Flying your dog

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KatrinH
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Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:16 am

Hey everyone,

I have a question for those of you who have travelled by plane with their dogs before.

As some of you know, I am currently at a university in Washington, however, I am originally from Germany and have German citizenship only. For various reasons I may be leaving this school. Due to timing issues I will not be able to start a different program until August-ish, and I plan to apply to some programs in the US and some in the UK. Due to my status I am unable to stay in the US for more than 3 months without a visa, meaning that if I do leave my current program I would have to go back to Germany for the time being.

Now the big question of course is what to do with Ranger. I cannot imagine being apart from him for at least 6 months. If I knew I would stay in Europe I would fly him over, no big deal. But since there is a chance I will be returning to the US after 6-8 months I am concerned about it being too stressful for him to fly twice in that amount of time.

Any experiences? I have never flown a dog anywhere, so I do not know how stressful it truly is, etc.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby Calypso » Wed Dec 31, 2014 8:45 am

I know that show dogs are frequently flown around with only a few days or week turn around, but I don't have personal experience with a dog in cargo. Is Ranger an anxious dog in general, or a dog who doesn't take to new experiences well? I think Havana would handle that kind of situation well as long as I trusted the airline and I know Cousteau would have been fine. I'd hesitiate to fly Pixel as cargo right now and I'd never have done it with my black Lab - I don't think he had the emotional capacity to recover. Even leaving him at a kennel was rough on him.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby connie » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:38 pm

I've collected three dogs that were shipped, this past year; one a domestic flight -- Henry, the rescue in CA that Amanda fostered for a while -- and the other two flights from EU countries.
In none of the three instances did I see any evidence of a bad experience. The international flights were a long time in the crate for the dogs, but they seemed fine afterwards. Both are now show dogs, with finished CH titles.
When you ship international, you will want to find someone who has had experience with various airlines. Some are better than others, and breeders and show people who fly dogs regularly will know that. Air France is one of the better ones, I believe; but I don't know a thing beyond that!
A dog shipped domestically OR internationally must be in a crate of the size and type specified by the carrying airline; there must be food and water in the crate in airline-approved containers. The crate may not be opened by anyone until the dog has reached the destination and cleared Customs, if an international flight.
Clearing Customs takes a lot of time, since a Centers for Disease Control doctor has to examine the dog and its health records, which are shipped on the crate with it.
I suggest you find out which airline you will be using, and contact them with questions. All my experiences with carrying airlines have been quite positive. I hope you find the same.
I would not hesitate to ship any of my dogs, if the alternative was leaving them behind on another continent. JMO.

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Amanda
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Re: Flying your dog

Postby Amanda » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:50 pm

The breeder I am getting my puppy from says Lufthansa is the best and only one she will use. If it were me, I would bring him rather than leave him behind for months.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Thu Jan 01, 2015 3:25 am

I am leaning towards taking him if I do leave. He tends to respond to new situations pretty well, especially if he is crated. He is sensitive, as a BC, but I am sure I could figure it out.

Do any of you have experiences if it is not a direct flight? I would prefer direct, but I will have to see if it's possible (I will definitely have to drive the 6hrs to Seattle if I want any chance of a direct flight).

Any experiences with Delta? (Lufthansa does not seem to fly directly to Seattle at all based on my very quick search).

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby connie » Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:34 am

The people I know who ship dogs will not do it unless it's a non-stop flight. They feel that connecting flights increase the chances of things going wrong for the shipment.
Personally, I'd do the 6-hour drive to get a non-stop flight.

I've heard that Delta and United are both good domestic carriers for pet shipment. Check out their websites, each has info on pet shipping and you can see how they compare. I did this when we were getting ready to fly Henry from Amanda to me. We ended up using United, and it went very well; also, a friend just sent a dog from Dallas to TN on Delta and it was a smooth, uneventful transport.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:46 am

Thanks Connie. I think I may not truly have a choice of airlines anyway if I want a direct flight. Seattle isn't a big airport and there aren't too many non-stop flights to Frankfurt, Germany (ideally Stuttgart, Germany, but there are no direct flights at all I think).

