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Old 08-10-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default Dogs and Sprinters

We plan to hit the road one-day and would love to see more articles written on people traveling with their dogs...what ideas they've come up with for keeping them safe while driving, keeping them cool if you have to run in to a restaurant, and all the other things that pets bring along on the trip.

Right now we have a kennel gate installed in the rear of our Tahoe and when we want to go somewhere we can open the l lift glass (or the entire hatch back) and presto we have a secure kennel and they don't suffocate or burn up. A little concerned if someone came along and closed the hatch but so far it hasn't happened and we don't go too far. For the Sprinter I was trying to figure out something similar like a cage door somehow that can be locked. Any ideas other than just a dog box?http://sprinter-source.com/forum/ima...s/thinking.gif
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

If you have even minimal insulation in the van, a good roof vent, and then cut a vent in the floor, your dogs should be fine. The natural flow of air by convection, drawing in cool air from under the vehicle, will usually keep things relatively comfortable . I also drive right on by any restaurant where they have cut down all their trees, and I always manage to find one where I can park in the shade. Parking on grass or gravel is better than parking on tarmac in the hot sun.
Awning style windows can be left open even during a heavy rain.
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Old 08-10-2013, 02:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

We bought our sprinter specifically so we can travel with our dog. We have insulted the inside, installed a fan vent in the roof, and one awning window on the drivers side. When we go to restaurants, we crack the windows, open the awning windows and turn on the fan with the air set to blow in. The van always stays nice and cool even in direct sun. It's also a white van on purpose.

Traveling with a dog is surprisingly easy... Our 70 lbs yellow lab has learned to get out and poo on demand at rest stops and gas stations. We also find parking lots to throw the ball for her. We don't restrict her movements in the van... No kennel or anything. When we drive, she basically sleeps between us on the floor. Three of us on the van's bed can be a little crowded, but we never get cold!

We travel to national forests and cities, and always find ways to walk her and hang out together, and also since the van becomes "home" while traveling, she is ok to hang out for 2-3 hours inside (if we're in an art museum or restaurant). Our trips usually last abou two weeks. Finding shady parks to rest and run her actually enhances or travel experience, we find nice spots that otherwise we might not experience. Also, having her with us allows conversation openings with the locals.... Most people love dogs.... Or at least the people we want to meet.

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Old 08-10-2013, 03:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

I installed some of the rubber anti-skid tape on the slider right below the window, because this is where my dogs put their paws (and claws) to stare out the window. Luckily it is almost the same color as the gray plastic trim, so you don't even notice it.
Camping with my dogs is not a fun option, both need to be leashed so they won't run off after deer. I feel that it is less traumatic for them to stay home when we go on roadtrips; they stay with the ex who has "joint custody" and get spoiled.
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

My tiny little 95 pound mutt goes everywhere with me. In the side slide door footwell there is always water for him. He knows it is there and uses it even while we're moving.

When he waits in the van I keep the front windows open half way and the roof vent open. If it is too hot then I tether him to one of my outside cleats with the water jug hanging down on a line. When I would leave the water on the ground he'd always manage to dump it over. He loves to lay under the Sprinter as a sun shade.

I know that many people advocate crating or a secure special harness for traveling dogs. I've been traveling with my dogs or my Dad's dogs loose in a vehicle for well over 50 years now. I know there is risk, but so far so good. Were I moving another person's dog professionally I'd apply a different standard.

Titan has even done 18 hour turnaround road trips with me. He settles in to the routine perfectly with short walks at rest stops. His relief command is "Take a break" which he responds to on grass or against a post. His favorite food on the road is chicken nuggets. He doesn't get them other than when we're in road food mode.

When I come up to the van he's generally in the driver position seat of power. As I open the door I always announce, "Move over. I'm driving." The times anyone has a comment on that I respond with, "Yep. You have a few drinks and let him drive that one time and now he thinks that he's king of the road."

I know that he is happier hanging with me in the van than without me anywhere else. I do pay close attention to his comfort. vic

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Old 08-10-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

It should be noted that a deploying airbag can kill a dog. Disable the passenger airbag or have your dogs ride in the back to be safe.

There are a couple different spill and splash-proof water containers for dogs. glas1700 showed me a great one he found, I have one that my sister gave me a few years ago. I put that same non-skid tape on the bottom to keep mine from sliding around.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

I haul 5-6 medium sized dogs around in my Sprinter. They ride in plastic crates mounted on top of a wooden pallet that I made. The crates are stacked 2 high and the pallet is secured to the floor of the van. The exterior roof of the van is coated with a ceramic heat reflective material that was sprayed on like bed liner. A Maxx Fan on the roof keeps the dogs comfortable. We've been on 2-3 week road trips and this set up works great!
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

Our dog rides in cars, the truck and soon to be Sprinter using a harness. The harness attaches to the seat belt and restricts movement. Even in the convertible she can hang her head out the window but can not jump out of the car. For the Sprinter Sportsmobile is installing a roof top AC that will run off the battery for an hour, we are having an auto start put on the generator in cae the batteries drop too far and a temperature paging system for the vehicle.
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

My dog/Sprinter story involves my 90 lb Labrador mutt mix. Driving up HWY1 with road switchbacks and noticed he was missing. Turned around back down the highway looking for him. Half mile down the road there he was running after me down the middle of the hwy. He was sitting next to me with the front window open and just disappeared. Since I was looking around the bend I did not see him go out. So do not drive down the road with the window open or you might lose a dog. These dog stories make me sad since old Riley had to be put down 1 1/2 years ago. Sure miss him.
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Dogs and Sprinters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphite Dave View Post
...So do not drive down the road with the window open or you might lose a dog.
I prefer to have my windows open all the way in summer. That let's me hang my arm out the window while driving. While Titan is with me I never roll any window more than 1/3 way down for fear that he might leave the Sprinter.

He likes to hang his head out the window. One day when driving in a questionable area of town I heard a sharp crack and he pulled his head in quickly. The vent shade just near his eye was likely hit with a pellet. It left a hole and star cracks. Just missed him. I just don't understand it. Someone who would shoot at a dog riding down the street would do the same to a person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphite Dave View Post
...
These dog stories make me sad since old Riley had to be put down 1 1/2 years ago. Sure miss him.
The rescue people told me that Titan is part Lab. He certainly loves the water.

I have always said...

The good news is that you outlive your dog. The bad news is that you outlive your dog. They really become part of the family.

For my personal situation, as time goes by the odds of who outlives who is tipping in favor of the canines.

vic
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