Bulldog Travel Tips: 6 Tips for Road Trips

Your ready for a trip with your bulldog! But taking a bulldog on the road with you can be take some work. Looking for some Bulldog travel tips? Look no further. Because of their couch potato life style, they may be easier to travel with than other breeds. With a little preparation, you should have smooth travels.

How to travel by car with a bulldog? 
  • Prepare your bulldog for a long car ride
  • Crate train or use a seat belt
  • Bring water and snacks
  • Map out bathroom breaks for your bulldog

Bulldog Travel Tips – Car

If traveling by air with your bulldog makes you nervous, you are not alone! It would make me nervous too. But car travel can be stressful as well. Follow these tips for travelling with a bulldog to make your travel day as smooth as possible. Thankfully bulldogs are huge couch potatoes, and like to lie around, but they might not appreciate being cooped up in a car for too long.
My very first of the travel tips for bulldogs is to go on a nice, relaxing, long walk before the trip. Of course, never pushing the bulldog too hard. Once they burn some energy off they will be ready to settle down in the car and hopefully take a nap.

Start with Long Rides to get Them Used to the Car

The second of my tips for travelling with bulldogs begins long before your trip. Go on long car rides with your bulldog before the big day. I did this with my kids as well. I packed a small snack and just drove around town for about an hour to get them used to being in the car. At first this was hard. They got antsy and wanted to get out and kept asking how long we’d be gone. But eventually, they just looked out the window and enjoyed the ride. Your fur child will learn too.
Take them on drives around town or on the freeway. End somewhere fun like a dog park so they are excited to get in the car. When they start to wonder whats up and whine, give them a small snack. This will take patience as your dog learns to be in the car for longer periods of time, but they will eventually learn and settle down and enjoy the ride.

Crate Train or Seat Belts

The third of my travel tips begins long before the trip too. If your dog doesn’t have room to sprawl out in the back seat, start crate training them, if they aren’t already used to it. Start for short periods of time, about 30 minutes, and then start adding 15 minutes every few days. Use a crate with lots of ventilation and give them plenty of water and a chew toy. They can also have a thin blanket. Work your way up to about 2 hours. You will want to take a stretch break with your dog every 2-3 hours, so crate training your dog for about 2 1/2 hours will be ideal.
Use a crate that they can see out of, has plenty of ventilation, and large enough so your bulldog has plenty of room to move around. They should have about 6 inches of clearance on all sides. I do recommend using a crate for long travels. It will be less distracting for the driver, which means it is much safer for everyone in the car. Here’s my top safety tips for travelling with a bulldog – distraction or not, dogs are safest in a crate while driving. If you get in an accident they won’t become a projectile. You can also purchase dog seat belts to keep your dog safe in case of an accident. They are connected to a harness that connects them to a belt in your car. The last thing you want is for anyone, person or dog, to get hurt during your trip. My favorite is this seat belt from Pawaboo on Amazon. Your bulldog will be safely strapped in. It comes with a harness so their neck won’t get hurt in an accident and the force of an accident will be distributed through their body. The bulldog can stand up, move around, stick their head out of the window, and lay down. Lots of comfort and safety.

Provide Water

Make sure your dog has plenty of water while you travel. This goes for air travel too! Some water might just be the thing they need to keep calm and comfortable during a long trip. I suggest not just putting a water bowl in their crate though. This can get messy as you go over bumps and around corners. You can purchase a water bottle to hook into their crate. It works a lot like the water bottles in mice cages, but they are larger and hold a lot more water. They are easy to find in your local pet store or online for as little as $5.

Chew Toys and Snacks

One of the travel tips for bulldogs I would most definitely use! Chew toys! Something to keep them entertained in the back seat. Consider getting your bulldog something brand new that will be fun and exciting. It will keep them quite in the back seat while they explore their new toy. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Anything new will be fun.
One of my favorite toys is a Kong. Most pet parents have already heard of a Kong. If you already have one, take it away and hide it for a while before your trip. When they get it back on your trip, it will be new and exciting again. If you don’t have a Kong, it is a red rubber, hollow toy that you stuff with peanut butter and your bulldog can lick it out. The shape of the Kong makes it a little difficult for the dog to lick all the peanut butter out of. They could be working on that peanut butter for a while, keeping them happy entertained in the back seat while you drive.
Don’t forget the snacks! Go easy on the snacks, giving them just a few to keep them happy. Dogs tend to have motion sickness. And be sure its a snack that won’t make them gassy, as most bulldogs are already a little on the gassy side. Rolling down the windows at 80 miles per hour wound be a little windy!

