Suggested Guidelines for "Emergency/Risky" Rescue Transport

In an *ideal* world, all dogs needing transport are fully vetted,altered,quarantined and healthy before transport - but we all know this is NOT usually the case. As caring rescuers, many times we work against the clock trying to save dogs from PTS - and they often come from shelters where veterinary care is sparse at best. That doesn't mean we can't help these babies - what it DOES mean is that IF you choose to help out with this type of 'emergency' transport, you should be *extra careful* in following some simple precautions when transporting. I'm assuming there are new AND seasoned transporters who may be reading this email - some of this may sound like 'common sense' and I mean no offense to anyone - "take what you like and leave the rest". Having said that, here is a list of what works for ME if I do a 'risky' or 'emergency' transport.



WISH LIST BEFORE TRANSPORT - realizing these are not always possible in
'emergency' situations:

1. Wherever possible, animals coming from shelters should be QUARANTINED *after* being vaccinated and a week to ten days *prior to transport*, to ensure they are healthy with the highest degree of accuracy possible - and altered (or with a promise to alter upon arrival with reputable rescue).

2. Wherever possible, animals should be CRATED SEPARATELY during transport to prevent spread of any possible germs/disease. Ask that a crate be provided with the animal, and it can be shipped back cheaply via UPS or USPS - or use your own 'rescue' crates, making CERTAIN to clean them carefully with bleach/water solution (described below) between each use. If crates aren't available and you still decide to transport, use a plastic tarp to line your vehicle where the dogs will be - and rescue tie dogs' leashes to different areas of the car (headrest, door handle, etc.) to keep animals separated.

THINGS TO BRING (this stuff will all fit into a small bucket in your car - great to have at all times, so you'll always have it handy):

1. Newspapers
2. Spray bottle with 20% bleach/80% water mix tightly closed
3. Antibacterial hand wash (the kind that doesn't require water) - pump
is great and easiest!
4. Plastic bags (the kind groceries are packed in) for trash/cleanups
5. Paper towels (the thicker the better)
6. Small plastic tarp to cover seat or back of SUV is also great*
*(easy to put in/remove, folds to whatever size needed, easy to
clean with bleach/water solution, hose off and re-use)
7. Gallon jug of fresh drinking water for dogs to prevent dehydration
8. Disposable small paper bowls for water, so dogs don't share bowls
9. Bag of small dog treats
10. 1 or 2 extra leash/collar sets *just in case*


1. Make sure all dog(s) being transported have decent collar/leash - and that the collar is on tight enough during transport so the dog can't slip his/her head through it! You should be able to slide 2 fingers under the collar maximum while it's right against the dog's neck and TEST IT to make sure they can't slip through!

2. Make sure dog(s) being transported have had all necessary shots - DHLPP and Rabies (Bordetella/KC is also good, but not mandatory) - and that the paperwork comes along with them to prove it! It is ILLEGAL to cross state lines without proof of rabies shot - anyone stopped by police while transporting without proof of rabies shot(s) risk the dog(s) being
confiscated ON THE SPOT, among other things!

3. NEVER, EVER bring your own dog(s) along on a transport! Not only is it stressful for the rescued dog(s) being transported, you increase the chance for spread of any possible germs/disease between animals.

4. Minimize exposure to the inside of your vehicle by using a plastic tarp and putting crates (or uncrated dogs if necessary) on *top* of it - and removing/returning dog from/to crate without touching inside of your vehicle. Ride with windows cracked open 'slightly' for fresh air.

5. Do NOT feed dogs prior to transport, or feed them *lightly* to prevent them getting carsick/spreading germs that way. During transport, give a treat or two and some water to keep their strength up and prevent dehydration.

6. When removing dogs from soiled crates to clean during transport, secure dog well by double-tying leash/collar to the outside of car door (or open car door and slam leash closed inside, leaving room for the dog to stand, sit and turn around outside). Give dog water and a treat if you wish, they can have it while you clean up their crate. Working quickly, remove
soiled newspaper and place into plastic grocery bag, using handles to tie tightly shut after bag is full. Next, use bleach/water spray to clean inside of crate - wipe well, replace fresh newspaper, return dog to crate keeping collar on but clipping leash to outside of front crate door. If you have a litter of pups in one large crate, spray bleach water onto a paper towel & set aside. Open crate slightly and remove soiled newspaper as best you can, making sure nobody escapes - dispose trash in plastic bag. Use lightly-soaked paper towel to wipe bottom of crate as best you can then replace clean newspaper - moving puppies inside crate as necessary, then
close crate door securely. WASH YOUR HANDS with antibacterial hand wash after handling EACH YOUNG OR ADULT DOG or LITTER (sharing a crate).

Sounds like a lot, but once you get good at this it goes pretty quickly :O)

7. Music really does "soothe the savage beast" - I always play some light classical or relaxing jazz during transport. It's amazing how crying pups or anxious younger and older dogs will soon relax and even sleep with peaceful music playing softly.


1. If you used your own crates, spray them down well with bleach/water solution and leave them outside to air dry.

2. Remove plastic tarp if you used one, spray it down well with bleach/water solution, leave it outside to air dry.

3. Spritz bleach/water solution into the area of your vehicle where the dogs/crates were, and on inside/outside driver's & passenger's door handles.

4. Roll down vehicle windows just a crack for circulation.

5. Toss bagged trash into covered trash receptacle - spritz bleach/water inside just to be sure.

6. Wash hands with antibacterial stuff before changing your clothes.

When doing this type of transport, I leave the following things in my garage, ready and waiting for me, and I change in the GARAGE after cleaning up my car:

1. a clean t-shirt or sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, something clean to wear on my feet
2. garbage bag to put dirty clothes in so I can carry them into the laundry room
3. cardboard box to put dirty shoes in so I can spritz them with bleach/water (top and soles)
4. another bottle of antibacterial hand washing stuff so I can wash my hands again before going inside the house

The rest of the stuff comes from Sharon's email, and she said it beautifully:

"It's advisable to change your clothes before coming in contact with your own dogs, leaving your shoes outside until you can bleach down the soles. Then use a bleach solution of 20% bleach to 80% water and mist down your vehicle where the dogs were."

"This should be done every time you transport regardless on whether the dog has an illness or not. The reason is because dogs can harbor things that don't show up for 10 days or more after getting to their destination. The stress of transport will help to bring things out. All of the dogs that came to me from this transport were already vaccinated. And still we had a problem."

"Taking the above mentioned precautions will ensure safety at home. You should also call your own vet. They can give you probably more information than I can."

"Also, if your dogs are fully vaccinated that will certainly help. My vet told me that dogs come in contact with parvo all the time. A healthy dog with a good immune system and up to date normally fights it off and we never even know about it. It's the very young and very old dogs with weaker immune systems that are the most risk. Call your vet and ask questions."

Many transport groups do not condone transporting animals who may be 'risky', and many transporters are not comfortable doing transports such as these - it is up to the individual. However, if you choose to help out in these situations, the suggestions above should help to keep you, your own animals, and other rescued animals being transported safe. I realize this was long, and I appreciate everyone reading it. Please contact me PRIVATELY at if anyone has questions.