Written by Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels
It’s that season when you’re hitting the road every weekend, dog in tow. Mike Stewart of Wildrose Kennels gives our readers the lowdown on how to prepare when traveling with your dog – whether that it’s a vehicle, an RV or a sweet setup like his EarthRoamer.
Many avid wingshooters and overland adventurers would never consider departing for a destination without the company of their canine partner. Road trips are what we live for! Travelling with dogs, although delightful, does present an expanded list of preparations necessary to ensure a safe, problem-free journey.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Our first considerations are food and water. When travel is approaching I like to get my dog(s) on a set schedule for once a day feeding at the end of the day, close to the time we anticipate stopping for the evening. It’s never a good idea to subject a dog, especially a young one, to the unnatural motions of a vehicle, boat or aircraft on a full stomach.
It’s best for digestion and less risk of motion sickness to feed in the evening when stopped for the day. This allows plenty of time for airing before retiring for the evening. Of course, pack plenty of food in a water-sealed container because switching brands of food mid-trip may result in stomach disorders.
Bring along a couple of gallons of fresh water from home, a precaution that may further keep the dog’s system stable rather than switching to an unfamiliar source of water. The less a dog’s routine is varied on the road, the better.
MAKE A LIST
Other important preparations for the Destination Dog that may prove beneficial:
- The dog’s “place” mat to be used when outside the portable kennel or trailer.
- Brightly colored collar with the contact information and rabies information should the dog become lost.
- A microchip for permanent identification.
- K-9 first aid kit.
- Food and water bowls.
- Tie-out cable, stake and flat collar.
- A listing of veterinary contacts along your route and at the final destination.
- “Poop bags.” Be the responsible owner. Clean up after your dog.
CHOOSING A TRAVEL CRATE
In Part Two next week, we’ll discuss what should be one of your biggest concerns when traveling: safety, and choosing the proper kennel size (and always using tie-down straps). We’ll get to that next week. In the meantime remember: Dogs conditioned from puppyhood to adopt their crates as a place of safety and relaxation love their kennels. It becomes their cave of security. Never use a crate as a means of punishment and avoid allowing anything to occur that would make the pup/dog uncomfortable or fearful of a crate. It’s a happy place.
To all our destination wingshooters and adventurers, we wish you safe journeys as you live your passion.
For more tips and info about gundog or adventure dog training, check out the Wildrose Journal blog and newsletter here.
ABOUT MIKE STEWART | WILDROSE KENNELS
With forty years of association with dogs, pointers, flushers, retrievers, as well as hounds and obedience companion dogs Mike Stewart developed the Wildrose facilities creating a comprehensive gundog-training program focused exclusively on the English Labrador, specifically for the wingshooter and outdoor enthusiasts. He developed the unique, positive, training methodology, “The Wildrose Way,” which is being recognized across the country. Over the past nine years, he has appeared in a variety of television programming featuring retriever training including “The World of Ducks,” with Drake and Deke, the Ducks Unlimited mascots, ” Benelli’s American Bird Hunter,” The American Sportsman,” and other sporting programs. He has produced a series of best-selling DVDs, for hunting dog training, “The Gentleman’s Gundog” series. Mike retired as Chief of Police, University of Mississippi in 2000 after a 25-year career in law enforcement, a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a BPA and MCJ, as well as the FBI National Academy in 1989. He retired from the US Navy Reserves as a Commander in 2005 with nine years as a NCIS credentialed agent.
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