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Driving Long Distance with Two Dogs


kortnee

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My husband and I are moving to Florida from Nebraska. It is about a 26-27 hour drive. He is moving next week and then I will head down there the end of May. I will have both dogs with me and a friend is riding along with me as well. I am not planning on putting them in their kennels because I know they will bark and I want them to be able to get comfortable. I plan to get tranquilizers from the vet and just put a blanket in the backseat for them to lay on and maybe bring some bones for them to chew on as well. Does anyone have any tips/suggestions for driving a long distance with pets? How often do I give them water and how much? How often do I stop to let them go to the bathroom? How often should I feed them and how much? I want to keep them comfortable and don't want any accidents in the car. Thank goodness they don't get car sick!

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We'll be off for about a thousand miles (each way) with four dogs this summer. I would not travel without the dogs being in their crates, for safety reasons primarily, but also because ours travel much more calmly in crates (they sleep rather than trying to serve as lookouts). I don't care for tranquilizers personally. Maybe anti-nausea if I had a dog I knew got carsick.

When we go on road trips, we do feed a bit lightly, but not much. We stop every few hours for ourselves as much as for the dogs. We do walk them briefly at each stop, so they can stretch their legs and potty if need be. We offer water each time. The worst part about traveling with dogs for me is finding decent rest stops and keeping the dogs from snarfing abandoned chicken bones and god-knows-what from these high-traffic places. Being suburban dogs, our guys think they can only poop on grass (let's not discuss carpet or floors for the sake of this discussion :P ) so some rest stops pose a challenge to get them to go!

Overall though, we find it both easy and enjoyable to travel with our dogs. They offer a good excuse for relatively frequent rests, however brief, and I believe that's good for us as well as them.

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Idaho Cairns

I will not disagree with Brad on the crates for safety reasons but we do not use them when we travel with our dogs--if your dogs are used to crates, their own blankets, etc. it is a good and safe way to travel with the pups. Ours are used to long trips so we simply let them lay on blankets in the back seat. I wouldn't use any kind of tranquilizers unless there was an issue with car sickness--then we have used children's Benedryl.

After the first few miles and the dogs have figured out they aren't going to their usual walking places, they settle down and sleep most of the time--we don't get a peep out of them. I use intestate rest stops on about the same frequency that we humans need to pause and get refreshed. Five to ten minutes walking around, sniffing out the place, and going is enough to keep them refreshed. We purchased some suction cup window shades to keep the back of the car cool-that afternoon sun can be a real problem on dogs and the shades keep them relatively comfortable as they ride.

We have a travel water and feed thing that works out great, fits nicely on the floor. It has a self contained container of water with a plastic plug that you can pull to fill a small drinking dish and the dogs are free to water when they wish and I think they like the "home water" while they travel.

Other than that, it is a no brainer traveling with dogs--they do very well, don't get too excited and just do what Cairns do--toodle along with the plan.

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We travel with Fearghus in the RV quite a bit. He sleeps in his crate without too many problems. Every time we stop I'll let him out to drink some water and have a quick walk outside. He tends to get a little constipated after so many days of traveling (from all the excitement) so sometimes I'll give him a sweet potato treat to help out. Since we're in a RV I wouldn't feel comfortable if he weren't in the crate. Sometimes I do take him out and hold him if it's been lots of hours.

The only time we had a problem with an accident was last August on a trip through Nevada. I was holding him and he started squirming like crazy. There wasn't another off-ramp for many miles. I had just got finished telling my husband that we needed to pull over when Fearghus just couldn't hold it anymore and peed on me. To be fair to Fearghus, he was still very young, around 4 months old or so and he did try to get back to the crate and his towel. Poor guy felt bad about it but we haven't had any accidents since then.

Cheers,

Tami

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My two are so practiced with road trips that they will lay down after being on the highway for 10 mins. They only wake up if we are on ramp that curves, or if we slow down... both indications of getting somewhere and getting out of the car.

When we stop, we always water the dogs and walk them. We do it every few hours and it does add time on to the trip, but does break it up nicely.

So depending on how far out spaced the rest stops are, you might be stopping at everyone if they are about 2-3 horus apart.

I've never had to medicate mett & bratt... you might coniser a few dry runs and see how they do before you go that route.

