Our dogs generally travel well. We take them everywhere in our car when we are away overnight and they are used to traveling long distances to shows. For day trips, you can leave your dog in a safe place within your house without any problems once it's properly trained.
Some people don't like traveling with pets and prefer to leave them in a boarding kennel. There is nothing bad about this and your dog won't hate you for leaving him for a short period. As long as you have checked the kennel out in advance and know they can take care of your dog properly, the decision to kennel versus travel with your dog is personal, based on your life-style and needs.
Cars They mostly lie on the car seats, sleep in their crates or watch out the windows. However, some dogs experience car sickness and even the hardiest traveler can have an occasional bad day. If you're traveling on vacation or going to a novel, and possibly exciting, situation be prepared: carry water, ice and lemon juice with you. Paper towels, in case of a need for a clean-up, are good to have along. The small Igloo ice chests work well along with a Thermos bottle. Just be sure to supervise the dog well.
Some short rides can accustom the dog to the car. They will enjoy going on errands with and will see going out to the car as a fun experience. Our dogs even take us to the car when we go for walks - just to let us know they are willing to go for a ride if we want to take them.
Decide where the dog will ride from the beginning. They should not be allowed to climb all over the car. This is dangerous for everyone - it's hard to stop the car when your dogs head is under the break peddle and it's distracting to have your face washed in heavy traffic. Never allow your dog to ride with his head out the window. This can cause eye injuries, many of which are serious, or head injuries, which can be fatal.
One other car precaution - NEVER leave your dog in the car with the windows closed when it's warm out. The interior of a car can heat very quickly, even when the outside temperature is in the seventies. Excessive temperatures can lead to heat stroke and death.
Planes Bulldogs, except puppies, are too large to travel in the passenger section of airplanes, where all pets must fit into under-the-seat carriers. The only way to transport your dog aboard a plane is in the baggage section. If you can avoid plane travel for your dog, we would recommend it. The stress of plane travel, the chance of dehydration, and the possibility of hyperventilation make plane travel potentially dangerous for Bulldogs. Dogs have died from complications in plane travel.
If you decide to take your dog on a plane, there are several precautions you should take. Book a non-stop, direct flight, if possible. The airline will require a sturdy flight carrier designed to their specifications. You should be sure that your dog has water, in a non-spill container and a toy. It is helpful if your vet prescribes a mild tranquilizer for the flight.
You should arrive early enough before the flight that you can check your dog in without having to rush, but not too early. The airline will let you know how much time you will need. Most airlines have air-conditioned areas where animals wait before loading. You should see where animals are kept before you choose your airline. Animals are usually loaded last and taken off first to lessen the danger to them. You should pick your dog as quickly as possible when the flight ends.
A problem can occur when your dog sits in the hot sun waiting to be loaded or when there is a delay in take-off after loading has been finished. Unfortunately, there is some carelessness and, at times, some unavoidable delay. Although the compartment in which your dog will ride is pressurized on the longer, high altitude flights, the air circulation system is the same as the plane's. It can sometimes get warm and stuffy when the planes back up before take-off. A problem can also arise when the airplane is delayed in landing or diverted to a new airport, resulting in delayed feeding and water replacement.
Despite the potential problems, many people don't want to leave their dogs in a kennel and do successfully take them on plane trips with them. Just approach the trip with adequate planning to be sure it's a safe, comfortable ride for your dog.
Finding a Place to Stay You can take your dog along on vacation. Many hotels and motels accept guests with pets. All states now permit pets in hotel rooms. Chains publish directories which contain this and other information about their hotels. However, you should check in advance with the specific hotel, since directory information is not perfect. Most hotels which permit pets want them kept in a crate when you're not in the room. This is a good idea for their safety and the safety of the room. You don't want to pay for chewed furniture and you don't want to search for your dog because the maid runs away leaving the door open because he playfully comes bounding over as she enters the room. (I won't even think about your dog getting territorial in the hotel room.)
Many campgrounds permit pets and there are directories published for these which are available in most bookstores. As with hotels, check with the campground to see if the policy is still in effect. Traveling by camper with your pet can be enjoyable, just as long as you use common sense. Remember, almost all campgrounds require pets to be on leashes and leash laws vary from state to state. Your pet can generally stay outside your camper in an x-pen, which permits some degree of freedom while containing him.
Dangerous Dog Laws Several states and localities are enacting dangerous or vicious dog laws. Some are generic laws which punish bad conduct by the dog. Others are breed-specific legislation which prohibit the ownership of certain breeds or types. The generic laws should pose no problem for the well-behaved traveling dog. Breed-specific laws can be a problem. Breed specific laws do not distinguish between a well behaved dog under it's owners control and an aggressive, uncontrolled dog. If it is the wrong breed, or if the enforcement agent thinks it is the wrong breed, you could have a problem. Many of these laws needlessly target dogs in the bull breeds: e.g., American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Some people have had their well behaving pets seized by overzealous officers. You should check in advance to determine where there are breed-specific laws in the places you will be visiting and should carry copies of the AKC registration listing the dog's breed.
You should be aware of the possibility of breed-specific laws being enacted where you live. The AKC and local clubs oppose breed specific laws and are working to eliminate them. You can contact the AKC for more information on this issue.
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