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Travelling with a dog can be one of the best bonding experiences, and if you have a brachycephalic dog breed this is no exception. When travelling with a brachy breed, however, there are some extra considerations to think about to ensure your trip goes smoothly. Brachy breeds require extra care and attention in comparison to other dog breeds largely due to their health requirements.
The name “brachycephalic” actually means short-skull and relates to the appearance of our adorable flat faced friends.
Their short nose means that brachycephalic dog breeds have less surface area for air to travel over as it flows through their mouth. As air travels over your dog’s tongue it cools them down.
This shorter surface area found in brachy breed mouths means there is less opportunity to cool the dog down. As a result, brachycephalic dog breeds can overheat much quicker than other breeds.
In addition, brachy breeds are also prone to joint issues such as hip dysplasia, luxating patellas and degenerative diseases. These conditions mean that brachy breed’s are often unable to walk as far as some other dog breeds.
But never fear brachy breed loving friends as these health concerns do not mean that your brachy baby cannot travel with you on your adventures! In fact quite the opposite, Brachy breeds love an exciting escapade!
There are just some extra considerations to take into account before your travel with your brachy pal. So without further ado here are some necessities to remember when travelling with your brachy dog breed!
When travelling with a brachy breed hydration should be one of your top priorities.
To ensure your trip goes smoothly its worthwhile investing in a couple of different types of bowls so that your dog can have a drink at all times. Firstly a non-spill travel bowl is a useful accessory.
These are very easy to pick up and come in a range of sizes and colour’s to suit your taste.
Secondly, a foldable travel water bowl. These are bowls that are usually made out of flexible material and fold up so that you can tuck them neatly in a bag. When your dog needs a drink when you are out and about simply unfold it and pour some water in!
Brachy dogs are renowned for being clever breeds. Don’t let their often “vacant” look deceive you, you can rest assured they are planning their next dastardly plan to get that last morsel of food out of your hand! With this intelligence comes the need for mental stimulation when travelling.
This is where boredom busters come in. A good choice is a tough chew as even smaller brachy breeds have rather strong jaws! Brands such as Nylabone and Benebone make brilliant tough chews that will last years. If you are not a fan of plastic chews natural chews, such as antlers, these bones will definitely do the trick.
A selection of cooling accessories are a must for travelling somewhere hot with your brachy breed.
Cooling accessories come in all kinds of shapes and sizes including clothing such as vests, bandanas and coats, to toys and sleeping mats. A brilliant brand for these accessories is Easidri, who make cooling accessories that are very effective and are reusable for years.
It is not advisable to use a collar for a brachy breed. Due to their anatomy it is not advisable to put any pressure on their throat. As their larynx is often already under pressure from their more labored breathing, any more pressure on this areas can cause irreversible damage.
So a nice little harness it the best way to go! The good news is that the doggy shopping market is inundated with every harness design under the sun at the moment with new harness brands popping up daily.
The best brands for brachy breeds include Puppia who make a very good adjustable harness and Freshpawz. Both of these brands allow you to adjust both the neck area and the waist area of the harness making for a perfect fit!
When travelling with your dog in the car another consideration is a doggy seatbelt for this harness. Thankfully you can purchase these accessories rather easily. Look for a simple doggy seatbelt that clips onto their harness and then neatly into the car seatbelt hole and you are good to go!
Vaccine Recording Book
When travelling with your dog vaccination scheduling is vitally important. With brachy breeds, in particular, this becomes more complicated. Some brachy breeds such as English Bulldogs are particularly sensitive to vaccinations.
Overdosing of vaccinations can lead to death and so it is so important to take great care when planning your schedule.
It is so important to track when your dog has had its vaccinations and MOST importantly do they actually NEED any more for your next trip?
To check if your dog actually needs more vaccinations you can have them “titer tested”. Titer testing checks to see if your dog already has enough protection left from the previous vaccinations to keep them protected. If they do they do NOT need another round of vaccinations and your vet will sign them off.
With a brachy breed it is important to have a vaccination record notebook to keep track of things like this for yourself. This is different to your doggy passport which of course also has your dog’s vaccination record in it as well.
Your doggy vaccination notebook is for every single detail about your dog’s vaccination in an easy to read format for you as the owner.
This is so that you can track where you had the vaccination, when, what your dog was like afterwards (make a note of their behavior, health etc), what the vaccination brand was and any other notes about vaccinations you need to remember. For example, make a note of not to give your dog the Nobivac L4 Leptospirosis vaccination (it is a very dangerous vaccination).
Doggy First Aid Kit
A travel essential for all dog breeds, but especially for brachy breeds is a doggy first aid kit! Along with basics such as bandages, dressings, cotton wool and sticky tape in your first aid box it is important to have some extras for a brachy breed.
Firstly, anti-histamines – these are important for brachy’s in case they have an allergic reaction to something that specifically affected their throat area.
If that area is blocked in any way of air then it is more serious in these breeds as their airways are already restricted. Whilst some human brand anti-histamines are fine to use with your dog, it is vitally important that you discuss the use of anti-histamines with your vet before usage. They will tell you which brand to use and how much for your dog’s weight.
The next is hydrogen peroxide – again this product MUST only be used when instructed by a veterinarian but it is a very useful product to have in your doggy first aid kit.
Hydrogen peroxide induces vomiting. As any brachy breed owner knows these breeds will eat ANYTHING they can get their paws on, so having something that can make them vomit is important in case they eat something dangerous that needs to be removed quickly!
The final essential for a brachy breed is a foil blanket. Due to their anatomy brachy breeds are unable to regulate their body temperatures as well as other dog breeds. So having a foil blanket is an essential tool in case your brachy breed is unable to increase their body temperature fast enough.
So there we have it! Our tips for the essentials to bring with you when travelling with your brachy dog breed. We hope you enjoyed and that you have a lovely trip with your brachy breed.
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I am currently a freelance writer and the owner and founder of brachyblog.org where I write about brachycephalic dog breeds. Prior to that I worked in animal conservation research at Imperial College, London. After gaining my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in animal science I wanted to try and make a difference to lives of animals. I have always been passionate about animal conservation and welfare and as a writer I love being able to communicate important and interesting topics that provide value to a wide audience.
I currently have my own 7 year old French Bulldog called Bart and we love travelling all over the UK together! As the owner of a brachycephalic dog breed with expertise in animal health, behaviour and welfare I wanted to share anything I could do help other dog breed owners!