Finding the Right Dog 4 – Lifestyle Issues – Travel and Boarding

Travel and Boarding

How you travel and how much you travel (or how much you would like to travel in the future) is a serious issue in considering what dog to get (and how many dogs to own).  There are many dogs who live in RVs and I have even been contacted by a few long distance truckers who drive with little dogs for company.   Although I have met large dogs who live in RVs the majority are little and one reason for this is that many campgrounds only allow small dogs (some require under 12 pounds). It is possible to find campgrounds who are more lenient.  I once knew a man who lived in an RV only because the campground he lived in was the only place he could find to live with his coyote and pot bellied pig.

Most people who fly a lot want their dogs to fly in-cabin with them. I have flown this way but I have also flown with the dogs in cargo.  The price is usually not much different. We never had a problem with dogs in cargo and the airlines have very few problems with them in general. They are required to file incident reports that are viewable online and I have looked at all of them.  The problems are rare and they are those you would most expect: Dogs who are not crate trained sometimes hurt themselves or on rare occasions escape.  Brachycephalic dogs have the most trouble flying and if you plan to fly this is not the type of dog for you.  These are the dogs with flat faces like pugs and all bulldog related varieties. Respiratory problems are common in these breeds but are greatly exacerbated by flying. Some airlines won’t even transport bulldogs.  If you want a dog to fly in-cabin with you they need to be pretty small and their carrier needs to fit under the seat in front of you.  Under 7 pounds is best but you might get away with a dog up to 12 pounds, depending on the dog and the airline personnel.  (See my article on dog carriers.)

Some pet owners travel a lot and are lucky enough to have family or great pet sitters who will take care of their animals while they are away.  This is a great option if it’s available to you and if you can stand to go on vacation without your pets.  Sometimes dogs need to be boarded. Your vet may offer boarding but there are a lot of new places, doggie daycares and pet hotels, that might be a better option.  Whoever you talk to about leaving your pet ovrenight make sure there is someone there with them. My vet’s office boards dogs but there is no one there from 6 PM until 8 AM. The animals are left alone all night and no one volunteers that information when you book the boarding time.  I am too afraid of fire to leave the dogs locked in and unattended a night. (Boarding facilities also generally require that your dog have a bordetella vaccination so if you don’t generally get that one you’ll want to plan on it if needed.)

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