- Exploring your traveling means
- Packing the vacation bags
- Leaving Bully at home
- Knowing what to do if you lose your Bulldog
You want your Bulldog with you, but you need to know the best way to travel with him. Don’t worry — I give you the overview on transporting your Bully, packing for him, and finding great destinations he’ll love accompanying you to. I also tell you what to do when you have to leave your Bully behind. And this chapter contains tips on what to do if the unthinkable happens and your Bulldog gets lost.
Investigating Your Travel Options
Traveling by car
If your car has leather seats, place an antiskid mat underneath a blanket to prevent your Bully from sliding around when you slam on the breaks or accelerate. Sudden movement and slipping can injure your Bully.
- Start slowly, and be patient.
- Open the doors on each side of the car.
- Coax your Bully in the car with food and then out the other side.
- Don’t try to restrain him or keep him in the car.
- When he’s willingly going through the car, shut the door on one side.
- Invite him in with food and then let him out again.
- If he’s happy to stay in the car for a bit — great — but don’t shut the door yet.
- Take your dog for a short drive around the block.
- Give your Bully a treat, and let him out of the car.
- Gradually increase your drive time.
- Drive your dog to a park and then go for a walk.
- Drive up to a bank drive-through window where dog biscuits are given.
Remember, you absolutely, positively can’t leave your dog in a closed car while you go sightseeing. Even with the windows down, a car in the summer can get dangerously warm for a Bulldog. If you’re planning on crating your dog, the crate will get even hotter while you’re away having fun. Parking in the shade is no guarantee of coolness either, because shade moves, and your car may soon be in the sun.
Sightseeing with your Bully
Part of the fun of a car trip can be stopping to visit roadside attractions, but sightseeing can be harder if you brought the dog along. If you take your Bully along, plan your trip to include dog-friendly sights as well.
If you absolutely can’t leave your dog at home, some theme parks and attractions have kennel facilities. You can enjoy the park, and your dog can stay safe and cool.
Using a crate
Using a harness
Airbags are as dangerous to a dog as they are to a small child. Don’t let your dog ride in the front seat, even with a harness. Securely fasten your Bully in the back seat.
Traveling in the air
All airlines are different, and the rules change frequently, so make sure that you get all the information you need well before your planned flight. Besides the limits based on temperature, some airlines have a limit as to how many dogs they accept on a particular flight. In addition, many airlines have different rules for Bulldogs than for other breeds. Make sure that you specify that your dog is a Bully.
Bulldogs can become dangerously stressed during air travel. Have your veterinarian rule out elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and small-trachea problems before you schedule a flight. Dogs with restricted airways should not fly. (For more on these issues, see Chapter Recognizing and Tackling Bulldog Health Issues.)
Riding in cargo
An overnight flight (red-eye flight) lessens the risk of overheating and may also be less chaotic.
– House your Bully in an airline-approved crate. Plastic models are better than metal because metal tends to absorb more heat; remember that heat is especially dangerous for a Bulldog.
– Tape a label on the crate that lists your destination, name, address, telephone number, and dog’s name. You may also want to include your veterinarian’s phone number. If you have a cell phone, be sure to include that number on the label.
– Place absorbent bedding in your Bully’s crate. Shredded paper under fleece is a good choice because fleece is comfortable for your Bully, and liquid that your dog expels runs through the fleece and is absorbed by the paper shreds.
– Don’t feed your dog for at least 12 hours before the flight. A little urine is easier to clean up than feces.
– To keep your Bully cool, freeze water in your dog’s water dish, and place the dish in the crate. Your dog can either lick the ice or drink the water as the ice melts. Frozen water prevents spilling and keeps your Bully cool on the flight.
– Don’t tranquilize your dog before a flight. If your dog gets hot, he may be too woozy to compensate for the heat by panting.
– Run a bungee cord over the door of the crate to keep the door from opening if the crate is dropped or bumped. Luggage shifts, and items fall over. You don’t want your Bully wandering around the cargo section of the plane while the plane is in flight.
