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Safe travel for your dogs
by Nick Mays

THE SAFE transportation of dogs has never been such an important issue as it is at the present time with exhibitors planning to travel to shows up and down the country as the show season unfolds.

So, what are your options on transportation of dogs?

Well, most of us drive to shows, or to take dogs for mating, or even to make family visits.
The usual way of confining a dog or dogs in your car is to have a metal guard dividing the rear of the car from the back seats, thus allowing the dogs their own enclosed area. Such dog guards may be bought cheaply from most motoring supply stores, and some cars even include them in the purchase price as optional extras.

The next method is to place the dog or dogs in a crate. To the uninitiated, 'crate' may conjure up images of a wooden box, nailed shut, and hardly suitable for holding an animal.
But dog crates are quite another matter; most are made of hard, durable plastic or metal, with doors made of strong plastic or metal bars, which secure tightly in place. A good crate should also have plenty of ventilation holes set around it, thus to enable to dog to feel comfortable and get maximum ventilation during a car journey.

Equally, however, the owner should be aware that cars can get very hot very quickly during even the shortest of journeys. So precautions should be taken to keep the car interior itself as cool as possible for dogs, especially those confined in crates. Needless to say, fresh drinking water should always be available for the dogs.

Again, dog crates can be purchased easily from specialist suppliers, many of who advertise regularly within OUR DOGS or have trade stands at shows.

i also know of exhibitors who have purchased electric cool boxes which can be plugged into the accessory sockets in cars, These can be used to keep damp towels cool for use in emergencies or to keep drinking water cold on long hot journeys.

Of course, there are some dog owners who are members of a rare breed which may not have a car or even be able to drive, and might rely on either the generosity of friends to drive them and their dogs to shows, or else brave public transport.

Each rail company, bus company or tram company have their own policy on dogs (or cats) being carried on their vehicles. Generally speaking, a dog will travel for a minimum set fare, but should be kept on the floor, not on the seats and should not cause a nuisance to other passengers.

If you are embarking on a significant journey by public transport, then it is always best to contact the appropriate transport company on your planned route and ascertain their policy on the carrying of animals.

Sea dogs

Ferries are often used to travel from the UK to other countries, or for 'short hops' from the British mainland to nearby islands. Dogs are generally allowed to travel on ferries, but most ferry companies expect them to remain confined in their owner' car or in a special animal holding area below decks. As with public transport, it is always advisable to check with ferry companies on their animal transportation policy and fare structure.

Air today, gone tomorrow...

Air travel is no longer the pursuit of the seriously rich or non-dog owners. The advent of the Pets Travel Scheme has made it possible for dog exhibitors to take their dogs by plane or ferry virtually anywhere in mainland Europe, and also Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Obviously, it is necessary to be fully aware of the requirements of the PETS scheme, as dogs will need to be microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies and blood tested before they are allowed to travel. The Home Office website dedicated to the PETS scheme is a useful starting point, or most vets hold a list of the requirements.

Aeroplanes will usually only allow dogs to be carried in the hold (albeit a heated section) and then they must be confined in a suitable airline approved animal crate. These may be purchased from specialist airline shippers. Similarly, if you are exporting a dog, you will need to enlist the services on an approved animal carrier, who will advise on the suitable crate in which the dog must be transported, together with all the necessary documentation.

Finally, it is always advisable, in these days of Breed Specific legislation, to check out the laws in individual countries pertaining to certain breeds of dog and whether or not the import of these breeds is permitted.