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Question

What are some of your tips for traveling successfully with your dogs or other animals? 

 

 

Answers

We found it's getting easier to travel with your favorite companion: https://www.aarp.org/travel/vacation-ideas/family/info-2018/how-to-travel-with-pets.html

 

 

 

Keep Your Dog With You

Pets should be with you as much as possible during your stay so they do not bark and whine longingly for you or get into mischief while you are away. If you must leave a pet alone, we recommend leaving them in a pet crate or cage designed for them.

 

If your dog barks loudly, the neighbors may complain or hotel security may be alerted. Once notified, security is obligated to visit the situation. You may be requested to leave if the dog is considered a nuisance.

 

Locate Off-Leash Dog Parks Near You

Most communities require your dog to be kept on a leash. After being on a leash all day, you want your dog to have a safe spot for your dog to run, sniff and socialize. A Google search can help you locate parks along your road trip path. Or ask your vacation rental host/hotel concierge for recommendations.

 

Use Your Seat Belt — Especially if Transporting Dogs

Of course, you know it’s important to buckle up your passengers and yourself when on the road. But did you know that the California vehicle code requires your dog to be restrained too?

 

According to California’s Vehicle Code: All animals are to be restrained or contained when being transported on a load-bearing part of the vehicle, unless the space is enclosed. 

 

Obey Laws for Transporting Dogs 

There are no federal laws restricting transporting dogs. Other states, like California, do have specific restrictions. Many laws look to protect the animal, while others focus more on protecting you and your passengers.

 

Before you take off cross-country or just to the vet’s office, make sure you are familiar with the laws that pertain to transporting dogs. Many states specifically require animals to be secured when transported in an open area of a vehicle. In some cases, the laws apply only to dogs.

 

It is best to review the state(s) you will be traveling in for their specific laws, especially as laws and regulations are frequently updated.  

 

  • Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island laws require transporting dogs on some part of the exterior of the vehicle, such as a pickup truck bed to be restrained or contained. While Massachusetts requires all animals to be restrained or contained unless the space is enclosed.
  • Nevada and Washington's laws focus on safety and cruelty to animals, making it a misdemeanor to transport an animal in a vehicle (1) in a cruel or inhuman [sic] manner in Nevada, or (2) in a manner that will jeopardize the safety of the animal or the public in Washington.
  • New Jersey will fine you at least $250 and as much as $1,000 if law enforcement believes that you are transporting an animal in an improper way. You also could potentially face charges under animal cruelty laws. The law also forbids dogs from hanging out of windows (and also riding in the beds of pickup trucks). Proper restraints needed for your pets when in New Jersey are defined as: 
    • Buckled up with restraints specifically designed for pets, or
    • Safely stowed in a pet crate.
  • Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine can charge you using their distracted-driving laws if you have your pet on your lap.
  • Hawaii is stricter in its laws. They explicitly forbid you from holding a pet on your lap.
  • At least 14 states and many local jurisdictions have laws against leaving pets unattended in a vehicle. This is especially critical, no matter what state you are in.

Four reasons why leaving a dog in a hot car can be deadly:

  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. 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. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour.
  3. 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.
  4. Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car’s internal temperature.

While none of the laws require your pet to be restrained or secured if, inside an enclosed part of your car, it’s safest to do so for both your sakes. Here are a few tips on how you all can be both safe and law-abiding while transporting dogs in your cars.

 

Pick the Right Car

When transporting dogs it's easiest to do so in an SUV, or minivan if your furry friend is large. For a smaller pet, a hatchback or small wagon would be sufficient. These cars provide space for not only your extra gear but also a pet carrier. Look for ones with tie downs to secure a crate in the back. The important aspect is to be sure you have sufficient space to allow your pet to stand up and stretch its legs. A larger vehicle for larger dogs is definitely helpful, especially if your Great Dane is part of a larger family. 

 

Ask your carmaker if they provide optional plastic liners and pet barriers for the cargo area. If not, you can find them at pet stores or on the internet.

