Tips For Fun, Safe Summer Travel With Your Dog


By Kaitlyn Manktelow @Kurgo, the dog travel experts

With the beautiful weather outside, it seems almost a crime for you and your favorite canine to stay inside, instead of enjoying the sunshine together. While it seems pretty easy to just pack up and hit the road with your furry friend, there are some hidden dangers to traveling with a dog that you may not be aware of. Here are some safety tips to ensure both parties have a safe and fun time!

Keep Arms & Legs & Paws Inside at All Times

We know your dog loves to stick his head out the window. While it may seem like an innocent and ‘cute’ thing to allow your pooch to do, it is actually incredibly unsafe.

As human beings, we have a windshield to protect our eyes from different traveling dangers. Hanging with their heads out the window, leaves our four-legged friend’s eyes vulnerable to being hit by foreign objects like rocks, twigs and other forms of debris. The cornea of a dog’s eye is very sensitive and hard to repair if damaged. It also exposes their lungs to breathing in toxic fumes which can cause pneumonia.

Even worse, an unrestrained dog with its head out the window can jump out of a moving car. If a car swerves or is involved with a collision, your pup can be thrown out the window. The severity of these injuries can be anywhere from road rash, to broken bones to even fatal injuries.

Everyone Two-legged and Four, Should Be Buckled Up

Most of us put on a seatbelt in the car without giving it a second thought. We make sure that all human passengers are strapped in, but what about our animal family members?

In addition to being injured in a crash, a loose pet can also be a possible hazard for human passengers in an accident. An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force on anything it hits, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 2400 pounds of force.

A loose dog can also limit a driver’s ability to steer, use the gas and brakes as well as create blind spots.

One car safety solution is to use a dog seat belt with a crash-tested dog car harness. Now your dog is safely buckled up just like you.

Click it or ticket – did you know there are laws being put into place in the United States and across the globe making it illegal to drive with a loose pet?

Bring A ‘Pet-Friendly’ Travel Kit

When humans travel, we have our go-to items like a water bottle, favorite snack or comfy sweatpants. Make your pet more comfortable on the trip by bringing them creature comforts too. Hydration is important in the summer, so be sure to throw in water for your dog and a portable dog travel bowl. Some dogs have anxiety so giving them something that smells like home such as a favorite toy or blanket can ease their fears. And of course snacks. Treats can be an easy way to coax a reluctant dog back in the car after a rest stop break.

Never, Ever Leave Your Pup Alone in the Car

A dog should never be left in an unattended car, no matter the season. However, in summer heat, it is even more important considering that on an 85 degree day, car temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees within 10 minutes even with the windows open!

For more tips, check out this Pet Travel Safety Tips Video.

About Kaitlyn Manktelow – Kaitlyn is a writer and videographer for Kurgo, a dog travel and outdoor products company. She enjoys filming, traveling, and singing way too loud with her rescue dog Samuel Jackson.

Purrr-fect Timing

On #GivingTuesday, our staff was lucky enough to have a small role in a wonderful #PayItForward gesture.  Get all the details in our slideshow below.  Like what you see?  You can make a difference by donating to Operation Fix-It!  The gift of spay/neuter services helps prevent pet homelessness, disease, neglect, abandonment, shelter overcrowding and unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.

Let us know what you think!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Kalamazoo dog fighter accepts plea deal. Again.

MI Dogfighting Rescue
A pit bull is seen chained on Kelvin Thomas’ property during a rescue conducted by Kalamazoo County Animal Services in Oshtemo Township, Mich. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society was able to offer a helping hand to Kalamazoo County Animal Services this February while they executed a search warrant at the home of Kelvin Thomas for the second time.  Now, just 9 months after Faith Temple Church of God Bishop T.D. Lockett proclaimed that he felt Thomas was being framed, Thomas, a former church Elder, has pled to felony dog fighting charges making this his 3rd conviction for dog fighting.  Thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved, Thomas has now accepted the harshest penalty to be handed down to a dog fighter in Kalamazoo County history.

For those following this case, we know the hope was that he would receive jail time, however due to the sentencing guidelines, we’re happy to say he’s getting the max penalty he can receive at this time, based on the charges he pled to.  If he fails to meet the requirements of his probation, jail/prison time is still an option.

Link to story:

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – An Oshtemo Township man charged for the third time with animal fighting is taking a plea deal.

