Hobo's Advice Column
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Current Column - Travel by Car Part I
Traveling by car on a long trip with your
dog should be planned. Different dogs will have different reactions.
Some dogs are frequent travelers and thus have no problems. On the other
extreme are dogs with little experience in the car or those that have
some reason they should not travel (sick, pregnant, too young or too
old). In the latter cases, you should consider kenneling or a petsitter
after first consulting with your veterinarian. In this first of a two
part article, we provide a check list for planning your trip.
Planning Trip Checklist
a. Vaccinations up to date (do not duplicate vaccinations which
b. Obtain any required certificates - You may need Rabies and
Health certificates for crossing borders. For example - traveling
to and from Canada requires that a dog t has been vaccinated against
rabies during the preceding thirty-six-month period and that you
have a veterinary certificate which clearly identifies the dog.
It is also a good idea to have a complete record in the event
that you may need to seek veterinary assistance while traveling
or even have to kennel your dog during the trip (boarding kennels
require vaccination records)
c. Heartworm prevention up to date?
d. Flea and tick preventative.
e. Clip nails ( if you know how you can do this yourself - helps
protect your car, hotel furniture, and lessens scratches to people
f. Consult of ability of dog to travel.
g. Consider microchipping or tattoo for identification
Tags, collars, and leashes.
a. Vaccination / dog license tags
b. Identification tag (name, address, phone number). If you travel
with a cell phone, add that number to the tag as well. Tags can
usually be obtained quickly at pet supply stores. If you have
time, consider using the type of tag with a toll free number.
c. Collars used in the car should not be choke or pinch type.
However they should be properly fitted to not slip off. (Take
along an extra collar)
d. Leashes - Take along a shorter leash for handling your dog
in public places - and a longer leash for exercising (flexi leashes
are good for this). Also, you may want to consider getting a good
flashlight or even a leash with a light built in for nighttime
use. Don't forget some reflective marking for yourself as well.
e. Consider using an answering service or call forwarding from
your home. Or possibly the type of answering machine where you
can call in and pick up messages (if no one remains at home).
f. photograph and description of your dog listing: name, breed,
sex, age, microchip or tattoo numbers, description of color and
markings (including any unusual markings), coat (length) identifying
marks, and height (at the shoulders) and weight. Also list any
special medications or concerns. Make at least two copies.
||Crate, Bedding and Toys
a. You should bring along a crate for use in the car. The Crate
should be big enough for your dog to stand and turn around in and
to lay down comfortably. It should also be well ventilated. You
may want to bring along some of your dog's normal bedding to remind
him of home.
b. You will need something to go under the crate to protect your
upholstery. Generally you can use old blankets, but consider using
something like cheap foam rubber padding that does not allow water
to leak through. We have found that small rubber backed carpet works
well for this purpose (and you can wash it with a hose along the
way if necessary).
c. Plastic trash bags or sheet of plastic - this is used inside
the hotel to go under the crate. Large lawn bags work well for this
and are handy later to toss out the trash (take along a box of these).
d. Old Sheets or blankets - use to cover furniture in the hotel.
e. Toys - to make the trip more enjoyable. If you bring along chew
toys make sure they are safe so your dog doesn't choke on them.
f. Optional - Cool mat for warm weather. These are special mats
that keep your dog cool - and are activated with water.
||Food, Water and Treats.
a. Take along at least two gallons of bottled water or water from
your home. We recommend using bottle water on the trip to avoid
problems associated with the local water supply.
b. Bring a supply of your dog's normal food - changing diet can
result in an upset tummy or diarrhea.
c. Bowls (these can include the type that clip onto the crate)
d. Treats - only use treats that you dog can easily digest. This
is no time to try out something new.
a. Baby wipes (or handy wipes) - these have many uses both for cleaning
the dog and cleaning up after the dog.
b. Old towels, disposable towels or clean rags.
c. Trash Bags
d. Baby diaper disposal bags - these work great to pick up poop
(never leave poop in public areas).
e. Carpet Cleaner, freshener, disinfectant spray.
f. Brush and comb (to clean up your dog)
g. Box of corn starch - this works great in a pinch. If you dog
has diarrhea you can powder this on the fur and brush it out quickly
with less mess. This works even in long hair dogs (we know we have
h. No Rinse shampoo - The type you spray on and wipe with a towel.
i. Lint and Hair remover (to help clean up the hotel rooms or your
||First Aid and Medication
a. First Aid Kit (see disaster planning
for a list of items you may wish to include)
c. medications, supplements, and preventatives
d. Complete information on your dog and your veterinarian. (Note:
if your dog becomes ill along the way this can save a great deal
of time in admitting into a veterinary clinic)
...i. The vaccination records and health
...ii. Your vet's name, address, telephone,
fax, emergency ...telephone.
||List of Hotels and Accommodations
that accept dogs. You should also have planned out your trip to
arrive at these destinations on time. But if you somehow miss your
schedule, you will need to have alternatives available. (More about
planning your hotels in part two).