Is Taking Your Pet On A Plane Worth The Risks?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 18, 2015 1:30 AM GMT
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-taking-your-pet-on-an-airplane-worth-the-risk-6241533/?no-ist
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    Aug 18, 2015 2:33 AM GMT
    In 2012 I flew with my dog from FLL to PHX. I've had many animals in my life (dogs, cats, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, etc) and have NEVER seen such a wild look of terror in an animal's face after the flight. She wouldn't even look at the kennel, and if I sat it in the living room she would run into another room. In fact she was never the same, and showed many signs of PTSD.

    I gave her up to a family that doesn't travel when I left AZ, because I travel a few times a year and didn't want to continue putting her through that inhumane treatment.
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    Aug 18, 2015 4:09 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidGod, that's just terrible. I know of a few people who have flown with their pets but none of them had any problems. But, apparently, this is a huge problem for many others.

    Thanks for providing this information.
    I consider myself one of the lucky ones who had a pet that could be salvaged after the flight.
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    Aug 18, 2015 5:13 AM GMT
    If you want to own a dog , and you often travel by air , get a dog not heavier of 12 pds , and you can take him in the airplane cabin .
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    Aug 18, 2015 5:32 AM GMT
    neffa saidIf you want to own a dog , and you often travel by air , get a dog not heavier of 12 pds , and you can take him in the airplane cabin .
    And this is exactly why I don't have a dog. As much as I love animals, I can't stand to be around yappy little dogs for more than a few hours at a time.
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    Aug 18, 2015 5:00 PM GMT
    Yeah, unless it's a long-term travel situation or a purse pooch, leave your dog with a sitter or a reputable kennel. Sooooo much more humane for him.
  • equus77

    Posts: 55

    Aug 18, 2015 11:58 PM GMT
    I just moved my dog from the US to the Dominican Republic in March. As stressful as it was for me, I can only imagine how she felt.

    To make matters worse, when I went to the baggage claim to pick her up, the cage was sitting there but she wasn't inside. Apparently the door popped open and she escaped in the baggage sorting area. After a couple of tense minutes that involved some yelling on my part, the workers managed to catch her and get her back in the cage.

    I'd have to think about it for a long time before I'd consider doing that again.
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    Aug 19, 2015 12:10 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidYeah, unless it's a long-term travel situation or a purse pooch, leave your dog with a sitter or a reputable kennel. Sooooo much more humane for him.



    Kennels aren't much better actually. The dog is in a strange environment and assumes you're gone forever. I've never left any of my dogs in a kennel. I always find a reputable dog sitter/walking service. This way the dog stays in it's familiar home and isn't stressed nearly as much. The service I use sends me daily text updates and photos of my dog on her walks several times a day which is very reassuring when you're away. This way I know for a fact she's going out and I'm getting the service I'm paying for.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Aug 19, 2015 12:17 AM GMT
    Three-year-old German Shepherd dog, 18-month-old golden retriever: Bogota, Colombia to Manila, Philippines.

    It took me 4 weeks to research acceptable routes (nightmare via London, complicated bank payments even for transfer in Hong Kong, 45-day-in-advance notice via Tokyo (time I didn't have)..."possible" via London).

    United so-called "PetSafe" to the rescue. We get to airport in Bogotá.. they'll board me, but not my dogs, as they decide one cage is ONE-HALF-INCH too low. And if they won't board both dogs (one airway bill), they won't board either.

    I board (I have to get to work here). Friends rescue dogs in Bogotá; re-engineer cage; cargo handler re-routes dogs: Bogota to Houston (overnight at their "excellent" facility, apparently); Houston to Honolulu (overnight again, with American Humane Society at airport, the lady even sent me photos of the dogs playing, such a brilliant, wonderful woman!); Honolulu to Guam (overnight again; they were washed, groomed, fed, etc).

    They land in Manila at 8pm. I finally get them out of the airport at 2am, after the usual corrupt rigamarole and $800 cash.

    Separation time from dogs: 10 days
    Travel time for dogs from takeoff to landing: 116 hours
    Total cost: $6,200

    I would take the bar exam over 100 times, if I could avoid the stress this caused me and my boys.

  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Aug 19, 2015 12:19 AM GMT
    Radd said
    mickeytopogigio saidYeah, unless it's a long-term travel situation or a purse pooch, leave your dog with a sitter or a reputable kennel. Sooooo much more humane for him.