10 dogs were taken from Kelvin Thomas’ home in February.

The United States Humane Society was even called in to help with recovery.

Despite being a habitual offender, Thomas isn’t expected to face jail time for these crimes. Instead he’ll have to complete several classes, and serve years of probation.

Thomas waived his right to a trial in court on Tuesday.

“He told the officer he owned 7 dogs, records show none were registered,” said Steve Lawrence, the Kalamazoo County Director of Animal Services. “None of them had water, several we think all were anxious to get into a warm place.”

10 young dogs were taken from Thomas’ Oshtemo Township home this Feburary.

Dogs experts say he was training them to fight.

“They were able to find that he had been advertising the dogs or the puppies which they do for fighting dogs,” Lawrence said.

36 dogs were taken from the same home back in 2012.

Thomas was ordered to two years probation at the time.

“Michigan has some of the best cruelty laws in the country; the problem is the penalty for them is not as strict as it needs to be in some cases,” Lawrence said.

Now, jail time will likely be waived, but his probation extended, thanks to stronger animal cruelty laws passed since his first charge.

Thomas will be sentenced in January.

If he violates any of his probation terms, he could also serve jail time.

He’s not allowed to own any animals during that time.


Related News:



Harding’s new rewards helps you and KHS

I’ve been a member of Harding’s eScrip program for years, and each time I shopped there I tried  to remember to hand over my key-chain to the cashier so my card could be scanned.  I was happy to know that I was just one of thousands of residents in southwest Michigan who was supporting the Kalamazoo Humane Society when I shopped!

Earlier this year, Harding’s changed over to a new Community Rewards program.  No more key-ring to hand over, lots more coupons and savings for me, and now I get email notices telling me how much I’ve personally helped raise for KHS!  Check out the email I had in my inbox this morning!

From my email this morning!

If you were a part of the old eScrip program, or if you’ve never joined before, this is a great time to get started with the new Community Rewards program!  It’s really easy to sign up and your account is active immediately.

Click the image below to get started.

Community Rewards click graphic



Big news for Operation Fix-It!

KHS Offices will be closed today (Friday, 9/30/16) from 11AM – 1PM while we get ready for some big changes and updates coming to Operation Fix-It!

Operation Fix-It has altered over 60,000 cats and dogs since it began in 2002, and that’s a big deal!  We’re working hard to combat pet overpopulation on the front lines, by preventing future litters of unplanned and unwanted kittens and puppies from flooding local shelters and rescues.

Over the years, we’ve created a streamlined system that has helped us reach that 60,000 but we know we can do even better!  That’s why, beginning Monday, October 3, 2016 Operation Fix-It will begin pre-pay registration for both cats and dogs, and we’ll also be able to offer online registration and payments.

If you need to schedule a cat or dog for surgery, you’ll need to have your surgery fee up-front to get on the schedule.  Your pre-payment will reserve your appointment day, and will hopefully reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations we receive.

A high rate of cancellations limits the number of surgeries we’re able to do, and wastes an opportunity for an animal to be altered through our program.

To make registration as easy as possible, we’re now offering online registration, which means you can register your pet and pre-pay online with a credit card, and then be contacted by our staff to get you scheduled.

To schedule online, simply go to:, then click on the the Schedule a Surgery button on our home page.

This new registration process begins on Monday, October 3rd!  For those who don’t have internet access we’ll still accept paper application and mailed in payments.  Our hope is that this will help those who would prefer to register and pre-pay at the same time via the internet.

Pets Left in Vehicles Pose Deadly Combination

Kalamazoo Humane Society Educates Owners: Extreme Heat Puts Pets at Risk

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This summer’s high temperatures have sparked an explosion of calls to local law enforcement about animals being left in cars. The Kalamazoo Humane Society warns that leaving a pet alone in a vehicle for any length of time can be deadly.

“It’s not enough to leave the car running or to crack open the windows,” said Aaron Winters, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Humane Society (KHS). “Cracking a window makes no significant difference in the internal temperature of a vehicle. Even leaving the vehicle and its air conditioning running might not be enough to keep a pet safe.”

The temperature inside a car left in the sun on a 70-degree day can reach 104 degrees in half an hour. On a 90-degree day, that temperature can reach 124 degrees that quickly.
Stephen Lawrence, Director of Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement, said KCASE is receiving up to five calls a day this summer. “As the temperatures increase, so do the number of calls we get about dogs being left in hot cars,” he said.

