn hotels are under the IHG name. I prefer IHG hotels because of their pet-friendly policies and excellent accommodations. So we stopped in…
Thankfully they had a room for us! I didn’t have to pay a pet fee because Wynston is an ESA, and I was able to cover the cost of the room with my IHG Rewards Points! We had a room on the first floor, making potty time extremely convenient.
The lobby of the Holiday Inn Express was very snazzy. I was impressed, and looked forward to seeing our room. We weren’t disappointed! The room was spacious and lovely. We had a pretty view of the mountains, and Wynston expressed his happiness with zoomies on the bed immediately upon entering.
Since we arrived around 4pm, we just relaxed the rest of the evening. We walked around a little bit and scoped out the hotel grounds. The weather was beautiful.
The next morning we ate a delicious hot breakfast, courtesy of the hotel. Wynston got lots of smiles from other guests, and he got plenty of bacon It was probably his favorite part of the trip.
After hanging out in the room for a little while longer, I decided to look up directions to the Salton Sea. I remember seeing signs for it, and it was about 30 minutes out of the way. But I figured we’d go explore! We checked out of our room around 9:30am, and hit the road again.
I could have easily been lazy and let the 30 minute detour phase me, but I thought about how happy I’d be if the Salton Sea turned out to be really freaking cool. And it was.
Wynston and I arrived and we had the place to ourselves. It was so amazing. It was crazy to come across a white beach (which is made of salt, hence the name Salton Sea) with the smell of the ocean in the middle of the desert. It felt like we were in a completely different place. The breeze was refreshing, the air was salty and the water was calm. Quite the serene experience, I must say.
We wandered the shore for a bit, watching the salty ground become green as we walked on it. In the distance we saw snow-covered mountain tops, but it felt like we were at the ocean. I experienced a sense of peace and belonging in that moment.
The last couple of months I’ve been realizing that although life gets extremely difficult and it can be easy to give up, it’s still worth truly living. I’ve starting dreaming in light again, rather than keeping myself in a dark space. I didn’t think too much about heading to California with Wynston. We just did it. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and didn’t let fear hold me back.
In 2019 we have a lot more trips to go on, places to see and cultures to experience. This year I will be fearless, I will be happy, and Wynston and I will continue to make memories to cherish forever.
We hope you will continue to follow our adventures. Our hashtag for this year’s adventures is #TravelfortheWyn. We’ll be adding to the map below as we travel!
Having an anxious dog can be tough, particularly if they are afraid of thunderstorms. After all, there are many things you can do to mitigate anxiety-inducing situations for your pups, but controlling the weather is one thing that you just can’t do. Luckily, though, if you have a dog that is afraid of thunderstorms, there are some steps you can take to help make storms more tolerable and less panic-inducing for your pets. Here are some helpful ways that you can help out your scared dog during a storm.
How to Help Your Dog Who’s Afraid of Storms
Try a Storm Jacket
There are several companies who now make tight jackets that a dog can wear during a storm to help calm them. These jackets hug dogs’ bodies tight and make them feel like they are swaddled, which can bring them a sense of comfort and relief. One of the most popular brands of storm jacket is called the Thundershirt, which comes in different sizes to fit dogs of all kinds.
Create a Safe Space
Give your dog a safe space that he can go to when the weather starts getting bad. This space can be a whole room, which is sheltered from the outside (like a basement), or it can be a small space, like a crate outfitted with comfortable blankets and toys for him. By giving your pet a place to escape, you give him the option of finding a space where he can ride out the storm.
Try to Get Your Dog Used to the Sounds
You can try using recordings of rainstorms and thunder to get your dog used to the sound of storms. That way, they are not so jarring when they actually happen. You can find YouTube videos and MP3 files of sound effects that sound like storms. Start playing these in the same room as your dog at a low volume, then increase the volume over time. It can help to play these sounds for your dog during the winter, when storms happen less frequently, so you can prepare him for the summer, when storms happen more frequently.