Dropping off and picking up your passenger
Packing for Your Pooch
– Medication: If your Bulldog is on any kind of medication, take enough for the trip. If you plan to be away during the time for your Bully’s monthly heartworm medicine, don’t forget to take that medication too.
Even if your own home is flea and tick free, the place that you are going may not be. Ask your veterinarian for a preventive flea medication.
– Food and water: Think about the long the trip, and take food and water for your pal (and for yourself too, if you want).
- Make sure to pack your dog’s regular food. Don’t take the chance that your dog’s brand of kibble isn’t available everywhere. Carry enough food for the entire trip.
- Carry a food dish and a water dish. This will make Bully feel more at home.
- Bring water from home. This prevents doggy tummy upsets from unfamiliar water. If your trip is so long that carrying enough water is impractical, mix water from home with water on your travels so your dog gets used to changes gradually.
- If you’re traveling in the summer, bring a cooler with ice to help keep your Bully cool and happy. Freeze plastic jugs of water to have both ice and water as the ice melts.
– Toys: Pack your dog’s favorite toy. Travel is stressful. Making sure that your Bully has his teddy bear each night helps him adjust.
– Towels: Take extra towels. Dogs always find the patch of mud or the puddle in the parking lot. Take more towels than you think you need.
– First-aid kit: Take a small first-aid kit. Pack a few basics like disinfectant, gauze pads, and antibiotic cream. Make sure that you pack an extra blanket in the car. For information on first-aid kits, see Chapter Familiarizing Yourself with Fido First Aid.
Bulldog-Friendly Places to Stay
Finding a pet-friendly motel
Sometimes, smaller places that aren’t part of a chain allow a dog if he’s crated or has had obedience training. Find out the policies of the hotels in the area you are staying. Never be afraid to ask. What can it hurt?
Many motels and hotels charge a fee for a dog. Find out about the fees ahead of time so the extra money isn’t a shock.
Protecting your pooch in the room
If you’re leaving your dog in the room while you go sightseeing or out to eat, turn on the television or radio. The noise helps calm your dog and masks outside distractions that may make your dog bark.
Cleaning your room yourself
Try these tips to keep the peace:
– Put out the “Do not disturb” sign.
– Make your bed yourself.
– Travel with a sheet so you can cover the bedspread. Dog hair on a bedspread is hard to remove, and believe it or not, hotel bedspreads aren’t washed between guests.
– Bring your own towels. If your Bully gets dirty or muddy, use the towels you packed. Don’t use the hotel’s towels.
– Stay at a place where the room door opens to an indoor corridor instead of directly outside. If your dog gets out the door, he’s still in the building.
– Keep a piece of plastic under your dog’s food and water dishes to prevent carpet stains.
If you’re staying anywhere more than a night or two, leave a tip for housekeeping on the first day. Tipping makes the staff more receptive to working around your dog.
Camping with your Bulldog
More Great Vacation Spots for You and Bully
Don’t let your Bulldog drink salt water. Salt water causes your dog to be violently ill. Let your Bully play in the ocean, but don’t let him drink the water.
Leaving Your Bully Behind
Whether you’re boarding your dog or hiring a pet sitter, leave the number for your veterinarian, as well as a contact for long-term care should something happen to you. And tell your veterinarian about the arrangements. See whether the office will bill you if either the kennel owner or the sitter takes your dog in for treatment. Planning ensures that your dog gets the care he needs, and questions about fees and payments won’t arise.
Boarding your Bully
– Visit the kennel without your dog. Look at the fencing. The fence should be in good repair, with no holes or pieces of protruding wire. I prefer a kennel where the lower half of each pen is solid for more separation, but I wouldn’t rule out a kennel with chain link to the floor if I liked everything else about the place.
– Make sure that all the dogs have fresh water available and clean food bowls. The place should be clean. A kennel may smell a bit doggy but not like urine or feces. The pens should be picked up and the outside play area clean.