In many of these cases, the vehicles are either no longer there when the officers arrive or the dog is not showing signs of distress. If a dog is in distress, it is removed. According to Lawrence, so far this summer three dog owners face neglect-related charges after leaving their dogs in hot vehicles.

Even leaving a vehicle and its air conditioning running is no guarantee. In late July, 14 dogs left for two hours in a transport vehicle died after its air conditioner failed.

According to Winters, there is no magic temperature that makes it safe to leave pets in vehicles. Heat can rise to deadly temperatures inside a car even when the outside temperature is relatively cool. “The sun shining through the windows works like a greenhouse, raising the temperature substantially,” Winters said. “This can happen at any time of year.”

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety encourages citizens to dial 9-1-1 if they believe a pet in a vehicle is in distress. KPS does not condone or recommend anyone attempt to remove pets from vehicles themselves. Winters added that trying to rescue a pet from a vehicle can leave a would-be rescuer facing an aggressive animal, a runaway animal or an angry owner. “Leaving these situations to trained law enforcement is the best thing to do,” Winters said.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society has vehicle sun shades available for sale to help spread awareness for pets trapped in hot cars. These shields urge concerned citizens to call 9-1-1 if they spot a pet in distress.

Windshield Sun Shades
Windshield Sun Shades $20, available online and in our office. $10 is donated back to the Kalamazoo Humane Society!


  • Every year in the US, dogs die in cars that are running due to mechanical failures
  • A normal body temperature for a dog is 101°-102.5°; heatstroke occurs when body temps are at 108°-109° and higher.
  • A dog can experience heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes in a hot vehicle
  • All dogs are at risk for heatstroke, but certain dogs are considered to be at an even higher risk such as flat-faced dogs like bulldogs and boston terriers, very old dogs, very young dogs, dogs with existing medical conditions and dogs that are extra-active or don’t know when to  quit
  • Signs of heatstroke and respiratory distress include excessive panting and drooling, bright red tongue and/or gums or very pale gums, thick saliva, dizziness, vomiting with or without blood, diarrhea and loss of consciousness
  • Dogs are unable to sweat and release excess body heat through their paw pads and by panting
  • Owners can face charges for neglect, torture or inadequate care for dogs left to suffer in hot cars

More Info:

Kalamazoo Growlers disregard animal welfare for ticket sales


Cowboy Monkeys to Perform in Kalamazoo June 18th at the Kalamazoo Growlers game. Do you wonder as we do what this has to do with baseball? The inhumane use of monkeys to “entertain” or to boost ticket sales has no place in a family night of fun at the ball game.

North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance Executive Director Sarah Baeckler Davis says, “Monkeys used in this type of event are forced to perform on cue and engage in incredibly unnatural behaviors. Training can be quite brutal. It’s not good for the monkey and it’s not safe for the public.”

In this event, Capuchin monkeys are dressed in cowboy outfits and tethered to saddles on the backs of border collies who run at high speeds around a field herding four to five sheep. The dogs stop, start, turn, lie down, and stand up abruptly as they herd sheep, causing the monkeys to be violently jerked forwards and backwards and slide wildly from side to side.

During the “cowboy monkey” events, the monkey is not under the control of a human handler, but is at the mercy of a dog running wildly around a field. Spectators would be at risk if a monkey got loose from the dog or if a dog charged off the field.

KHS voiced its concerns and condemned this spectacle last year, only to have the Growlers management ignore the concerns of the community and continue to demonstrate a lack of regard for animals by hosting the event again this year.  The Growlers support local animal rescue groups but their concern for animals seems only to be a marketing tactic, as they can so casually disregard the safety of the animals involved in Monkey Rodeo events for some flash-in-the-pan media coverage.

Please share on your social media and make sure to respectfully contact those who are responsible for it with your concerns.  We do not condone threats or violent behavior toward those who are hosting or sponsoring the event.  You will be heard louder if you are calm, direct, and informed.

Event Host:
Brian Colopy
Kalamazoo Growlers
251 Mills St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048

Event Sponsor:
Pure Green Lawn & Tree Specialists
16350 Felton Rd | Lansing, MI 48906
(866) 557.7873
(517) 703.1111