Come Join the fun at our new Facebook Group Page
Puppy travel doesn’t need to be difficult, but it does require a little planning.
One reason people love the Shih Tzu breed is that it is highly portable, meaning that they are easy to travel with and most enjoy the experience.
Often the first trip that a puppy takes is going to their forever home
from the breeder's home or kennel.
Since it has become harder and harder to find the kind of dog you want these days, most new puppy owners must either travel or arrange for transportation to get their puppy home.
Flying is an option if the breeder is able to do so.
There are U.S.D.A. rules that severely limit flying a puppy from the breeder to the new owner.
When this is possible, it is safe as long as the breeder follows the recommendations of the airlines.
Other than getting to the airport to greet your new puppy, you may not need to worry much about puppy travel. There are a few restrictions, though, that you should be aware of.
Airlines will not fly a puppy less than eight weeks of age and many
breeders will prefer to keep the puppy until 10 or 12 weeks of age.
Weather restrictions apply no matter what breed is being transported by an airline.
Airlines transport puppies in the cargo bay. The cargo area of
a plan has oxygen and is climate controlled. But, sometimes the puppy
must wait on the tarmac for loading, so the airlines require that the
departure and arrival temperatures be within a certain limit to keep the
For many brachycephalic breeds such as the Shih Tzu, a larger crate size is required to provide more ventilation and air circulation. This adds to the cost of the flight.
Depending on the length of the trip, the airlines will offer food and water to the puppy, but it may not be as often as you would wish.
There is always the chance that something will go wrong -- flights delayed, flights canceled, on even human error such as the airline personnel forgetting to load the puppy onto the plane.
(Yes, that has actually happened to me.)
If you decide to go this route, have the breeder arrange the flight to the nearest large airport. Puppies cannot be loaded onto commuter planes because smaller planes do not have a cargo area.
If flying is the easiest way to bring a puppy home, you might consider
flying to the breeder and bringing the puppy home with you in the cabin
of the plane.
Although stressful to a new puppy, flying in the cabin can be a better experience for him. You are close and can pet or calm a nervous puppy while on route.
The airlines will not permit you to remove the dog from the carrier, but at least you are close. This usually puts people's minds at rest.
If you decide to fly, pack a few accessories to help along the way
Remember that the crate must fit under the seat in front of you. This means that you will need to purchase a soft carrier not the hard, ridged plastic types. The crate will count as one of your carry-ons, so anything you pack for your puppy must also fit into your other allowable carry-on.
Car travel is another viable option. Even puppies who have little or no
experience riding in a car do fine. My experience has been that most
will curl up and sleep most of the time. My puppy buyers who travel to
my home to purchase their puppy confirm this as well.
It is always easier when there is more than one person traveling with a puppy. One can comfort a nervous puppy while the other drives. Two is always better than one at rest stops. I don’t encourage anyone to leave a dog or puppy unattended in a car, although many people do.
Here are a couple of tips to make the trip successful.
Items to Include:
If possible, keep the puppy in the crate or a car seat while driving, especially if you will be alone. It is just safer that way.
|Do not feed a large meal prior to traveling. If worried the puppy will get hungry, buy a yummy tasting supplement such as Nutri-Cal for Puppy High-Calorie Nutritional Supplement, 4.25-Ounce Dogs love this high caloric paste. Squeeze a little onto your finger and place the dab on the roof of their mouth.|
Once they see how
good it tastes, they probably will want to eat it directly from the
You can load them with this high calorie paste in lieu of feeding a large meal and this usually prevents them from vomiting on route.
Stop every two hours to rest and allow the puppy to eliminate. If the
puppy is too small for a leash and collar, choose a grassy area away
from traffic. Shih Tzu puppies will not stray from their human so you
should not worry about them running off. Offer a little water each time
The best places I have found for stopping are interstate rest stops. This means, of course, that you will need to stock up on food and drinks for yourself before leaving, or plan on using fast food drive through. If you must use the facilities, you can usually take the puppy with you.
Be prepared for the Ohhs and Awws as
everyone loves a puppy. In my experience, I have not had anyone stop me
from bringing a puppy into the building. This is not the case with
restaurants and fast food establishments.
If you make the trip a pleasant experience for a new puppy, the next car ride he takes will be much easier. For small pups the next car ride is usually to the veterinarian. All of these pleasant experiences help socialize the puppy, something that is critical for a well-balanced happy dog.
Get the latest on everything Shih Tzu. Sign up today for our monthly E-zine. It's free!