Tracy, Amos, Walter, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins

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Earlier in the month we took Kirby on a quick weekend trip - 5 hours out to Little Rock and then 5 hours back. He stayed in the back seat and slept most of the time. Stopped a couple of times for food and fuel and tried to potty - he was to busy sniffing anything to do much in the bathroom department. No accidents. Offered him water in the car every so often - he did great!

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Being suburban dogs, our guys think they can only poop on grass so some rest stops pose a challenge to get them to go!

bradl -

When traveling with either of my dogs, I found that gas stations along major highways, turnpikes, usually have a relatively secluded grassy area towards the rear, away from traffic. I look for these places to walk my dog and of course always carry a poop bag to pick up after him. I've also found that shopping malls along these routes offer similar areas at the far ends of the parking lots.

FEAR THE CAIRN!

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Unfortunately, we (Layla & I) can offer no advice as Layla has a hard time driving for more than 10 miles. Good luck with your move and hope your dogs do just fine on the travel.

Husband and dog missing ...25 cents reward for dog

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Murphy, our Cairn, does very well on long distant trips to see family, but he always rides in his crate for safety purposes. We have a doggie seat belt for our Lab, Gracie, who cannot tolerate the crate. My focus on safety comes from the school of hard knocks. I was seriously injured in a car accident when I was younger, and was told my seatbelt saved my life. So I just don't want to take a chance that my dogs might be turned into little projectiles, and they don't seem to mind the confinement at all.

Do your dogs normally get really nervous and panicky during car trips? If not, I would forgo the tranquilizers. We have used Benadryl for Gracie a few times, as she is quite the nervous nelly in a car. Murphy is calm and always falls asleep the minute we hit the interstate. We stop for breaks every few hours and walk and water both dogs. We bring bottled water from our home. We feed them a light meal at least an hour prior to leaving and sometimes offer treats when we are at rest stops. We learned about this the hard way. We were eating as we drove, so we decided Murphy should have some treats in the car. Well, he vomited, so we don't do that anymore. :)

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I'm with Brad here - I've traveled quite a bit with dogs, occasionally cross country. For safety reasons, I only travel with dogs in crates. We typically stop every 3-4 hours for gas and that's when we let the dogs out too, but we stop even more often if we feel like we or the dogs need it.

If you're afraid of the dogs crying when crated, sometimes it works to drive around town for awhile with them crated. I put crate pads and towels in the crates for comfort. When traveling with dogs that cry, I've found that sometimes it helps to cover the front of their crates with a towel to reduce the visual stimuli. Typically dogs will settle down and stop crying after a few minutes.

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My dogs travel in crates with water all the time. I feed normally and potty normally or whenever I need a walk. If your dogs don’t like crates you coukd try the seatbelt harness. I just feel safer if the dogs are contained even just opening the car door is safer, no escapes no getting into anything while you are out of the car. My dogs wear ID tags with my cell number and harnesses or martingale collars that they cannot slip out of.

Linda
MACH3 Red Lion Springin Miss Macho CDX RAE OF ME
Marquee Cairnoch Glintofmacho CD RE MX MXJ OF ME

Glenmore Hjour Summer Sun

 

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They're not nervous in the car. They're extremely overly excited and run all over the place. That was the main reason for the tranquilizers. So hopefully they'll be calm or sleeping rather than trying to jump all over me while I'm driving. I partially didn't want to use the kennels because I drive a 4 door maxima so the kennels take up the whole backseat. Which means not only can whoever is in the passenger seat not lean their seat back but also the dogs kennels will be right up against the back of our chairs so they won't even be able to see out in the slightest. Maybe I'll get the tranquilizers but not use them unless I absolutely have to. I'll be getting them from the vet so I'll definitely ask them about it too. I suppose their is a possibility it could make them sick so maybe trying them out beforehand would be a good idea. Thanks for all the advice! Getting ready to go on a 27 hour road trip and the only thing I'm really concerned about is my dogs lol. That's a trait of a true dog owner right there!

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I would certainly suggest that you take them out for some test drives in low traffic times to find out if you can train them to leave the driver alone. I drive with my two dogs free roaming in the car, but they have been trained not to touch the driver or block the gear shift. Whenever they put a foot on me or my seat I told them no while gently pushing them back the way they came from then praised when they stayed in the passenger or back seat. Both of them caught on pretty fast. Mine are pretty excited the first few miles, but settle down and sleep when we get out of the city. They do, however, keep their noses against the air vents whenever we drive through rural areas, especially if there is any sort of livestock around.