Don’t Lock Your Dog Up
If you can avoid locking your dog up in a crate or kennel during a storm, that can help reduce anxiety. Dogs who feel trapped during a storm can get even more anxious and panicked — and dogs may even do things like chew through a crate or kennel if they get too panicked.
Distract Your Dog
During a storm, if your dog starts to get anxious, consider trying to distract him with a toy or activity that he loves. Get a new bone that tastes great and that he can gnaw on to get his anxiety out — or play fetch with his favorite ball. Reward all of his good, calm behavior when you’re distracting your dog, so that he realizes that the right thing to do in a storm is to be obedient and calm, not anxious and jittery.
Talk to Your Vet
If your dog suffers from storm phobia, your vet may be able to help. When you take your dog in to get his or her regular Bravecto chewable for dogs, ask your vet if there are things that you can do to help your jittery pooch better tolerate stormy weather. There may be natural supplements or remedies that your vet can recommend, which can calm your dog when bad weather arrives. Your vet may be able to recommend things like valerian, melatonin and more that are all natural and proven to treat nerves. Dogs who are severely storm-phobic may be able to benefit from very low doses of anti-anxiety medication that was created for pets.
As I’ve gotten older and started traveling with Wynston more frequently, my love for exploring new places has grown immensely. There is something so incredibly freeing about hitting the road with my son and enjoying the journey. Some people wonder how I travel like I do because they know I’m a very tight budget. Like, very tight. But the fact is, I’ve learned how to travel on a budget. Traveling doesn’t have to mean staying at a 5-star resort for seven nights while getting butler service everyday. I mean, that would be lovely, but that’s not what I do. Now I want to share my secrets and tips on how to travel with your dog on a budget.
How to Travel With Your Dog on a Budget
Determine which mode of transportation is cheapest.
My two options for traveling are driving and flying. The furthest I’ve driven with Wynston is to Texas, which was 12 hours one way. We were visiting San Angelo, which is a smaller town, and airline tickets were typically $400-$500. It was much more cost effective for us to drive, as my car gets 40mpg, and I can drive 12 hours in one day. It may take a little bit of math to determine which way will be cheapest for you. Of course if I was traveling further east than Texas, I probably wouldn’t drive, so taking a flight would be my best bet. Stopping along the way to stay in hotels plus added gas money would end up costing the same if not more than a plane ticket.
Other questions to ask yourself are:
Will you need to pay a fee to travel with your dog on an airplane? You will pay around $100 if your dog isn’t a service animal or ESA.
Does your car get good enough gas mileage to make it worth it to drive?
Would you need to stop for food and hotels during your road trip? Those costs add up.
Do you need to check luggage at the airport? Fees can be up to $25 per bag!
Bonus tip: Sunday is the most expensive day to fly. Booking a flight on a certain day could add at least $30 or so to your ticket price.
Of course, you may be limited to how you can travel. Perhaps you have a big dog that can’t fly in an airplane cabin. Or maybe you have multiple dogs. Those factors may force you to drive everywhere.
Other modes of transportation include bus or train. I’m not sure if you can bring dogs on a train or a bus, but it may be worth it for you to look into. Ultimately you’ll want to do the math and determine what will be the most cost effective way for you to travel.
Where are you staying?
Man, there are SO many options outside of staying in a hotel for traveling now. Websites like VRBO or AirBnB are your best friend. You can find yurts, mansions, tiny homes, apartments, campers and more available for rent on AirBnB. The website seems to have endless possibilities and it’s almost always considerably cheaper than a hotel. Plus you can stay in some really unique homes, which make for amazing photos!
Another option is staying with friends or family. That is definitely the least expensive option, and it’s always fun to see friends. When I go to Indianapolis to visit where I grew up I stay with my old neighbors. It’s a HUGE money saver, and it’s more enjoyable! Even if you stay with a friend or family member for one night of your trip, that’s probably at least a $100 savings.
Bring your own food.