– What’s the playtime policy? Some kennels put dog-friendly dogs together for a bit of playtime. Ask what criteria staff members use to determine how the dogs get along. If you don’t want your dog to be part of a playgroup, say so.
– What kind of food do you serve? Most kennels feed quality food that agrees with most of the dogs they board. If your dog is on a special diet, or you don’t want his food changed, ask about supplying your own food. An extra charge may be assessed. Kennel owners are happy to meet the needs of their clients, but remember that you may have to pay for the duties that take more time or if you need storage space.
– Will you be able to give my Bully her medication? If your dog is on medication, let the kennel operator know. If your dog has any condition that needs watching, tell the manager. Write out any special instructions, and give the kennel staff more information rather than less.
Leave your veterinarian’s number in the case of an emergency.
– What is the kennel policy if a veterinarian is unavailable? What’s the kennel’s backup plan? When I leave a dog at a kennel, I always state that I want any problem treated aggressively. I’d rather pay for a trip to the veterinarian that was unnecessary than have something happen to my dog because I told the kennel operators to “wait and see.”
– Can I bring in bedding and toys for my dog? Most kennels let you supply these items for your dog. I suggest washable towels. Some dogs get nervous in a kennel, and they demonstrate their anxiety by chewing on their bedding. I’ve seen expensive wicker beds turned into matchsticks. Save the plush foam bed for home, and send towels to the kennel.
– What are your hours of operation? Be clear on the charges and on the hours for dropping off and picking up your Bulldog. Some kennels offer pickup and delivery service, so ask about that if you’re interested.
– Does your staff prefer one breed over another? Make sure that the staff likes Bulldogs. Some people may dislike or fear certain breeds. Make sure that the staff understands what a Bulldog needs and is willing to accommodate those needs.
– Ease your dog in by boarding her overnight or just for a weekend. A “trial run” gives your dog a chance to experience the kennel and the people who are in charge, yet she’s home again fairly soon. The younger the dog, the more easily she adapts to the kennel environment, so whether you’re planning a vacation anytime soon, think about boarding your dog. Waiting until your Bulldog is older makes the boarding experience more traumatic for her (and maybe for you too!).
– Supply a record of your dog’s vaccinations. Some kennels also require a bordatella, or “kennel cough,” injection before you can leave your dog for boarding. There are over 100 strains of kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis), but the ones most commonly seen are caused by an airborne virus that can spread rapidly in a kennel environment. Dogs with kennel cough develop a dry, rasping cough that lasts about 2 weeks. The disease isn’t life threatening in a healthy dog, but there is a risk of secondary infection, like pneumonia, which is minimized by a course of antibiotics.
Hiring a pet sitter
Choosing a pet-sitting business
Organizations, such as Pet Sitters International and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters provide reputable sitters, but you can find sitters who don’t belong to these organizations. The key is to find a reputable pet sitter. Don’t think that everything will be fine because the neighbor’s teenage daughter has volunteered to look after your dog. That method may be a cheap way out, but remember, you get what you pay for.
Calling on Bully lovers
Avoiding stranger anxiety
Knowing What to Do If You Lose Your Bulldog
Taking tags into consideration
Here are some tips for making sure the information on your tag is as useful as it can be:
– Cylinder tags hold a piece of paper with your information and are handy if you move around a lot or travel with your dog, because you can change the information to reflect your local address.
– If your dog is staying home, make another tag with a local contact — the pet sitter or a friend who can pick up your dog if he is found.
– Include your cell-phone number on your dog’s tag. Typically, with today’s technologies, cell-phone numbers rarely change because they’re used in all parts of the country. Listing a cell-phone number ensures the best possible contact number in the event that your dog becomes lost.
– Many people also put the word reward on the dog tag. The idea is that the finder may be more inclined to call the owner than to keep the dog or dump him at the pound. Be aware that just because someone calls saying he has your dog doesn’t mean that he does. Money should never change hands until the dog is returned. If you suspect fraud or that your dog is being ransomed, contact local law enforcement.
