On the Go: Taking, Leaving, or Looking for Bully

Love Dog
In This Chapter
  • 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

Many methods of transportation exist to move us from point A to point B. How you decide to reach your vacation destination is up to you. The most popular methods of travel are probably by car or plane. But whatever you decide, consider your Bulldog’s comfort when making plans.

Traveling by car

If your Bulldog isn’t used to riding in a car, now’s the time to accustom him to it. Some dogs equate riding in a car with going to the veterinarian’s office. They resist getting into the car, and they’re not happy after they get in. They may whine, bark, or even throw up. It’s hard to blame them. I wouldn’t be happy about a car ride, either, if the trip always ended at the doctor’s office.

Tip

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.

When your Bully’s in the car, either put him in the crate or attach the harness. Whatever means of restraint you use, offering more treats aids in the process. To get your Bulldog used to riding in the car, try these steps:
  1. Start slowly, and be patient.
  2. Open the doors on each side of the car.
  3. Coax your Bully in the car with food and then out the other side.
  4. Don’t try to restrain him or keep him in the car.
  5. When he’s willingly going through the car, shut the door on one side.
  6. Invite him in with food and then let him out again.
  7. If he’s happy to stay in the car for a bit — great — but don’t shut the door yet.
After your Bulldog is happy hanging out in the car for a while, take a car ride or two, but make the trips short. Follow these easy steps to ease your Bully into taking those car trips:
  1. Take your dog for a short drive around the block.
  2. Give your Bully a treat, and let him out of the car.
  3. Gradually increase your drive time.
  4. Drive your dog to a park and then go for a walk.
  5. Drive up to a bank drive-through window where dog biscuits are given.
If you take your Bully places that are fun and where your pup gets treats, eventually, your Bulldog will understand that not all trips lead to the veterinarian’s office.

Warning!

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

If your dog is crate trained, have him ride in a crate in the car (if you have a big-enough car). Your Bully is safer and more comfortable in his crate. Many times, crates have water or food dishes attached, so your Bully can have a refreshing snack on your trip. Also, your dog’s crate likely has his scent on it; this scent can lessen the frightening factor of the car and make your dog more willing to take a trip. Depending on the type of interior you have in your vehicle, your Bully’s mess may be easier to clean if he’s confined to a crate. If he gets sick, urinates, or defecates, these messes will be limited to a small crate instead of in your back seat.

Using a harness

If you haven’t crate trained your Bully, or if you drive a compact car, consider investing in a seat harness — you don’t want your Bully flying through the air or escaping from the car into traffic if you have a car accident.

Warning!

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

If you’re flying to your vacation destination and still want your Bully to go with you, plan ahead. Think about where you’re going and what the weather is like. Most airlines fly dogs only if the destination’s temperature is under 85 or over 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

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.

Warning!

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

People with smaller pets have the option of taking the dog in the cabin with them, but unless you’re traveling with a Bulldog puppy, your Bully’s crate isn’t going to fit under the seat, and he won’t be allowed to fly in the cabin. Plan your route carefully. Plane transfers are harder on your dog, and a chance exists that she can get lost en route.

Tip

An overnight flight (red-eye flight) lessens the risk of overheating and may also be less chaotic.

If you decide to fly with your dog, you need to abide by a few rules to ensure your Bully’s safety:

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.

Tip

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.

Warning!

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

Make sure that you understand exactly how and when your dog is loaded on the plane, and where and when you can pick her up when the flight lands. Be polite, but be persistent. If you don’t actually see your dog board the plane, ask the gate counter agent to call the ramp to make sure that your dog is on board.
Pick up your Bulldog promptly at your destination. If you don’t get your dog in a reasonable amount of time, ask about the delay. Ask again. Ask before your plane has taken off. Having your dog with you is the point of the trip, not having him fly to another city without you.

Packing for Your Pooch

Packing your Bully’s bag for your vacation is just as important as packing your own bags. The first item in your dog’s travel bag should be his shot record. If you’re crossing state lines, leaving the country, or staying in a state or federal park, you may be required to show proof of your dog’s vaccinations, particularly the date of his most recent rabies shot. Here is a list of items you should have with you when traveling with your Bulldog:

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.

Remember

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

If you already have a destination in mind, you still need to know how to find a good place to stay. Whether you’re looking to camp or stay in a hotel, the following sections give you some good tips for making the experience a good one for all involved.

