Pet safety in transportation for high-risk dog breeds

Pet safety in transportation for high-risk dog breeds

Not all dogs are created equal – countless breeds exist, some facing more significant health risks than others. From respiratory difficulties to hereditary defects to zoonotic diseases, there’s a vast variety of potential health problems. Many of these can complicate transportation, which is an issue that all companies that transport pets should take into account.

So what are the high-risk breeds from a dog transporter’s perspective? More importantly, which steps can we take to minimize the risks and assure pet safety in transportation?

Basset Hounds

These lovable, stubborn dogs have short legs and long, pendulous ears which makes them prone to ear infections. In addition, some develop chronic spinal problems which cause pain during movement.

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Boston Terrier

Friendly and intelligent, these dogs can also be unusually energetic. This not only makes them antsy during transport but increases their risk of overheating in warm weather.

Other breeds with similar issues: Yorkshire Terrier, Welsh Corgie.


This strong, athletic breed, once used by military and police, is now a popular choice of a family dog. They are prone to allergies, cardiomyopathy, and ulcerative colitis. Their short snouts and facial skin folds also cause breathing difficulties in hot and humid conditions.

Other breeds with similar issues: Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane.

Labrador Retriever

Still the most popular dog in the US, the Lab is known to form strong bonds with its owners. Consequently, separation anxiety is a very common issue during transportation. Their other health concerns include various muscular conditions and overheating.

Other breeds with similar issues: Bichon Frise, Border Collie, German Shepherd.


Like other short-nosed breeds, pugs are prone to respiratory issues due to their compact nasal passages. These difficulties also result in lower heat tolerance as they struggle to manage body temperature. Finally, humidity is another environmental factor that puts pugs at risk.

Other breeds with similar issues: French Bulldog, most brachycephalic dogs.

Siberian Husky

Originally bred for work in cold, harsh environments, these highly energetic dogs feature heavy fur coats. While handy in the winter, these greatly enhance the risk of overheating in the summertime.

Other breeds with similar issues: Akita, Samoyed.

Dealing with high-risk breeds

So how do companies that transport pets manage these health risks? Well, pet safety in transportation is not exactly the number one priority for all. Some are mainly concerned with reducing potential liabilities – airlines that deny access to animals with certain health issues, for example. Others require owners to sign waivers that release the transporter from liability should anything go wrong.

At CitizenShipper, we take a different approach. Pet safety in transportation has always been our goal. We achieve this by matching customers to experienced transporters, fully aware of the risks factors associated with a particular breed. This makes health risks manageable, assuring that each dog enjoys the best possible treatment.

Here’s just a brief overview of the measures that veteran transporters use when dealing with high-risk dog breeds.

  • Allergies/infections: Choose your stops carefully when taking the dog out for a walk, avoiding potential allergens and infective agents. Examine the dog carefully after each break, looking for infected areas or signs of a possible allergic reaction.
  • Anxiety: Consult the owner about the dog’s habits and the potential causes of anxiety. Discuss ways of creating a calming environment during transport, from soothing music to DAP diffusers.
  • Muscle/joint pain: Make sure that the dog is perfectly comfortable in its carrier. Double-check regularly to confirm that the motion has not increased its distress.
  • Respiratory problems: Provide the best possible airflow to the carrier, keeping the air cool and dry. Consult the owner/vet about the specifics of the respiratory issue and the steps you should take if symptoms occur.

Overheating: Always use an air-conditioned vehicle and provide plenty of fresh water. When taking the dog out for a walk, avoid direct sunlight and watch for signs of overexertion. React swiftly when you recognize the symptoms, and get the dog to a vet ASAP.

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