The Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) compiled the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters to provide research-based guidelines that will help any sheltering operation meet the physical, medical, and behavioral needs of the animals in their care. The ASPCA and ASV presented a series of 1-hour webinars through early 2012, each spotlighting a section of the ASV guidelines.
This webinar covers:
Choosing transport partners and maintaining good relationships
Care and safety guidelines for transport
Reducing the spread of infectious disease
Top Tips from This Webinar
Know the Rules
Organizations involved in transporting animals need to educate themselves on the import requirements for their destinations, which usually are written by state departments of agriculture and/or health and can vary according to an animal's species or age. All states require rabies vaccinations for dogs before interstate travel, and most require the same for cats. Most states also require a health certificate for each animal; these are generally valid for 10 days.
Home Sweet Vehicle
Transport is stressful for animals, but enclosures that meet these requirements can help make them more comfortable on the road:
Good ventilation and air quality; no exhaust fumes
Flooring that prevents injury, discomfort, and leakage of fluids into other enclosures
Heating and cooling, with an ambient temperature above 60° F and below 80° F
During the Trip
Water should be available at all times, or at least provided every four hours. Those water stops will also give you a chance to observe the animals and allow them to rest, which should take place every four to six hours. Clean enclosures as often as necessary to prevent animals from getting dirty, and plan ahead to ensure safety and prevent escapes in case you need to remove them to do so. Don't fast animals (especially young ones) in an attempt to limit elimination or vomiting during travel; their nutritional needs may even be increased.
For the Little Ones
Puppies and kittens need special care during transport:
Avoid exposing them to temperature extremes; they can't regulate their body temperature as easily as older animals.
Ensure adequate hydration and nutrition, as young animals have less ability to store glycogen and need to eat more frequently.
Take precautions to avoid infectious disease exposure for these especially susceptible animals.
Except for orphans, puppies and kittens younger than eight weeks should travel with their mothers.
At Journey's End
Before you even start the trip, make sure that the receiving organization is prepared. There need to be enough trained staff to receive and evaluate the animals, and each pet will need a documented physical exam. Veterinary care should be available if needed, and adequate housing should be ready.
We've packaged the guidelines into a free resource, Shelter Care Checklists: Putting ASV Guidelines Into Action, and we invite you to use this set of easily understandable and actionable checklists in your shelter.