Travel & Camping

We enjoy camping with our Newfoundlands and traveling with them to dog events or for family visits.  However, when you leave home with your dogs, it is wise to be prepared for the unexpected, such as a vehicle break-down or an escape.  Those working in emergency situations are rarely prepared to handle pets, especially giant breed dogs.  Here are some suggestions to help you prepare:

Identification:  Should your dog escape, a collar with identification and contact information, and a microchip or tattoo, would help those who secured your dog contact you. Most emergency services personnel are not trained for assisting animals in an emergency situation, and their focus will be on the people.  Loose dogs are at a greater risk of being killed or injured in traffic, or being shot by law enforcement.  Strongly built crates that are secured inside the vehicle provide protection during an accident and allow emergency personnel or animal control officials to manage the dogs.  Keeping a well-displayed, brightly colored folder labeled “EMERGENCY INFORMATION” with documents such as color photos, identification information including microchip information, any medical information, rabies certificates, contact information for you and your veterinarian or other designee would help ensure that this information was available if needed.

When you travel, with or without dogs, if you leave other pets at home or at a boarding facility, you may want to consider leaving a house key with someone you trust who will take the pets to a boarding facility, care for them or transfer them to a designee if needed.

In the event of a vehicle breakdown or minor accident, here are some good resources to have for pets in emergencies:

  • Reflective blanket or shade tarp to make shelter from sun
  • Reflective striping for collar or safety vest, attachable strobe lights
  • Chain or cable to secure the dog outside of the vehicle if crate is compromised
    (not just a nylon leash, which is easily chewed through by a stressed Newf)
  • Bright orange safety vests for you and the dogs
  • Plenty of fresh water
  • Battery operated fan with plenty of air movement
    (vehicle battery may not be usable)
  • Flashlights and headlamps
  • First Aid kit
  • Swiss Army pocketknife
  • Clean towels
  • Cell phone, charged, & charger
  • Bungees, rope & duct tape
  • Sun shades or exterior windshield covers for vehicle windows
  • Battery booster with 12V power outlet
  • Bolt cutters (for crate wire)

Some common items for first aid kits include:  scissors, tape, gauze (wounds or tourniquet), thermometer, syringes, Wet Ones, Betadine, sterile saline, antibiotic ointment, vet wrap, latex gloves, Gas-X, tweezers, tongue depressors, epsom salts, activated charcoal, and peroxide or ipecac syrup.  Visit with your vet about a course in pet first aid training.  Keep the number for ASPCA Poison Control in the First Aid kit, (888) 426-4435, along with your veterinarian’s number.  Also, be familiar with the symptoms of bloat.  Stress is one of the causes of bloat, and some of the conditions of traveling can be stressful to dogs.  (Staying in a room next to the pool with a Newfoundland can be one of those!)  It is also better to avoid unusual treats while traveling.

Avoid traveling with dogs during periods of excessive heat.  There is very little that basic emergency supplies will do to improve conditions for a Newfoundland under these conditions.

Be prepared by planning.  Be sure that your dogs’ vaccinations and flea & tick and heartworm prevention are current.  Identify veterinary resources at your destination, & possibly along the route.  Have a plan for locating your dog if there is an escape.  Prepare a flyer ahead of time with color photos, medical information and contact information.  If needed, you can make copies and post those in vet clinics, shelters, grooming shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, feed stores and schools, and you can leave copies with delivery drivers, garbage & recycling collectors, mailmen, taxi drivers, utility companies, Police & Sheriff departments and rescue groups.

If you will be staying in a motel or hotel, confirm that large dogs are accepted when you make your reservation.  Old sheets, bath towels or the rubber-backed 5′ x 6′ “cut-to-size” rugs from Penney’s help keep your room cleaner and make clean-ups easier.  These also help keep your dog’s lips off the treated carpet.  Take plenty of poop pick-up bags and dispose of your dog’s waste properly.  Be sure that when you leave, you would be invited back, to make dog travel easier for all of those who travel with their companions.

Last, but also of significance:  a roll of quarters and cash kept in the vehicle can reduce delay when you travel on toll roads, whether for you or the vehicle in front of you.  Toll booths are often unattended.

After you have prepared, relax and enjoy the ride!

Some traveling and camping resources:

Crossing state boundaries?  There can be different regulations in different states, and local ordinances may supercede state regulations.  The USDA pages on travel with dogs refer to the State Veterinarian for information on that state’s regulations:  State Veterinarians.  There may be regulations other than vaccinations for cities that could affect your travel or your stay there, such as laws prohibiting that dogs remain in vehicles, etc.  USDA also provides some information on international travel.  And AVMA has a summary of state vaccination requirements for rabies.

Bigfoot Club stories about traveling and camping experiences:

RV or Camping site services:

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