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Safe and secure is your responsibility

The Outdoors
Lead Summary
Scott Rall, guest columnist

If you enjoy traveling with your dogs, what issues do you need to pay special attention to?
If you have a kennel in the back of the truck or in the rear compartment of your mini-SUV, the dog can travel there without the threat of severe weather conditions about 5-6 months per year. We all hear of the stories where some idiot leaves their children in the back of a car to run on this or that errand.
I wonder, with so many impaired humans doing this to their own kids, just how many dogs actually perish in the back of a car or truck. Far too many would be my guess, and most we never hear about. It takes far less heat severity to cause problems than you might think.
There are two main factors to consider when traveling with animals. The first issue is overall safety, and the second is overheating. A dog in a plastic kennel in the back of the truck will get launched out of that vehicle if there is any kind of an accident.  The lame stretch cord holding it in place serves no real safety purpose, either.
It might keep the cage from rolling over when you turn the corner, but that is about it. That same cage (the most common ones used cost about $65) also provides almost no security if someone has a desire to steal your dog.
I have seen lots of dogs in travel kennels left in the back of trucks out in the motel parking lot overnight. Most of these enclosures have no locking mechanisms of any kind.  If I tried this even once, my dogs would be gone the next day for sure. I value my dogs so much more than to do that.
Many owners will leave the dogs in the kennels under the toppers of their truck and think they are secure.
One evening while working on my day job, someone took a tool and separated the topper door from the topper and stole about $650 worth of ice fishing equipment. A dog can be stolen in far less time than it takes to load up my stolen gear. I was gone for 30 minutes.
Dog owners really need to consider making a little bigger investment and purchase travel kennels that have more structure and a solid door-locking mechanism.  They need to be solidly attached to the truck or car so any thief has to work hard to remove it.
Unfortunately these can cost up to about $300 each. You have to ask, “What is my dog worth to me?”
Once you have a solid kennel and it is securely attached to the motor vehicle, the second equally important issue is controlling the temperature. What do you do with a dog in the back of the truck when you are on vacation and want of go fishing for six hours? Taking the dog in the boat is not always a good option. You can leave the tailgate down and park in the shade, but security can still be a concern.
If the dog is in the car/truck passenger compartment, you can lower the windows but then anyone can reach in and unlock the door and steal whatever is valuable, including the dog.
Solving this kind of situation gets a lot harder. Leaving the dog home and having it boarded might just be the best answer. I think this is what lots of dog owners usually do.
There is a common fix for both the security and overheating issue, but — you guessed it — this gets even more expensive.
Companies like Ainley Fabrication in Dubuque, Iowa, manufacture kennels made of aluminum which have cooling fans built right in.  These kennels can keep a dog secure and comfortable in what would normally be the most difficult temperatures.
So, if you really want to travel with your dogs in all kinds of weather conditions, both severe heat or cold, you will need to make a more substantial investment in order to do so safely.  On the intermediate cost solutions consider Rough Land or Gunnar Kennels. If you would consider a more thorough and permanent solution, go to
We owe it to our animals to keep them protected and safe from the elements. How you do it is up to you, but you need to take the responsibility seriously. Hot temperatures will show up, I just don’t know when.
Scott Rall, Worthington, is a habitat conservationist, avid hunting and fishing enthusiast and is president of Nobles County Pheasants Forever. He can be reached at

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