Flying with Puppy

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CrazyRedAussie
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Flying with Puppy

Postby CrazyRedAussie » Mon May 08, 2017 12:21 pm

Hello! This is my first post (other than my intro) and my question is for those of you who have experience flying with puppies.

I'm hoping to add a third aussie to my group this summer, and my breeder is a very old, good friend. My two other aussies are her breeding. I absolutely love her dogs, and she is the gold standard when it comes to responsible, ethical breeding. Because of health concerns (hers, not the dogs) this may be one of the last, if not her last litter, so, in addition to other more normal reasons for wanting a puppy from this breeding, there's also a very huge sentimental component here, as well.

Anyway, when my current dogs joined the family, the breeder and I lived in the same state, just a half an hour apart. I've spent time with each an every litter she's bred, and with my youngest dog's litter (my older dog, Ben, was placed with me as a two year old after he was returned by the original family) I visited a few times per week and was very involved in evaluation of puppies and making placement decisions (not just with my boy, Misha, but in matching the other puppies in the litter with their ideal families as well).

Now, I've moved across the country, and this time, I won't have that hands on experience of meeting and getting to know my puppy from the moment he/she is born. I'm feeling a little sad about that. But really, I trust my breeder to pick out the best puppy for me. My main concern is about bringing my new puppy home when the time comes. I've read all of the airline guidelines about flying with pets, and it all seems very doable on paper, but when I start to actually think about actually attempting this, it seems impossible!

First off, from check in to landing at final destination, flights from Wisconsin to Oregon usually take at least eight hours, with at least one layover/ plane switch along the way. That is a long time for a puppy to be crated, especially in such a small crate. According to airline specifications, if the crate meets the requirements to be in the cabin, puppy will have room to stand up, sit down, turn around, and lie down, but that's it. If he/she were to happen to eliminate in the kennel, he/she won't be able to get away from the mess.

I worry about the puppy being disruptive during the flight, both noise (an eight week old puppy won't exactly be flawlessly crate trained at that point) and smell if he/she eliminates during a flight. I'm definitely planning on bringing potty pads, but how does one go about switching them out mid-flight? Do they allow you to take your puppy into the bathroom as one would a human baby? And then just dispose of the soiled pads in the trash? Also, at the airport when waiting for flights, are you allowed to take your puppy out of the crate and let it hang out on some potty pads in an attempt at encouraging elimination before boarding? I fly about once a year, and can't ever remember seeing any pets on any of my flights (save one service animal... who was a trained adult and not in a crate).

As far as noise, I was contemplating giving a little diphenhydramine and hoping for a sedative effect, but I don't want to bank on that actually working!

Driving home is another option, but it would be a looooong drive, a good three days by my estimation (driving alone), but most likely longer as I tend to get fatigued when driving would be stopping more often than if I was just a passenger. And that means finding hotels that will allow puppies and all that goes along with that. That, along with a car rental, could very possibly exceed the cost of flying. I also have limited vacation time, and was hoping to spend as much time as possible integrating puppy into my home with the other pets (two dogs, two cats, and five chickens) and working on establishing a housebreaking crate training (read: sleep) schedule before having to return to work.

How have those of you who have used this method of bringing puppies home handled it?

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Sabine
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Re: Flying with Puppy

Postby Sabine » Tue May 09, 2017 2:52 pm

Welcome to ODO! I hope you'll enjoy hanging out here.

There are pros and cons to either flying or driving. My personal preference would be driving, if feasible, since you'll have the opportunity of spending a considerable amount of time with the puppy and plenty of opportunities to expose him or her to new things. Your breeder will also be able to start crate training with a crate and bed that you can then put in the car, so it's a familiar spot.

Motel 6 and La Quinta are two chains that always allow dogs, and don't charge a pet fee. Other hotels do allow dogs but will charge a fee that can range from $10 per night to $50+. Not a problem at all if you plan ahead.

Many airports are very pet friendly now, so you can certainly have your pup out of the crate, and often you'll also find an indoor potty area inside the security zone in addition to one outside. Plan ahead and check out airport websites. If you have an opportunity to exercise sufficiently before flying out, and some time in the terminal/at the gate meeting new people, the 8 hours may not be an issue at all because your pup is all tired out. Typically you will not be allowed to remove the dog from the carrier and have to leave it under the seat in front of you, but some flight attendants are more accommodating than others. I've only ever had good experiences with the crew on Alaska, American, and Virgin, but would avoid United or Delta.

