September 23, 2010
"Keeping your dog crated while traveling," Bob said, "is a safety measure as important as wearing your seatbelt. The crate should be large enough to be comfortable, but not so large that your dog can get thrown around in it on rough roads. It should have dry bedding, but not a rug with monofilament backing. Dogs that chew such rugs get very sick."
This tip is from Bob Olson of River Road Kennels, 7451 South Porcupine Lake RD, Lena, WI 54139; (920) 848-3939; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have more than one dog, Bob strongly recommends crating each one separately. If your crate is in the bed of your pickup, he said it should be well secured to the pickup bed, not loose to slide around on rough roads and in sudden stops. Also, your pickup bed and tailgate should have a non-slip matting to give your dog secure footing.
Bob recommends stopping every couple of hours to air your dog and give him a drink. He also recommends taking plenty of food from home so you don't have to give him something he's not used to while traveling.
"Carry fresh water afield," he said, "so you can stop and give him a drink now and then. Also, an occasional moist meat pack will give him extra energy."
Bob said you should take all your regular training and handling equipment along. You should also consult a veterinarian, one who hunts, about a proper first aid kit.
"If burrs will be a problem," he said, "have a groomer trim your spaniel before you leave home."
Don't miss tips for your pointer, here, and your retriever, here.
He said that before leaving home, you should make sure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date, and you should carry his vaccination records with you. You should also know where emergency veterinarian care will be available at your destination.
When stopping at a restaurant, Bob said you should park in a safe place and lock your dog in his crate with ample ventilation. When staying overnight in a motel that accepts pets, keep your in-room dog crated, at least whenever you are out of the room. If he's noisy, put a bark collar on him. (As another option, Bob suggested having your noisy dog read one of my Gun Dog pieces. He didn't indicate whether that would enrapture him into ecstasy or bore him into unconsciousness.)
If the motel doesn't accept pets, you have to keep your dog in your vehicle. Bob stressed making sure he has adequate ventilation and is safely locked in.
"On the opening day of pheasant season in South Dakota a few years ago, the weather was unusually warm," he said. "In fact, it was hot. Several dogs died that day from overheating.
"If you're going to hunt in such conditions, you should first make sure your dog is in excellent physical condition. Then you should carry fresh water, both for giving him a drink and for wetting him down. And you should hunt him only for very short periods.
"Better yet, don't hunt on days like that. A dog can drop dead before the average owner even knows there is a problem."