Travelling with dogs

Travelling with your dog

Who does not know the feeling,when the question “where are we going on vacation?” appears? The first thing that the dog owners are concerned with: Does our best friend come with us? Where do I leave him if not?

There are a lot of possibilities, but for the most of us, it is only perfect, when our four-legged friend is with us.

Flying with dogs

But what if the destination can only be reached by plane? The idea of knowing our darling somewhere down in the cargo section is frightening and stops most people from taking the dog on an air journey.

But not only the fear and uncertainty of the owner frightens it, some breeds are simply not able to handle such stress situations alone.

Can I fly my dog?

Some breeds, for example fighting dogs and dull-nosed or short-headed animals, are not taken by certain airlines or only under certain conditions. Short-headed dogs get fast breathing in stressful situations.

To this end, Lufthansa writes in its animal transport regulations: “Dogs belonging to the dull-nosed races are particularly temperature-stress-sensitive. For this reason, we advise you to refrain from taking your dog if the temperature at the departure, transfer or destination airport exceeds 27 ° C. Failure to do so could result in serious damage to your dog or even death during the journey. ”

Among the endangered races are among others Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldogge, Pug,
Pekinese and Shi Tzu. However, some dogs are also less suitable for flying because of their character or lack of education. It is best to discuss with a veterinarian beforehand whether your dog is suitable for flying and what you may need to consider.

Tony is one of those very sensitive breeds, the English bulldogs are known to have trouble with the respiratory system and their difficulty to compensate for temperature fluctuations does not make it any better.

Our veterinarian has advised us from the outset to not let Tony fly in cargo. Also the possibility of “giving the dog some tablets” is very dangerous. Each dog reacts completely different to sedatives and it can even turn into the opposite or lead to a circulatory collapse.

Bulldogs are extremely sensitive to any kind of sedatives, you usually only need a fraction of what is recommended by their weight.

Always on the move …

It was always a challenge for us to travel in the last 11 years. Fortunately, Tony loves driving and can easily sleep 8 hours ….

As we have always been on the road for work and on top a part of our family lives in Sweden, Tony has traveled a lot, he has been to 11 countries and I must say he is a truly incredible perfect companion.

In my daily life I sometimes despair of his stubbornness and his very marked lack of walks with no particular background (the daily business and movement do not count for Tony!), But when we travel, he switches to autopilot and follows.

The way out: ESA

Last year, however, was a slightly bigger trip, to the USA, Los Angeles. Looking at the climate, the perfect spot for Tony, never too hot and it cools down in the evening, beach and sea outside the door and never wet cold weather. So it’s a dog paradise. No wonder that everyone there has a dog and brings them along everywhere.

But the biggest question, how does Tony get there?

We had already thought of many scenarios, from cargo with horses to cruise ship  to New York … In the end, we found the link to Service Animals in the USA and were fascinated by this rule.

A service animal may fly in the cabin in the US to assist its owner mentally during the flight.

Mental support

We started the procedure to register Tony as an Emotional Service Animal.

Attention: This assumes that the owner of the dog has extreme fear of flying and is without his dog mentally not stable enough to fly!

We worked here with one of the American organizations and received Tony’s ID and a vest after a lot of paper work.

He is officially since 2015 my ESA (Emotianal support Animal).

Now I still could not believe that he could just sit beside me in the plane, but after long research we booked a flight to Los Angeles with intermediate stop in New York. Air Berlin is really recommended as an airline for flying your dog. Tony even got his own seat, so he had enough room during the flight.

Health certificate from the vet

Even the routine attendance at the veterinarian for the health care, paying particular attention to the vaccination against rabies, confirmed to me, that it does not mean stress for Tony. The veterinarian reported, that studies show dogs fly much more stress-free than driving. This might be, because they can see the ground when driving, and this can even trigger panic attacks for some dogs or a kind of travel sickness. Provided they are not separated from their owner! ! When flying, dogs can not interpret where we are and the pressure balancing happens automatically as with children and can be supported by the provision of treats.

The flight

Tony climbed into the plane as if he had never done anything else and slept in blankets until shortly before the landing. No stress to recognize. In the end, he was the super pet for the small children on board and really made it easy for us to enjoy the flight.

Animal Relief Area

Arriving in New York we were immediately helped through the passport control and got directed to the Animal Relief Area … a small fenced green right in front of the terminal, where dogs can “stretch” their legs and do their business.

Tony happy and made himself comfortable in the lounge to rest for the connect flight;).

In America, it is perfectly normal to take a dog on board and we did not get an extra place for him. But the flight attendants also found it by no means disruptive if he slept partly in the middle of the corridor.

To make it short, this flight ran smoothly and Tony rolled very satisfied in the sand of Venice Beach the next day.

Jet lag for dogs

The time change caused a few sleep interruptions, as Tony wanted to go for a walk at 4 o’clock in the morning, but that also passed.

Meanwhile, Tony has already flown several times the route Germany- Los Angeles and is probably the most relaxed in the family.

Winter in warm climate

It is a really good feeling for us and for our Tony a blessing, since it is just so much better for the joints to spend the winter in the Californian climate. He is just so happy and plays around like a young dog again.

Also this blog is to show you dog owners, that we can influence many senior “Zipperlein” as well. Of course, not everyone can or wants to spend the Winter in warmer climate, but you should simply remember not to let the dog run and play without warming up. For older dogs, a jacket is often recommended, because they simply freeze much faster and then need longer to warm up the muscles and joints.

And of course, in the wet-cold season you should pay special attention to support the joints.

We wish you a hopefully not too uncomfortable weekend.

In our next blog we introduce Chianti and her breed: Golden Retriever.

Pawsome Wishes  Anja & Tony