Who rescued whom?

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To me life is full of risk-management assessments. I'm not planning on having an accident, but who does? I know multiple dog people who have been in car accidents with their dogs. Nearly all of them are still alive, dogs included. (Sadly, not all.) A Cairn weighs about the same as a bowling ball, more or less. I don't wish to have a loose bowling ball with teeth (and a skull as hard as iron) flying around in my car in the event of a wreck. Likewise in a wreck loose dogs have been known to run away, get loose and get run over, and supposedly in some cases go into protective mode and attempt to prevent first responders from reaching an injured owner. I have a hard time imagining a Cairn doing this, frankly, but it seems at least possible, theoretically. I drive a MINI most of the time, so yeah, there's not room for much else when two or four dog crates are in there! I still don't drive with 'em loose.

They make seatbelt harnesses for dogs (example: http://www.ruffrider.com/) -- those seem like a terrific option for allowing a dog to share cabin space while still being restrained.

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The seatbelts work great, I used one on my first cairn. The only thing if the dog isn't used to a harness you have to train them to get used to its. Mine now ride in crates for out of town trips, they cannot see out, but they don’t seem to care, they sleep. Like anything else, its training.

Linda
MACH3 Red Lion Springin Miss Macho CDX RAE OF ME
Marquee Cairnoch Glintofmacho CD RE MX MXJ OF ME

Glenmore Hjour Summer Sun

 

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First of all - Early Welcome To Florida!!! You'll LOVE it here!!! (shhhh, don't tell Idaho Cairns, but we have golf 365 days of the year!) :innocent:

I totally agree w/ Brad on the kennels. And while I never compared a Cairn to a bowling ball w/ teeth, I must agree that they do have iron skulls. Murphy's kennel is his safe place and he totally shuts down when he goes in there. He has traveled in a crate since we picked him up at the breeder, which was a 2 1/2 hour trek. The next trip was his move from AR to FL - 14 hours. I understand the room constraints in your vehicle, but is there any way you could splurge for smaller sized kennels that would fit comfortably in the backseat? They will more than likely sleep most of the time anyway.

He knows the car ride equals something good at the end. Now a days it's a trip to Gramma and Grampa's where he is spoiled rotten and doesn't even say good-bye to us... :crybaby: So, practice now w/ a trip to a dog park or someplace they love! Maybe even just around town, then back home for a special treat.

Good Luck! You will be fine, especially once you see the Welcome To The Sunshine State sign!!

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I traveled with a dog for 14 yrs, motel nearly every night out, up to 42 wks/yr; I learned alot then and have learned more since. Sorry, it's long, I repeated some 'already said' stuff, so here ya go:

For an hour or longer travel, I prefer crating, simply because loose dogs can be projectiles in an accident, bad for both them and you. But if crates are out of the question, then I would suggest harnesses with seatbelt tethers. Many a loose dog has gotten overly excited and jumped out when a door is opened, to cause great concern/never to be seen again/have a fatality. "Seatbelt tethers" (one end clips into the seatbelt receptacle, the other has a harness clip on it) can be purchased separately from harnesses; --and I leave a leash attached as well, so I have the leash wrapped around my wrist before I open a crate/unclip the seatbelt. "Loose" isn't good, what if your AC quit, you couldn't open the windows--I had it happen in 104 heat.

3 types of seatbelt tethers:

http://cgi.ebay.com/CAR-SAFETY-HARNESS-Dog-Pet-SEAT-BELT-Seatbelt-New-Black-/350388794748?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item905b3f9a07[Cruising Companion seems to be color versions of Guardian Gear travel harnesses--comes with a seatbelt tether & tells you which vehicles it won't fit, although you can just put the seatbelt through the strap's loop. Cairns take a Sm/Md, fits about 11#-24#]

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=19387&cmpid=01csegb&ref=3312&subref=AA&CAWELAID=653065385 Kwik Connect Tether attaches to the latch bar in vehicles (those bars for securing child seats, buried between the seat back and bench, also the floor latch bars in SUVs & minvans. You can also tie extra leashes to these for a tether.)

