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shepherd dog sleeping

Ideally, dogs should remain calm and restful when left alone.

A common concern for pet owners is their pet’s separation anxiety. This is often a concern for owners who want to travel with their pets, but fear that their furry friend will be too stressed out to ride in the cargo hold of an airplane, where they will be separated from their owners. Separation anxiety is more typically seen in dogs, as cats are generally more aloof and less inclined to act out or show their anxiety beyond excessive meowing.

Separation anxiety in dogs can manifest itself in destructive ways. Dogs who become anxious when separated from their owners might be inclined to bark incessantly, have bathroom accidents, chew on furniture, or tear up yards and houses. In mild cases of separation anxiety, the following tips should help ease your pup’s worry and correct the behavior. For more severe cases, you might want to try the desensitization process outlined in this PetRelocation blog post.

Keep It Low-Key

You may have noticed that your dog gets frantic and overexcited when you come home after work. The dog’s display of excitement likely makes you excited, and causes you to make a big fuss over your pooch, thereby further exciting the dog. Excitement is normal, but for dogs with separation anxiety this process reinforces the idea that your time spent apart was a big deal and that now that you are together everything is better.

wiggly puppy

Most puppies are wiggly, but if your dog is TOO excited to see you, he may have separation anxiety.

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, try to keep your departures and arrivals low-key. Ignore your dog for a few minutes before your leave the house and when you return home. This teaches the dog that your coming and going is just business as usual.

Leave Him with Your Scent

If your dog misses you when you’re away, try leaving him with something that smells like you. Giving your dog an old t-shirt that you’ve recently slept in, for example, can help ease his worries that you’ve disappeared. Just make sure it’s something you’re not too attached to, as it might get chewed!

Tire Him Out

Be sure to thoroughly walk your dog before you leave him alone for any length of time. A tired dog is a calm dog, a calm dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog is an intact house!

puppy on leash

Walk your dog before you leave to make sure that he doesn’t have excess energy which could turn destructive when left alone.

Keep Him Entertained

Oftentimes, dogs who exhibit destructive behavior when left alone are simply bored. Provide interactive, challenging toys to make sure that your dog stays entertained. Toys that can be stuffed with treats are ideal, as they reward solitary play and provide intellectual stimulation as your dog tries to figure out how to remove the treats. Two such toys are Petmate’s plush Buddhas and the Wobbling Treatball.

pom treatball

Wobbling Treatball via Petmate

An additional benefit of giving your dog interactive toys when leaving him alone is that, if done consistently, the ritual of presenting a certain toy becomes a “safety cue”. A safety cue is a word or action that you repeat every time you leave which assures your dog that you will return.

Crate Training is Key, Especially When Traveling

Some owners keep their dogs crated during the day, and others only use crates to transport their pets. Either way, if your pup has separation anxiety and associates his crate with being left alone, he may learn to dislike the crate. Making sure that your dog is properly crate trained from an early age ensures that he will think of his crate as a safe space. This is especially important when traveling, as the stress and separation anxiety felt during travel can be eased by being in his familiar crate.

german shepherd crate

Chap seems very comfortable in his crate.

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? What do you do to ease your pet’s stress? Tell us about it in the comments below.

 
 

4 Breed-Specific Pet Travel Regulations

Wednesday, August 07, 2013 by

Last week, Qantas airline announced some changes to their breed-specific regulations, lifting their controversial ban on American Staffordshire Terriers and allowing snub-nosed breeds to travel internationally. These changes are largely regarded as good news, but they raise a few questions about breed-specific regulations: How widespread are they? What are their purposes? What animals are affected?

As with most aspects of pet air travel, nothing is written in stone and regulations vary widely. Additionally, some airlines have breed-specific policies which change depending on the time of year (as we discussed in an earlier post about traveling with pets during the summer). Here’s a brief summary of 4 different types of breed-specific regulations of which owners should be aware if they are planning on traveling with their pet.

Brachycephalic Breeds

bulldog with baseball

Brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs are often subject to extra airline regulations.

