I’m often asked why choosing a pet carrier should be different for a pug than any other animal. There are actually a couple of reasons.
Firstly, their short snouts mean they can experience breathing problems during travel, when there are changes in air pressure, or in confined stuffy spaces. This makes it extremely important to choose a carrier that keeps them safe and healthy.
The other reason is due to their unique personality. If you have ever had the pleasure of encountering a pug you’ll appreciate how friendly and extrovert this small but stocky breed can be.
Pugs have been favoured pets since the Emperor of China adopted them in 180AD. They are noted for forming particularly close bonds with their owners. They also love to be busy either playing or letting their curiosity get the better of them.
Whenever they are excited or anxious they are not shy of making their feelings known by bouts of raucous barking. So it is important to select a pet carrier that appears to be like part of your home in order to meet with your pug’s approval.
Why do you need a pet carrier for your Pug?
Almost every pug owner I have ever met finds the endearing personality and devoted companionship of a pug irresistible. Many can’t bear to be parted from their pugs for more than a few hours – and indeed, pugs don’t cope well when left alone for long periods of time.
Shared activities and holiday adventures are often a pug owner’s priority so a reliable pet carrier is an essential accessory.
If you plan to take your pug with you on your holiday excursions, consider the type of travelling you will probably undertake. Journeys by road or air can have very different requirements.
Travelling by road
A long journey in a car can mean your pug has to be confined for several hours. The pet carrier will need to provide a comfortable environment with soft bedding and safety features such as an internal harness. The carrier will also have to be securely anchored to the seat belts.
Alternatively, consider using a specially designed doggy booster seat with a safety harness that attaches to the seat belts of your car and should help to keep your furry friend firmly in place.
Remember: even if your pug is in a rigid carrier, you should never place him in the front seat. If the airbags ever activate, their powerful blast could cause him serious harm or even kill him.
Even with a comfortable carrier, allow plenty of time for regular stops to let him stretch his legs and enjoy some fresh air.
Travelling by air
Pugs are defined as brachycephalic, a term which refers to their short noses and flat faces. Unfortunately, they don’t respond too well to the thinner, pressurised air inside aeroplanes and can often suffer respiratory problems.
Some airlines insist on all pets being confined to the cargo hold. Before travelling, find out which airlines will allow you to take your pug on board as part of your personal hand luggage.
Once onboard, your pug will have to remain in his carrier and be placed under your seat. The spaces beneath seats can vary from one airline to another but on average they are around eight to ten inches in height.
Always use a soft carrier when flying with your pug as you can ease the top under the seat for a neat fit. Also, look out for carriers that are marketed as “airline approved”. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll be accepted on every flight on every airline, but it does mean the carrier meets the size, safety and comfort requirements of the majority of major airlines.
Features to consider when buying a pet carrier for your pug
Once you have decided on the type of travel you’ll be doing, you can begin searching for the most suitable pet carrier. There is a greater choice than ever before including traditional rigid carriers, pliable fabric versions and even backpacks.
A pug usually stands at a height of around twelve to fourteen inches with females often being slightly shorter.
Measure the height of your own pug then look for a carrier with a headroom that allows him to stand inside. It should also have enough width for your pug to be able to turn round with ease. These are both official airline requirements, as well as being important for your pug’s comfort.
Some fabric pet carriers have side extensions made of mesh that conveniently drop down to allow your pug more room to move or stretch.
For particularly long journeys or if you are travelling in warm weather, your pug could be at risk of dehydration and overheating. Ensure the pet carrier provides enough space to accommodate a dish of water. There are many collapsible and spill-proof bowls available that are ideal for travelling.
A carrier that is too large can be harmful to your pug’s safety and comfort. There are always sudden jolts involved in all types of travel and a carrier that is excessively roomy won’t provide enough restraint.
Allow too much internal space and your pug could lose his balance and be thrown about leading to uncomfortable bruising.
A pug’s weight can range on average from thirteen to twenty pounds perhaps even more in some cases. Always check that your favourite pet carrier is designed to safely carry the weight of your pug.
If in doubt, I always think it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose a pet carrier with a higher capability.
A pug can feel heavy after carrying him for a while. Choosing a carrier with a comfortable shoulder strap can help distribute your pug’s weight and leaves your hands free. A removable frame with wheels and an extending handle can also be an advantage.
As we’ve seen, on account of their short noses pugs sometimes experience breathing difficulties. It is important to choose a carrier that allows plenty of ventilation either through air vents or mesh panels.
Any type of pet carrier is worthless if it doesn’t provide adequate safety for your pug. A carrier with rigid sides frequently has an upper and lower half that fasten together with plastic clips. Ensure they are sturdy and not liable to snap when in use.
Fabric pet carriers usually have a series of zips to seal the entry panels. Ensure they are of high quality and not prone to sticking. Lockable zips are an additional safety feature.
If you suddenly surprise your pug with a new carrier at the last moment he’s sure to be suspicious of it. Plan ahead and make your purchase with weeks to spare and leave it around the house so he can get used to it at his own pace.
Knowing how inquisitive pugs are it won’t be long before you find it’s one of his favourite places.