When hunting with your gun dog, one of the most important considerations is getting your pets to and from your destination as safely as possible. Important tips for keeping you and your pet safe and comfortable while on the road are discussed below.
Purchase a Crate
Whether or not you decide to crate train your dog for potty training purposes at home, a crate is a crucial investment if you plan to drive your pet to hunting excursions. Not only do loose dogs distract drivers, but in the unfortunate event of a car accident, unrestrained dogs are often seriously injured. A hunter should never trust a dog not to jump out of the bed of a truck, as even well-behaved animals have been known to make the leap, with disastrous results. A good travel crate will be just large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around, and should have hard sides, be easy to clean, and be properly ventilated. The Ruff Tough Kennel is an excellent choice, as it can also be tied down to the bed of a truck or attached to similarly sized kennels.
Practice for Longer Trips
If you are planning a long road trip, help your dog acclimate to the experience by first practicing traveling in the crate for shorter distances around town. This will also help you identify potential problems, such as motion sickness or a crate aversion.
Dealing with Motion Sickness
Just like humans, some dogs suffer from motion sickness. Most commonly, motion sickness occurs in younger dogs whose balance has not yet fully developed. These pets often outgrow the tendency towards motion sickness. However, for adult dogs, there are a number of remedies available. For instance, many pet owners restrict food for four hours before a trip, but then give their dog a piece of sugary hard candy right before getting in the car to alleviate motion sickness symptoms. For other pets, a prescription for Dramamine or other nausea reducing medication may be necessary.
Pack for Emergencies
Anything can happen when you are on the road. Always have a first aid kit handy, your dog’s immunization records, and enough food and water to last your pet a few days in case you become stranded. Should your dog become lost in the field, make sure your pet has a collar with proper identification and that you have an up to date photo of your pet.
While travelling in the car make sure the temperature remains comfortable for your pet. Especially if your dog is in a crate, where air flow will be limited, it is important to keep the car or truck cool. Never leave your dog in a hot car unattended, even if the windows are rolled down. A good rule of thumb is if the temperature is too warm for an infant, it is too warm for your dog.
Know the Laws
If you are planning to cross any state or national boundaries, make sure you know the proper laws. For instance, Canada may require additional documentation for your pet, while certain states, such as Idaho, require proof of health documentation of hunting dogs.