If you’re going on a road trip, it’s easy to pack your own food and it’s soooo much cheaper. I like staying at hotels with a kitchen (and most AirBnB options have a kitchen of sorts), giving me an option to cook and refrigerate. This way I can buy groceries when I arrive. Even if you’re flying somewhere you can pack an entire suitcase of non-perishables and check it in. You may have to pay a checked bag fee, but it could possibly pay for itself in your food cost savings. Again, it’ll take a little bit of math. If you’re going on a road trip, bring your own food because it will always be more cost effective.
Save on dog-friendly activities.
Before you head out on your journey, research activities at your destination. You don’t always have to pay an arm and a leg to do something fun. If you visit a National Park of sorts you may need to spend $5 or so for entry, but that’s nothing. Dog-friendly activities tend to be outdoors anyways, making them cheaper than visiting a museum or going to a show. Make your own fun by exploring trails, visiting lakes, eating at a dog-friendly restaurant or checking out local tourist sites.
During one of our trips to San Angelo, TX, Wynston and I visited Fort Concho. We went on a day when there was nobody there. The museum volunteers were super friendly and allowed us to walk around inside even though Wynston isn’t a service dog. Then we spent a while walking the Fort and taking in all of the history. The visit was completely free. Sometimes there are hidden gems that will cost you nothing but will create priceless memories.
For me, traveling with my dog on a budget means being able to travel more frequently. It can be fun to find more cost-effective ways to travel because it requires more digging and research. You never know what fun dog-friendly places and activities you may find along the way!
Do you often travel with your dog? How do you manage to keep costs down?
Your dog has stopped eating their kibble. Maybe they are picky. Maybe their appetite has changed. Maybe they just no longer like it. Whatever the mysterious reason, you are frustrated because your poor pup needs to eat! If you can’t/don’t want to change their food, have you tried a food topper? I understand how difficult it can be, so I’ve created a list of the best dog food toppers for several situations.
Best Dog Food Toppers
If you’re looking for something to snazz up your dog’s bland kibble, try these options:
Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers: I absolutely trust all Stella & Chewy’s products. The Meal Mixers are freeze-dried, and all you have to do is scoop and serve!
Instinct Raw Boost Mixers: Wynston is a big fan of Instinct Raw Boost Mixers. Just add them to your pup’s food and watch them enjoy!
Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers: While Wynston hasn’t tried the Honest Kitchen Proper Toppers, I have several friends who recommend this brand. These tasty clusters will add pep to your dog’s meal!
Although perhaps you’re on a budget…
Shredded Cheese: Too much cheese can upset your dog’s tummy, so always feed cheese in moderation.
Cooked Meat: Try adding some cooked beef or chicken to their meal.
Chicken or Beef Broth: Stir in a bit of beef or chicken broth to their kibble. This can also help moisten it if your pup has weak (or limited) teeth.
Your dog picks out all of the good pieces or eats around the kibble…
Basics FLAVORS Food Toppers: I completely understand that your dog may very well eat around the dog food toppers, so you may need something that you can truly mix into the kibble. Basics FLAVORS are a fantastic option, as they offer the consistency of a powder.
Liver Flakes: I knew a Bulldog who just didn’t really care to eat…until liver flakes were added to his food! Dr. Becker’s Appetite Flakes are beef and bison liver flakes, which are easily sprinkled and mixed into kibble. The pieces are too small to be separated from the food.
Hopefully the list above has given you at least an idea of how you can get your dog to eat again. I actually have Wynston on a dog food rotation, which means I switch his food up every couple of months so he doesn’t get bored. The dog food topper I use most frequently is the Instinct Raw Boost Mixers, but I also really like the FLAVORS. Remember not to get discouraged – if one topper doesn’t work, try a different one.
Do you have a suggestion that we could add to this list of best dog food toppers? I’d love to hear your ideas!
*Affiliate links are present in this post. Always consult your veterinarian with questions or concerns about your dog’s health.*