However, you need to make absolutely sure with the airline that your puppy and the carrier you use will be accepted. For us folks with the little guys it's not a problem at all, but check in agents can give you a hard time if you have a relatively large puppy that has less room in a carrier. I'm not aware of any hard-shell carrier that would be large enough for an Aussie puppy to fit under the seat in front of you, so you'll need something like a Sherpa or Sturdi Bag.
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CrazyRedAussie
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Re: Flying with Puppy

Postby CrazyRedAussie » Thu May 11, 2017 2:10 pm

Thanks so much for such great information! I'd already planned on using a Sherpa bag, thanks! That's interesting about the indoor potty areas. I wasn't aware that those existed, but then again, have never looked for them, either :smile:

I'm still not super sold on flying. It will be a last resort, I think. Pregnancy was just confirmed today via ultrasound, though, so I do have to start thinking about what to do!

Today my breeder offered to drive out and meet halfway, and if she's serious, I think this will be the best option. I can take my other two dogs and do some hiking/camping along the way. A fifteen hour (one way) drive seems much more doable than a thirty hour (one way) drive. Easier on my 200,000 mile car, also.

This way, my breeder will also be able to see them again. We went from seeing her every couple of weeks to not having seen her in three years, and I know she's been wanting to see Ben, my twelve year old, one more time before the end (he has some health problems and we're not sure how much longer he'll be around... though he's doing well enough at the moment).

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Re: Flying with Puppy

Postby UpwardDog » Sun May 14, 2017 10:19 pm

I flew a puppy once and she was really scared, screamed when the plane fired up it's engines.She was a pretty fearful 'doesn't deal well with change' puppy though. We had a very long travel day and I couldn't get her to pee outside the airport or on a pee pad. She was stressed and confused. She finally peed a massive volume on my lap and all over/through her bag. It was Not Fun. I won't fly a puppy again unless it's one flight 4 hrs or less. Never again an 8-10 hr travel day. I wouldn't medicate a puppy to sedate them unless I had done a test dose at home first.

I drove with my last puppy about 18 hrs each way, with my husband. We listened to audible books and had a great sans kids road trip. I took the seats out of my mini van had a crate and a litter box in it (the litter were box trained, but my puppy peed on grass every time he was let out, I don't think he used the litter box at all.I live in Canada so I took the opportunity to do a bunch of cross border shopping for puppy, had stuff shipped the breeder. I confess we were not always travelling super safely. I joined puppy in the back of the van when he was awake.

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Re: Flying with Puppy

Postby Calypso » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:24 pm

I flew my collie from Florida to Wisconsin and Danish Swedish Farmdog from Denmark to Wisconsin. I wouldn't​ say it was the highlight of my life, but I would do it again if necessary.

With the Farmdog I think I flew from Copenhagen to Amsterdam, then to Chicago, and finally to Madison. The airports were fine, my connections were too tight to find the potty area although I wouldn't have done it with a 9 week old puppy. Security areas were good for socialization, lots of attention and the guards talked me through getting through security correctly.

On the flight I deliberately chose the seat in the back near the bathroom and the engines to drown out some puppy noise. I could take the entire bag to the bathroom where I put down potty pads when I thought he'd have to go. Then I balled up the pad and threw it away - I would have picked up solids with a tissue and flushed them if it was an issue, but he didn't go. I started off wiping the floor under the pad with a disinfectant wipes, but by the end of the trip the floor was cleaner when I left, so I stopped worrying too much.

I was a little worried about dehydration or hypoglycemia with a 4 lb puppy, so I did offer capfuls of water and fed him kibble as training treats fairly liberally.

The flight attendant didn't​ let me take Pixel out, I wasn't supposed to have the bag even unzipped, but when he started fussing and didn't have to potty, I put the bag on my lap and unzipped part under the blanket and put my hand in the carrier with him.

CrazyRedAussie
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Re: Flying with Puppy

Postby CrazyRedAussie » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:21 pm

Thanks everyone! I did wind up flying with Rowena, and it went so much better than anything I ever could have anticipated!

I brought the bag with me to the breeder's house, and had all of the puppies try it out, jump inside for treats, etc. All of the puppies really seemed to enjoy it save Rowena... who wanted to rip it apart!

Naturally, it was eventually decided that Rowena would be the one to go home with me :tongue:

I spent the next day with the breeder and tried to make the bag a fun place to be. The rest of the puppies certainly thought it was great (one of Rowena's brothers, my second favorite of the litter, and one I wanted to take home almost as much, even jumped inside with her on numerous occasions), but Rowena wasn't having it.

She screamed the entire way to the airport, but once she got there, she was silent due to all of the chaos around us. The TSA agents loved her, and fought amongst themselves over who got to work with us. She slept the rest of our short wait for our flight, so i didn't get a chance to try the potty pads in the the bathroom thing.

She continued to sleep as we boarded, and was so quiet for the duration of the flight that the person next to me didn't even know I had an animal until we landed and I spoke to Rowena.

So, thanks so much to everyone who shared their opinions and experiences! Not something I want to do again any time soon, but it went better than expected for sure! :smile:

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SherriA
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Re: Flying with Puppy

Postby SherriA » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:36 pm

So glad it worked out well! Enjoy your puppy :)
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