Microchipping your dog
Tattooing your Bully
Many breeders tattoo their dogs, so your Bulldog may come to you with a tattoo. Before the rise of identity theft, many people used their Social Security number as the identifying tattoo. Now the number is usually your dog’s registration number or a randomly chosen number (usually chosen by your breeder) that is stamped on all of your Bully’s information.
Keep in mind that most people don’t know to look for a tattoo as an identifier when it comes to dogs. Also, tattoos can fade and stretch as your puppy grows. Only one of my dogs came with a tattoo, and that dog’s veterinarian records reflected the number tattoo; but as she’s grown, the tattoo has stretched and faded. So this method may not be the most reliable way to identify your dog.
Looking for a lost Bulldog
Be aggressive. Do everything you can to let people know that your dog is lost and that you are the owner. Make up posters of your dog. If you have a scanner, a printer, and a computer, you can make your own posters, complete with a picture. Otherwise, have the local copy shop make the posters for you. Put posters on area bulletin boards, in veterinarians’ offices, and at local stores. The following tips suggest items to include on your “Lost” poster:
– Choose the best picture of your Bulldog for your poster. Use a sharp black-and-white image of your dog. Keep a good photo of your Bully on hand in case of an emergency. Try to get an easily identifiable picture of your dog. If you have a dark brindle Bulldog, try to take a picture of him against a light background. If your Bulldog is mostly white, find a dark background.
Keep up-to-date photos on hand.
– List your phone number and the general area where the dog was lost. For instance, in the vicinity of Green Park or between Maple and Elm Streets.
– State the dog’s sex and age. Listing the age as an approximation with a description like “puppy” or “older dog with gray muzzle” may be more helpful than stating a specific age.
– Mention that your dog may be wearing a collar. Describe the collar, including the color. The collar may have come off or been taken off, but this info is still important to include.
– List the colors of your dog. This is especially important if your photo is black and white. If your Bulldog is brindle, you may want to say “brown and black,” mention the striped pattern, or say “mostly brown” on the poster. Not everyone knows what brindle is.
– Offer a reward. But don’t specify the amount on the poster. Posters are an excellent way to get the most information out to the public. There are other ways to get the word out that your dog is missing:
– Go door to door. Ask your immediate neighbors to keep an eye out for your dog. Leave them a poster.
– Recruit children. They probably cover more territory on foot than the adults in your neighborhood do, and they may be more apt to notice a dog.
Don’t actually encourage children to try to catch your dog. Ask them to come to you and lead you to the dog, or to tell their parents and have them call you. A lost dog is frequently a frightened dog, and you don’t want him chased farther away. You also don’t want to run the risk of your dog’s biting someone out of fear.
– Call area veterinary hospitals. A chance exists that your dog was hit by a car and taken to a veterinarian. Call repeatedly.
– Check with your local animal shelter. Go in person, and look at the dogs. Don’t rely on phone calls, and don’t rely on having someone at a shelter call you.
- Leave your name and phone number, of course, but also check in person. Notes can be lost, and shelter personnel may change. Hard as it may be to believe, the person you talk to may not know what a Bulldog is. He may have seen your dog and thought that she was a mixed breed.
- Go look at the dogs claimed as strays. Go look at least every other day.
- Show the staff pictures of your dog.
- Visit distant shelters. If another shelter is 20 or 30 miles away, visit it too. Dogs, even Bulldogs, can travel amazing distances. In addition, if someone picked up your dog and dropped her off again or lost her, she can end up even farther away.
– Run an ad in the lost-and-found column of your local newspaper. Ask your area radio stations to announce your ad. Many newspapers and radio stations are happy to run these kinds of public-service announcements at no charge.
– Notify your breeder.
– Check with Bulldog rescue.
– Notify your local Bulldog or kennel club. Bulldog enthusiasts can be helpful resources, and if they see a stray Bulldog, they can contact the correct authorities to help you get your dog back. Dog people are generally eager to help other dog people.
by Susan M.Ewing