    Kennels aren't much better actually. The dog is in a strange environment and assumes you're gone forever. I've never left any of my dogs in a kennel. I always find a reputable dog sitter/walking service. This way the dog stays in it's familiar home and isn't stressed nearly as much. The service I use sends me text updates photos of my dog on her walks several times a day which is very reassuring when you're away. This way I know for a fact she's going out and I'm getting the service I'm paying for.

    This is what I would want for my dog. It would be less traumatic for both of us.
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    Aug 19, 2015 2:47 AM GMT
    Radd saidhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-taking-your-pet-on-an-airplane-worth-the-risk-6241533/?no-ist


    I only will if the animal can be in the passenger cabin.
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    Aug 19, 2015 7:21 AM GMT
    Deja vu, feels like I've seen this an old thread like this one on RJ before! icon_lol.gif

    Not saying it's a bad thing to repost it, in fact pet awareness is important.

    For those who are lazy to read the whole article:

    Suggestions to Keep Your Pet Safe When Flying

    Visit your veterinarian to be sure your pet is fit to fly.
    Don’t fly your pet during the hot summer months.

    Arrange for direct flights. Transfers increase the chances of delays, which can cause stress to animals contained in the cargo hold, and other mishaps, like a pet being sent to the wrong destination.

    If possible (it depends on the animal’s size), purchase your pet a space in the passenger cabin.

    If you must check your pet into the baggage hold, remind airline staff and baggage handlers that there is a live animal on board to ensure gentle handling. Also ask baggage handlers during your check-in that your pet’s cage be placed in a well-ventilated space, and be sure your pet has water.

    Don’t fly snub-nosed cats or dogs. These animals die on airlines, often of respiratory problems, more frequently than other breeds.

    Leave your pet at home if you will be returning soon, and look forward to a happy reunion of wagging tails and hearty purrs.
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    Aug 19, 2015 7:26 AM GMT
    desertmuscl said
    Radd saidhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-taking-your-pet-on-an-airplane-worth-the-risk-6241533/?no-ist


    I only will if the animal can be in the passenger cabin.


    Yeah they couldn't and it's sad that they are treated as luggage. I've heard cages are being toss around like your average luggage.

    I wonder if there's a better traveling option with our pets?
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Aug 19, 2015 8:14 AM GMT
    More tips: (I've done this quite a bit)

    IF you can fly the dog as checked baggage, DO so; it's by far the cheapest and best way to send the dog with you on the same plane (this will usually only work with direct, nonstop flights);

    If the dog(s) has to fly as manifested cargo (which some airlines insist on), do NOT do it yourself; contract a reputable pet cargo handler to do it all;

    Do not feed the dog for 24 hours before flying;

    On no account tranquilize the dog; (they should be alert; if the throw up, tranquilized, they can choke);

    As mentioned above, make sure the CAPTAIN of the airliner knows the dog is on board (if you're on the same plane). Request to speak to him, and ask him which hold the dog is in. I once had a Mexican airline captain tell me, "He's in the hold right beneath the cockpit, I'll turn the temperature in there up just a bit, so he falls asleep...." Great relief. Dogs die in the hold in hot weather because (amazingly) the flight crew does not know they have a dog onboard;

    Most of this is for domestic. If you have to travel internationally, you will (almost literally) need a lawyer to guide you through the various quarantine, health certificate, and cost regimens.

    I've done an informal survey the last couple of years with colleagues: Biggest nightmare in moving from Post A to Post B: Not the kids' new schools, not the new house, not the language, not the culture. The answer is universally, "Flying the DOGS."

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    Aug 19, 2015 11:24 AM GMT
    My 14-pound Westie fits comfortably under the seat and so she's a frequent flyer. She knows the routine, behaves well while sitting in the departure lounge, and curls up (a little reluctantly at first) in her Sherpa carrier when it's time to board. During the flight she sleeps quietly. She also knows the location of the doggie rest areas in our usual airports and does her business promptly when we arrive.

    Now if only she got frequent flyer miles it would be perfect.
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    Aug 19, 2015 2:53 PM GMT
    HottJoe said
    Radd said
    mickeytopogigio saidYeah, unless it's a long-term travel situation or a purse pooch, leave your dog with a sitter or a reputable kennel. Sooooo much more humane for him.