 

Use Car Crash-Tested Crates

The safest and best way for transporting dogs is to use a car crash-tested crate. You can then use this crate as your pet’s own special private room when staying at your destination.

  

 

Cesar Millan, also known as the Pet Whisperer, recommends when selecting a crate that it:

  • Has durable aluminum and plastic reinforced with fiberglass
  • Is designed to allow for good air circulation for ease of breathing by your pet
  • Has good insulation for year-round comfort
  • Was produced with strict quality guidelines. Reputable brands will offer you at least a two-year warranty.
  • Includes the option for crash bags inside the crate for added protection in case of emergency braking.

You may also want to consider purchasing a ramp or steps designed to help your furry passenger to climb in and out of the car effortlessly.

 

For those of you who prefer a safety harness for your dog, only one has thus far passed the car crash test according to the Center for Pet Safety. The Sleepypod Clickit Sport was rated 5-stars. 

 

Schedule Travel Breaks for Both You and Your Pet 

You’ll want to be sure to schedule plenty of breaks along the way to stretch both your legs and your pooch’s. It’s also a great opportunity to take photos of the marvelous vistas. Plan your travel time to include a break every 2-3 hours.

 

Pack Food, Water, and Bowls 

Make sure you have enough food and water. This is especially important if transporting dogs 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 his appetite and 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.

 

We like to use a cloth bowl that zips up into itself or plastic collapsable bowls for easier storage.

 

Treat Your Dog As You Would Your Own Baby 

Not only must you plan for frequent stretch and potty breaks; you must also NEVER leave your child or your pet in a closed car. Doing so when the weather is warm can literally be a death sentence for your both your baby and your pet.

 

Bring Along a Doggy First-Aid Kit

Another essential for transporting dogs is a doggy first-aid kit and any medication your pet may be on. Before you leave, discuss with your vet the items that may be needed for your dog’s kit. Be certain to have your kit and other essentials quickly accessible. 

Our kit includes:

 

  • Antibiotics
  • Eyewash/drops
  • De-skunking ingredients

 

Checklist of Essentials to Pack

Are you ready to head off on your trip? Just use our handy checklist when transporting dogs to make sure you have all the essentials listed above, plus a few other recommendations to make sure you and your pet have a fabulous vacation.

 

dog friendly, traveling with dog,

 

  • Carrier or crate — We strongly recommend you crate your pet 
  • Sturdy, well-fitting nylon or leather collar or harness, license tag, ID tag(s) and leash
  • Birth certificate and other required documents
  • Food and water dishes 
  • Manual can opener and spoon for canned food for when you are on the road
  • An ample supply of food, plus a few days’ extra
  • Medication, if necessary
  • Healthy treats
  • A blanket or other bedding — Please do not let your pets on the furniture without it.
  • Litter supplies and plastic bags for on the road- Guests must pick up after their pet to avoid added cleaning charges.
  • Favorite toys
  • Chewing preventative — To keep your dog from teething on the furniture
  • Grooming supplies as needed
  • First-aid kit
  • A recent photograph and a written description, including microchip number, name, breed, gender, height, weight, coloring and distinctive markings

 

Question

How can I travel alone from Tenn to Oregon with a 35-lb. elderly dog? He won't fit under a plane seat nor can he sit in a crate on a train seat for 64 hours. I can't put him in cargo. I don't believe I want to attempt the drive by myself, but have no one to go with. It is intended to be one way but I can't find a way  to accomplish it.

 

Answer

 

It sounds like a solution might be to find a someone(s) you could drive cross country with to share the driving and be able to stop regularly for your dog. There are several posts in the Solo Travel forum here (https://community.aarp.org/t5/Solo-Travel/bd-p/bg117) looking for travel partners — many traveling with RVs, which could be a very good solution and more room for your dog to move around on the road. 

 

You also might try contacting an animal organization such as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary or North Shore Animal League and see if they have any recommendations, as they sometimes deal with transporting animals.

 

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