Finding a pet-friendly motel

If you’re going to take your dog with you on vacation, you have to plan ahead. Although many motels happily welcome dogs, many more don’t. Make your reservations well in advance, and make sure that your dog will be an accepted guest at the hotel where you want to stay. After a long day of driving, you don’t want to be turned away from your motel.
The AAA publishes a guide called Traveling with your Pet, which lists thousands of pet-friendly places to stay. But if your favorite resting place isn’t in the book, give it a call and find out what the policy is regarding pets. If you’re camping, check with campgrounds about their policies too.

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?

Warning!

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

Crating your dog while he’s in a motel room alone is a good idea. Even the best-trained dog may be anxious in a strange place, and sometimes anxiety can mean a chewed chair leg or a puddle on the carpet. Also, when your dog is safe in his crate, he can’t accidentally escape if the room door is opened. A crated dog means that housekeeping can enter safely, too. Your dog may be the biggest lover in the world, but a stranger doesn’t know that.

Tip

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

When you stay at a hotel, you may expect your room to be clean and tidy when you return from a day of fun in the sun. To make your stay happy for everyone involved — you, your dog, housekeeping, and the management — you may want to consider cleaning your room yourself.

Tip

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.

If you don’t want to carry a sheet, ask housekeeping for one. They’d rather launder an extra sheet than have to clean the bedspread. The sheet also keeps the spread clean if your Bully’s paws are a bit dirty.

– Bring your own towels. If your Bully gets dirty or muddy, use the towels you packed. Don’t use the hotel’s towels.

If you’re staying more than a night or two and need clean towels for yourself, talk to the front-desk staff. You can probably arrange to leave the hotel’s dirty towels in the corridor and have clean ones dropped off.

– 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.

Remember

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

A wonderful way to combine a vacation and your love of dogs is to go to a dog camp with your Bully. The number of dog camps is growing, so a camp may be within driving range of where you live. Dog camps generally offer dorm-style accommodations, and activities are doggy-based. Camps differ but may offer classes on obedience, agility, herding, animal massage, first aid, and nature walks. Some may have a pond or lake for swimming. You can participate in events like a costume parade or bobbing for hot dogs. Craft classes may give you a chance to make a dog collar or lead for your Bully.
Whatever is offered, the atmosphere at camp is dog friendly and leisurely, and human food is generally excellent and one of the attractions — no charred hot dogs around the campfire (although a campfire may happen one night). The dog camp I attended had hearty breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs, and lunches and dinners were superb. Dogs, much to their regret, keep to their regular kibble.

More Great Vacation Spots for You and Bully

Besides dog-friendly camps and hotels (see the previous section), a fun getaway for Bulldogs is anyplace with water. Bulldogs love water, but unfortunately, most of the breed swim like a rock. In addition, Bulldogs’ upturned noses make drowning a real danger. With those warnings out of the way, a vacation on the shores of a small lake or near the ocean may be just the getaway you’re looking for. Your Bully loves walks along the shore, cooling his tootsies in the waves or wading a bit. Keep your dog on a lead so you can keep him out of deep water.

Warning!

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.

Dog-friendly bed-and-breakfasts make a relaxing getaway and generally offer more freedom for your dog, as well as more lawn area.
If you travel a lot or want to go only where your dog is welcome, check out Doggone — “The newsletter about fun places to go and cool things to do with your dog.” This publication prints six times a year and lists a variety of places you can visit with your Bully. Subscribe to Doggone by visiting the Web site at www.doggonefun.com, or call 888-DOGTRAVEL.

Leaving Your Bully Behind

Sometimes, taking your Bulldog on your vacation just isn’t practical. A trip through the Southwest in July is definitely not Bulldog friendly. A trip to Europe is probably better without the added worry of your dog. And sometimes, even on a short trip, you want to stay out late, sleep in, and spend hours touring the area without thinking about feeding or walking your dog or worrying about his comfort.

Tip

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

A boarding kennel can make your vacation not only dog free but also worry free. Just like your dog’s crate isn’t a jail cell, a boarding kennel isn’t a jail. Think of a kennel as summer camp. Sure, you may see wires and locked doors, but those cages mean that your dog isn’t wandering loose and getting into trouble.
You need to check out kennels to make sure they’re up to your standards and will take great care of your beloved Bully. Here are some tips:

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.

After you have toured the facilities, ask some questions about what you saw and what you expect from the kennel:

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.

Remember

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.

