From Hobo the Bearded Collie
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Welcome to my advice column.  Remember, I am only a dog like you.  My opinions are to the best of my knowledge but are only opinions, researched or what I feel is correct.. The writer of this page is not responsible for any actions the reader may take as a result of reading this column.  If that is OK with you, keep reading.  If not, then go back and enjoy the other pages. You can address your questions to Hobo by Email with the topic Hobo's Advice (click on my picture)  

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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


Veterinarian Visit
a. Vaccinations up to date (do not duplicate vaccinations which are current)
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 too).
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.

3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Clean Up
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 tried it).
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 car)
6. First Aid and Medication
a. First Aid Kit (see disaster planning for a list of items you may wish to include)
b. Tweezers
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 records
...ii. Your vet's name, address, telephone, fax, emergency ...telephone.
7. 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).

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