Traveling with your dog

Who does not know the feeling, “How will we be able to go on vacation without leaving the dogs behind?” The first thing that dog owners are concerned with: Does our best friend come with us? Where do I leave him if not? Will our dog be ok if left with a stranger? What will be our safest and most affordable option? The possibilities, self-doubts, and sessions of talking to ourselves about the outcomes of the decisions we make are endless.  However, this blog was written for dog owners who cannot bear the idea of leaving their loved one behind. 

Flying with Dogs

But what if the destination can only be reached by plane? 

Even to fathom the idea of our beloved child/companion/soul mate being stowed away in the cargo portion of the plane is too frightening to even think of. And even if your dog isn’t stressed about being thrown under the plane, your stress and anxiety will ruin the assurance of your companion concerning its ability to fly safely. Some questions you may ask yourself while deciding to fly with your dog: 

Can I fly my dog?

Some breeds, for example fighting dogs,dull-nosed and short-headed animals, are not taken by certain airlines or only under certain conditions. Short-headed dogs have issues with fast breathing in stressful situations, putting them at great risk for suffocation. Some of examples of this breeds that would be endangered is: Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, 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. 

Lufthansa Airlines 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. ”

Always on the move …

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

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, Tony has traveled a lot. He has been to 11 countries and I must say he is a truly incredible perfect companion.

How did we get Tony to LA?

Last year, however, was a slightly bigger trip: Traveling from Germany to Los Angeles, California. LA seemed like the perfect spot for Tony, never too hot and it cools down in the evening, the beach and sea outside our door, and rarely any 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: Registering Tony as an Emotional Service Animal (ESA)

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 (Emotional 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 an 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.

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.

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.

Happy Ending 

Moving to California for Tony was 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. Remember, when changing climates it is important to note in cold climates not to let the dog run and play without warming up first. 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.