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3951212 loop that goes over a seat belt

As far as tranqs, I wouldn't. Vets seem to dispense 'ace' (acepromazine) as the 'tranq of choice' and it can have an adverse effect on terriers--totally opposite of what you wanted! Mine are used to travel and have no problems, but I have used Hyland's Calms Forte (1 tab/6hrs) on fosters, it's a homeopathic remedy I usually find in Walmart's vitamin section. The only way I can describe the effect is, it 'zens' them out, just calm, not sleepy, not 'impaired' feeling by a drug, just easygoing calm. If you're afraid of carsickness, I'd recommend Bonine, available next to the Dramamine in most drug stores; it doesn't have the 'sleepy' ingredient that Dramamine has that can make them feel 'druggy', possibly sick due to the druggy effect -and the bonus is Bonine works for 24 hours. Benedryl might be a good choice, too. I would 'test' anything you might use, beforehand at home, so you have an idea of just how it works for them, and take a drive during 'testing'--excitement can sometimes overcome any 'drug effect' to the point of seeming to not work.

I would recommend feeding lighter in the morning, before travel, and feed a regular amount at night when you've stopped--maybe even keep a few of the morning 'bits' handy for treating during the day. Mine tend to drink less during travel, so I will add some water to their kibble, just to be sure they keep normal hydration. [should I admit mine also get some vanilla frozen yogurt, at some travel stop any day we're on the road?] Mine usually get a nice brisk walk after stopping for the night, it lets them see & hear some of the noises they'll hear at night in a motel, seems to calm them some, makes up for some of the inactivity/helps their potty schedule stay on track; and helps my 'kinks'. Of course some familiar bedding/toys are recommended; uh, no squeaky toys in motel rooms :)

As for 'potty stops' I suggest not using the 'doggie potty areas', I use the far end of any rest stop, and pick up after my furbutts, because everybody uses the 'doggie potty areas' and no telling what's being "carried" by other dogs--just not an issue I need during travel-- or use any other grassy area I can spot. Churches and schools are good choices, too.

How often to stop--how often do your dogs go at home? Inactive at home, mine easily go 8 hrs--but not me, so we usually stop every 2-3 hrs and they get a 'pit stop' at the same time--and offered a drink.

I learned the value of underpads as seat coverings long ago; have a mess to clean up? Just pick up the underpad and toss, put down a new one; also cover anything in the floor--barf flies! (Incontinent underpads, pkg of 14? at Walgreens, 30x36 size--sure they're available elsewhere, but I know it's not a giant pkg at Walgreen's.) (Underpads will do no good if your open purse is available!) Old washcloth in a zip bag (in case you have to clean up a dog & water is available); pet stain cleaner, and possibly wet wipes w/o alcohol or antibacterial, to clean up dog/yourself; old bath towel, in case of rain/wet dog/feet/general 'mess' in car. Pet gate or tall cooler to use to block motel room door, extra insurance against escapes; or extra leash to tie leashes to furniture. Copy of all shot records at hand. Recent pics of dogs in case the unthinkable happens & you have to make 'lost pet' flyers, you can make up one for each before you leave, so you can just find a copier. Tape (clear packing tape) an ID label (I use printer mailing labels) with previous address and 'new' address and contact cell phone numbers on their collars and harnesses--labels can be removed/updated at new home until you get new rabies tags from local vet for them and/or new ID tags --remember to give 'travel' info/contact to microchip company; verify update of new addy/contact numbers upon arrival.

And the window shades are a great idea--I happen to use static cling shade film (Wallyworld automotive section), but it sure keeps the car from roasting!

[Might check with Family Dollar stores, I found cairn-sized crates 24Lx16Wx14H for $15, fits my was-24# & 12#]

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We travel with our two Cairns all the time, either in a crew cab F-350 (lots of room) or a VW Jetta (not much room). The dogs always ride in their crates. They feel comfortable in them, they're calmer and they're safer. They just sleep anyway, so it really makes no difference to them whether they can see out or not. And be assured that we have active, normal Cairns, so it's not that they are couch-potatoes all the time. And think of it this way, if they're crated, you don't have to sedate them to keep them from jumping around. Maybe they'll bark or cry a little while, but they'll get over it and go to sleep.

Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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