To make the boarding-kennel stay a bit easier on everyone, try out these simple tips:

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

An alternative to a boarding kennel is a pet sitter. With a pet sitter, your dog stays in her own home, and the sitter comes at specified times to feed, walk, and play with your Bully. Some sitters even spend the night at your home. The sitter’s presence in and out makes your home look lived in, and many times a pet sitter also brings in the mail and waters your plants.

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.

If you choose a pet-sitting business, the business should be bonded and carry insurance. Levels of service are based on how many times you need a sitter to visit your home and the needs of the dog/owner. A diabetic dog who needs insulin shots and six walks a day costs more to pet-sit than a young, healthy dog who goes out only three times a day.

Calling on Bully lovers

If you don’t trust the neighborhood teenager, and the professional pet sitter is too expensive, an in-between pet sitter may be right up your alley (and budget).This sitter is usually a pet lover who has found sitting an enjoyable way to make some extra money.

Avoiding stranger anxiety

No matter who you select for pet sitting, the person should visit your home once or twice before you leave for vacation. Ideally, the sitter should also visit when you’re still in town but not at home. Dogs react differently when you let someone into the house versus when someone comes in and you’re not home. Make sure that your Bully recognizes the sitter as a friend.

Alleviating misunderstandings

The pet sitter should also know what the rules are. Put instructions in writing to prevent misunderstandings. If your dog is allowed on the couch, fine. If not, let the sitter know. If you limit treats for your Bully, tell the sitter. Give the sitter whatever information helps her give your dog the best care. If you never walk on a certain street because of a loose dog, let her know.

Knowing What to Do If You Lose Your Bulldog

Whether you’re on a trip or at home, be prepared for the worst and have an action plan in case your Bulldog goes missing. In the event that your dog gets lost, he should always have proper identification. But no matter what methods you use for identification, if your dog should become lost, don’t rely on tags, tattoos, or microchips alone to get your dog back. You need to make an effort to track him down.

Identifying Bully

If your Bully gets lost, his identification is all he has to link him back to you. I recommend that everyone have her pet both tagged and microchipped. Why two methods of ID? Well, if your Bully ends up a mile from your home, your neighbor can bring him right home or give you a call. On the other hand, tags can come off collars, and collars themselves may come off your dog. If your dog ends up in a shelter, and he’s microchipped, he can be scanned and returned to you.

Taking tags into consideration

Tags are an easily visible means of identification. You have your Bully’s rabies and license tags, so why not add one with your name and contact information?
Tags come in many different styles, even ones that glow in the dark. Most pet stores can order tags for you, and some even carry vending machines that allow you to custom-make dog tags on the spot. Most identification tags minimally list your phone number and may also include your address and/or your name. Many pet owners also put their dog’s name on the tag.
Some people discourage identifying your pet by name; stealing your dog becomes easier because thieves can call your dog by name. You make the judgment call. If a thief is close enough to your dog to read her tag, he is also close enough to snap on a lead or pick up your dog, and he doesn’t need to call her.
If you’re traveling with your dog a long way from home for your vacation, make up an additional ID tag for your dog to wear, with your vacation address and phone number.

Tip

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

One of the most effective ways to identify your dog is with a microchip, which costs about $45. Microchips never fade or stretch, like tattoos, and can’t fall off, like a tag.
The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice; the vet inserts the device just under the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. Special scanners can read the chip’s information, which includes the registered agency and your dog’s individual number. A veterinarian or shelter worker calls the agency for your contact information. Although different companies supply microchips, most veterinarians and animal shelters have scanners that can read the information on all chips. Ask your veterinarian about the microchip on your first visit. Tips on locating a good veterinarian are in Chapter Knowing Your Veterinarian, Vaccinations, and Common Treatments.
Microchips have the advantage of being permanent. They can’t get lost or become unreadable. The disadvantage is that a scanner is needed to detect and read the chip, and many people don’t know about microchips. Although most veterinarians’ offices and animal hospitals and shelters have scanners that can read the chips from the three major chip systems, the scanners are no use unless your lost dog is brought to one of these places to be scanned.
The paperwork that comes with a microchip includes contact sources in the case that your information changes. A fax number, e-mail address, and regular mailing address are included. If your contact information changes, use one of those methods to keep your info up to date. If your Bully is lost, you want your current location on file with the registering agency.

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.

A tattoo can prevent dog thieves from selling your dog to a research laboratory but may not help if your dog is lost in the neighborhood. The idea behind tattooing is that someone picks up your dog; recognizes the tattoo; and takes your puppy to a shelter, vet, or breeder who can research the number and return your dog to you.

Remember

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

Tip

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.

Remember

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.

Warning!

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

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