Friday, March 16, 2012

Hunting & road trip survival with your dog

We discovered on our first day into the field with Natasha Rost that hitting the road with your dog is like trying to hit the road with your baby. Both need many items that will often take up more space than expected. To be better prepared for the next trip checked about to see what other items we should consider adding to our growing Travel with Natasha check list. So as a memo to self...

Whether on on the road for field training, trials or a hunt a here is a list of items to pack for your dog. Essentials include a portable kennel, food and water jug,  and their appropriate dishes. We use a collapsable dog water bowl and feeder made of nylon that zips together. Make sure you have enough food and water on hand especially if out for many days or if the day is hot.  Five gallons of fresh water will last the average dog about a week. Pack standard dog kibbles that your dog is accustomed to at home, but consider some other food items to stimulate a canine appetite provide added energy for when your dog is too tired to eat much or sometimes anything. A meat-based canned dog food or some savory chicken noodle soup full of fat and carbohydrates poured over kibbles will usually do the trick.   And don't forget treats to reward her in the field.

 Another essential is a first-aid kit and any meds they may be on. Discuss with your vet the items that may be needed for your kit: antibiotics, eye wash/drops, doggy aspirin to help relieve soreness from over exertion All of the essentials need to be quickly accessible. Other recommended items include de-skunking ingredients,  leash,  whistle,  training collar/transmitter/battery charger, chargers, dog towels, bed spread for motel bed, neoprene vest, chewing devices.  If the day (or evenings) are chilly you'll want to pack a dog coat or blanket and bedding.

A large rubber maid plastic waterproof container is ideal for a storage bin.  Or if your auto allows, building drawers into the back is a handy way to store items. Keep your storage bin or drawers stocked and ready to roll on moments notice. 

Other items you may want to toss in the box for you include ear plugs, dishes, forks and knives, bird bags or dog waste.

Once you have your dog bag or box packed then you need to make sure the actual travel  is easy, safe and calming for her. When we travel we keep Natasha in doggy seat belt.  Travel kennel/crate is another option. We have discovered that Natasha tends to get car sick so it is also best not to over feed/water her and be certain there is sufficient air flow. Paper towels or wipes for easy clean up come in handy for those times when she does become sick.
Natasha travels safely in her harness.
Photo by DC Martinez
Other recommendations include a Leatherman for when the dog happens to have a close encounter with a porcupine or cactus. 

Treat your dog as you would your own baby,  NEVER leave your dog in a closed car. Doing so when the weather is warm can literally be a death sentence for your pet. Five reasons why leaving a dog in a hot car can be deadly are:

  1. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.
  2. Even on seemingly mild days, an enclosed car can be deadly. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour.
  3. Enclosed cars heat up quickly. In a study by San Francisco State University, when it was 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car rose to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes.
  4. A dog's normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.
  5. Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car's internal temperature.

If you plan to travel across the border with your hunting dogs, the customs agents might request a vet-signed copy of your dog’s shot records. You’ll need proof of rabies and other common inoculations to ensure a hassle-free crossing. 

Have Dog, Will Travel: Road Trips with Your Dog 
Must-Know Tips For Traveling With Hunting Dogs
Essential Gear for Traveling
Hunting Dog Travel Tips
Hot Cars Are Death Traps for Dogs

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