Take Plenty of Bathroom Breaks

Healthy adult dogs usually should be let out to go to the bathroom 3-5 times a day (smaller dogs, like the French Bulldog, usually need to go to the bathroom more often). But they also aren’t stuck in the car all day either. They can get up and walk around whenever they want when they are at home. Make a point to stop and let your dog out every 3-4 hours. They can stretch their legs, do their business, and then they’ll be ready to hop back in the car and move on.
You can search ahead for pet friendly rest stops. Many rest stops have a small walking path around the parking lot with a grassy field to walk in too. Most rest stops will have a spigot where you can get some fresh water from to let them get a drink.

Sedatives for Dogs

You may be wondering if you should sedate your dog to make travelling easier. If you are flying in an airplane, my recommendation is to NOT sedate your dog. Yes, travelling is stressful for them, but they also need to be aware and in control of their body. They will be moved around, there may be turbulence. Your dog may need to stabilize themselves to prevent being bumped and tossed around too much. If they can’t control their muscles, they won’t be able to take care of themselves.
There are other natural options available. Lavender is a relaxing essential oil. To help sooth your dog, you can diffuse a little in your car as you drive. If travelling gives your dog anxiety and you really feel like your dog would benefit from a sedative, talk to your veterinarian about different options before giving your dog any over the counter medication, so you know correct dosage and any side effects.

Motion Sickness in Dogs

Many dogs, especially puppies, experience motion sickness. Puppies ears aren’t fully developed yet and causes them to feel dizzy and unstable in cars. If you dog gets motion sickness, plan a couple extra rest stops, keep the air conditioner on cool or roll down the window a few inches every once in a while to keep the air fresh. If at all possible, keep your dog forward facing even though it’s hard to control if they are in a crate. The plus side of riding in a crate is that they will contain any messes and they are easy to hose down. Talk to your veterinarian about motion sickness medication you can give before the car ride if this is a serious concern for you.

Bulldog Travel Tips: Airplanes

Airplanes are really hard on bulldogs. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation has said that the bulldog breed are most likely to die while travelling by air. This is because of their short noses and their breathing issues. Dogs control their body temperature through their noses and panting which is already hard enough for the bulldog. But add stress and poor climate control and the poor pooch will have a really difficult time. We have that will cover everything you really need to know if you plan to travel by airplane with a Bulldog.
To sum it up, I suggest crate training your dog to get used to being in a crate for long periods of time. Travel during mild seasons like spring or fall if you can help it. You would not want your dog to get stuck on the tarmac like planes often do for long periods of time. The airplane often doesn’t run the air conditioner or heater until the plane has taken off. While the oversize cargo load where animals fly is climate controlled (the cargo load gets the air after it circulates through the main cabin, so its always a little cooler), it is not while the plane is on the ground.
Provide a familiar toy or small thin blanket to line their crate. This will give them comfort, and the smell of their home in the air. Also provide them with a water bottle they can drink out of and a use a crate with plenty of ventilation.

Health Clearance

Don’t forget to get a travel clearance from your veterinarian with in 10 days of travel domestically. Other countries have different requirements so be sure to check long before your trip to make sure you have all the proper paperwork to bring your dog into another country. Hawaii has very strict laws about letting animals into their state. I would just avoid travelling to Hawaii with any kind of pet if you are just taking a short vacation.
One last Bulldog travel tip for air travel. Talk with your veterinarian about specific surgery for bulldogs. They can correct stenotic nares and perform a Soft palate resection if the condition is bad enough which will make breathing much easier for your bulldog. This can be costly, around $3,000 to have both problems fixed, but they will be able to breathe and control their temperature better, making air travel safer for the bulldog. This will not only help them travel, but their overall well being and health will be improved because of it.

Can Bulldogs Fly in the Cabin?

The short answer no, bulldogs can not fly in the cabin. However, dogs that are small enough can fly in the cabin. The regulations are that they have to be able to fit in a crate with room to move. The crate has to fit underneath the seat in front of you. You may not remove the dog from the crate for any reason, and you have to be able to calm them down if they get stressed out with out removing them from the crate. There is also a fee for bringing a pet with you in the cabin. These fees can run anywhere from $75-$150 each way.
Any dogs that can not fit in a crate that will be placed underneath the seat in front of you can not fly in the cabin unless it is a service dog. You have to show proper paperwork that your dog has been through training. Your dog can also become an emotional support dog. This is process is usually free, but you may have to jump through some hoops. You will have to receive a doctors note, but most doctors won’t just go signing notes for you just for the convenience of bringing your bulldog with you on the plane.
In general, having a large bulldog in the cabin is not easy for you or anyone around you. Its a small place for a lot of people to pack in. They are too large to fit by your feet with out bothering the person next to you, and they can’t be in the isle. Be considerate of those around you if you chose to jump through the many hoops and bring a dog in the cabin with you.

Conclusion

Prepping for smooth and safe travels may take some work, but you will thank yourself on the bit travel day. Remember our travel tips –  a long walk, a fun new toy, crate train if necessary, and take plenty of breaks. You’ll be to your destination in no time with out a hitch. Happy trails to you and these bulldog travel tips will get you there with out a hitch.

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