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:15 am

ok, so I double checked and Lufthansa is actually the only airline that has direct flights. However, I may have to do a transfer flight anyway. Since I live on the east side of WA driving to Seattle can be difficult if the weather is bad (the passes can close and my car is not the best in snow) :sad: So I guess he may have to live with the stress....

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby Amanda » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:54 am

Lufthansa is very good with dogs, so I'm told. I will update with my experience after the 20th.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby UpwardDog » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:54 pm

Susan Garrett wrote a little mini book about flying dogs. She's flown a lot with dogs internationally for world agility open etc. I haven't read it and I've only travelled with one dog and that was in-cabin.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:31 pm

Ok so this is becoming real. Most likely a direct flight afterall though. Any recommendations on how to make this as comfortable for Ranger as possible?

He will be in his familiar crate with cratebed and soaking pads in case he potties. Water and food bowls as asked for my the airline company will be hanging in the door. I plan on giving him his blankie and a shirt that smells like me in the crate with him. Any other ideas?

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby Amanda » Sat Jan 24, 2015 1:40 pm

You can't put any food in the bowl. And water tends to make a mess. I used ice cubes in the water bowl so that they could melt over time without sloshing. Feed no closer than about 3-4 hours prior and make sure he poops before you put him in for the last time. You have to check him in 2 hours before the flight so tack on that extra time. And for me it took about 40 minutes to get my puppies after we landed and then go through customs was another 10 minutes. I don't know how long it will take you on the other side, but I wish I'd had an extra pee pad to let the puppies pee inside instead of having to wait. Or in one case, have an accident. Good luck! Lufthansa was great. They kept the puppies inside the terminal on my layover and I saw them load up the crates with care as the last luggage. It was 4C in Munich so I was glad they kept them as warm as possible.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:55 pm

No I know no food in the bowl, but they ask to leave food with the dog and water, I don't think they allow me to put anything in the bowls. They will fill it as needed from what I understood.

Ranger has never used a pee pad, so I don't know if he'd even use it. But he may be ok, the flight is only 10hrs, so plus 2 hrs before and the time after. He has held it for longer than 13hours before. If anything, accident happens and that's that. I will have my mom bring clean towels for the drive home just in case.

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby connie » Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:26 am

Many people put water bottles on the crate door inside, the kind that the dog can drink out of -- the bottle dispenses drops of water when the dog licks at it. If you can find one of those and show Ranger how to use it, that's a good way to water a dog mid-flight. (My dogs refuse to go near the bottle, they think I am trying to kill them or something. But maybe your dog is less of a doofus!)

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:22 am

The airline requires that there are 2 bowls attached to the crate door, one for water and one for food. So I think I will just do that, and tape a bag of food and bottle of water to the crate. I think the airline staff is supposed to at least water the dogs on the flight. Ranger already hates drinking out of one of these portable water things, I doubt he likes the crate water bottles lol

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:29 pm

Turns out the airline actually requires one of the bottles. Bowl is voluntary. I guess I will try and see if he will use it, I hope so :/

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:33 am

Lufthansa was great. I was there 3.5 hours early, but they let me go out until the very last moment to play with Ranger. Got him back immediately after landing really and he seemed pretty chill. A little confused and all, but happy to go potty and sniff all those new German smells. 2 hour car ride went smoothly as usual and then we went for an hour walk, which he loved because there is snow here and so so many sniffs. Oh and he does not care about my cat at all so far haha, my cat thinks he sucks...

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby SherriA » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:44 am

Great to hear that the journey went well!
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Re: Flying your dog

Postby Calypso » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:53 am

So glad it went well!

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KatrinH
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Re: Flying your dog

Postby KatrinH » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:55 am

Now I am getting the stinky eye because he is crated so my cat can get used to him and my cat just jumped on my lab...slight jealousy attack happening

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Re: Flying your dog

Postby Amanda » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:57 pm

Glad all went well on the flight. They did a good job for me too, so I'm glad they stood up to their reputation. :)


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