What breeds are affected and why are these regulations in place?

Many airlines have embargoes or restrictions on brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds. You can find a list of dog and cat breeds that fall under this category on the PetRelocation blog. These regulations are out of concern for the animals’ safety, as these breeds are prone to breathing difficulties which could turn dangerous during the stress of travel. Regulations are largely in place during the summer months, as brachycephalic breeds have trouble regulating their body temperatures and are more prone to heat stroke than their non-snubby brethren.

Sample Regulation

United Airlines doesn’t allow brachycephalic breeds to fly between May and September, and temperatures must be below 85 degrees Fahrenheit in order to fly these breeds any other time of year. Additionally, United has a year-round embargo on adult Bulldogs who are older than six months and weigh more than 20 pounds. Brachycephalic breeds are typically required to ride in a crate which is a size larger than what they would normally need in order to ensure sufficient ventilation.

Dogs Requiring Reinforced Crates

presa canario

Presa Canario via Wikimedia

What breeds are affected and why are these regulations in place?

Some breeds of dog are considered especially strong (and, controversially, prone to aggression) and are subject to special regulations concerning the way they are transported. In the case of United Airlines, these breeds include the following:

  • American Bully
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Ca de Bou
  • Cane Corso
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • Presa Canario
  • Tosa (or Tosa Ken)

The regulations concerning these breeds are designed to make sure that these animals are not able to break free of their crates during travel. This, of course, would pose a risk to the escaped animal and potentially a risk to the other animals being stored in the cargo hold.

Sample Regulation

Adults of these breeds (those who are older than 6 months or weigh more than 20 pounds) are frequently required to be shipped in containers which meet IATA Container Requirement #82. These reinforced crates are usually custom-made and must be constructed out of materials other than plastic (wood, metal, and wire mesh are common).

cr82 reinforced crate

Example of CR82-compliant reinforced crate via acepetmoving.com

National Import Regulations (Breed-Specific Legislation)

American Pit Bull Terrier Seated

American Pit Bull Terrier via Wikimedia

What breeds are affected and why are these regulations in place?

Some countries have established Breed-Specific Legislation (or BSL) in order to limit or prohibit the entry of dog breeds which are sometimes deemed “dangerous”. The list of breeds affected by these regulations overlaps significantly with the list of breeds which require reinforced crates (see above).

Such legislation is highly controversial, as it assumes that all dogs of a given breed are dangerous by nature. Many owners of these breeds argue that a dog’s temperament is determined by its treatment and upbringing, and claim that their pets are as sweet and loving as any other dog.

Because the authorities behind the creation of BSL assume that affected breeds are innately dangerous, the intention of such legislation is to prevent attacks by these dogs on humans or other animals.

What countries have these laws and what do they entail?

Understand-a-Bull has compiled a useful list of countries with BSL and the breeds affected in those countries. To find out if a country you are planning on visiting has BSL, try finding the website for that country’s Department of Agriculture and looking up their pet import requirements on that page.

CITES Species

green parrot

All parrot species are CITES-protected.

What animals are affected and why are these regulations in place?

Many exotic pets (such as birds, amphibians, and reptiles) are species which are regulated by CITES. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) monitors and protects endangered species and species which may be subject to endangerment if not controlled. Regulations are in place to ensure that international trade (and transportation) of these species does not endanger their survival or the survival of native species.

To determine if your pet is subject to CITES regulations, check the CITES species database. There, you will be able to locate your pet’s species and determine if it is protected by CITES.

Sample Regulation

In many cases, CITES-protected species require both import and export CITES permits from their respective countries in order to be transported internationally. Permits can take up to 6 months to obtain, so owners planning on traveling with these species will need to start planning their trip well in advance.

two parrots

CITES species largely include birds, reptiles, and some small mammals

If you plan on traveling with pets, be sure to check the policies of your chosen airline/country of destination by contacting them directly. That being said, this list is a good place to start if you are not sure whether or not your pet will be subject to breed-specific regulation.

Do you own a pet affected by breed-specific regulations? What do you think of such regulation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.