    Kennels aren't much better actually. The dog is in a strange environment and assumes you're gone forever. I've never left any of my dogs in a kennel. I always find a reputable dog sitter/walking service. This way the dog stays in it's familiar home and isn't stressed nearly as much. The service I use sends me text updates photos of my dog on her walks several times a day which is very reassuring when you're away. This way I know for a fact she's going out and I'm getting the service I'm paying for.

    This is what I would want for my dog. It would be less traumatic for both of us.

    Don't forget about kennel cough.
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    Aug 19, 2015 3:00 PM GMT
    I adopted my dogs from Arizona. The first, the white male show dog put up for adoption because he wasn't beautiful enough, arrived in his crate shivering with fear and covered in his own vomit and, perhaps relatedly, afterwards was afraid of cars and being driven.

    Several months later I decided he needed a companion so I took a chance and had my black female flown in. When I peered into her crate at Newark Airport she was the visual definition of "non-plussed," nonchalantly looking at me with a "Yes, can I help you?" expression. The Queen.

    Motion sickness and fear were not in her vocabulary. In fact, the first time she leapt into the car the battle for the front seat began - not to be outdone, my white dog's now the first one in the car and loves being driven to the point he'll jump in the open door of any vehicle. Onward, Jeeves.

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    I'm totally jealous of people toting their alleged "therapy dogs" in their little carriers through Security and onto the plane. I'd like the option of buying three seats so the dogs remain in my row in the cabin with me. I still can't believe there are no pet-friendly commercial flights offering this option. Scratch that - I've been to dog runs. It'd be like the finale episode of "Seinfeld."
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4435

    Aug 19, 2015 4:48 PM GMT
    The only way I'd fly a dog is if it was absolutely necessary. Never just for my pleasure. And only non-stop. If it means I have to drive five hours to get to an airport that can do a non-stop to the destination (or vice versa), then I do it. And I arrive hours early to pick up. I find dog lovers everywhere so I make a big deal about it in the airport and make sure everyone knows there's a dog on board. Most will stop and make sure everything is OK. I hear Alaska Air has a section of baggage that is pressurized, lit, and heated and cooled. And has a good reputation for dogs.

    At home, I travel a lot so I have a house-sitter move in. Always someone who knows big dogs and is a dog lover. Usually a friend's kid but old enough to be responsible and a driver with car. If absolutely necessary, I'll drive over to New Orleans and leave them with friends who have dogs, dog door, etc. Mini-vaca for the dogs!
  • biYguy

    Posts: 46

    Aug 19, 2015 6:41 PM GMT
    Before I got my dog, I sought the advice of both the breeder and my vet about travelling by air with my dog. Both assured me that this would normally not be a problem. In fact, the breeder participates in dog shows both in the US and Canada and travels frequently by air with her dogs in the baggage compartment. She said that she has never had a problem.

    I live part of the year in Ontario and part of the year in British Columbia. For the past 5 years, I have been flying back and forth with my dog in a kennel in the baggage compartment. I choose to the fly WestJet because all their planes have climate controlled baggage compartments. Some other airlines do not.

    WestJet does seem to take pets in the baggage compartment seriously. As a standard practice, when I board the flight, before takeoff, a member of the cabin crew gives me a slip of paper telling me that my dog has successfully been loaded. Although I try to take direct flights, when this is not possible and I have to connect to another flight, I get another slip of paper telling me that my dog has been successfully transferred to the connecting flight.

    After reading other accounts on this posting, I count myself lucky that my dog has not had any problems with air travel.





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    Aug 19, 2015 7:48 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    I've done an informal survey the last couple of years with colleagues: Biggest nightmare in moving from Post A to Post B: Not the kids' new schools, not the new house, not the language, not the culture. The answer is universally, "Flying the DOGS."

    I believe that if you don't own your home you shouldn't have a dog, particularly renters. Too many times I've heard renters trying to find a new home for their dog because they found a place that they really like but it doesn't allow pets.

    If you board your dog in a kennel make sure you use a kennel that was referred to you by several friends. A few years ago someone was asking me about why their dog's personality was so different after they picked it up when they got back from their vacation; it was growling and had other problems. And way back when I was a kid I worked at a vet who boarded dogs; I won't even go into what happened but it was not pretty.
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    Aug 19, 2015 10:00 PM GMT
    biYguy saidBefore I got my dog, I sought the advice of both the breeder and my vet about travelling by air with my dog. Both assured me that this would normally not be a problem. In fact, the breeder participates in dog shows both in the US and Canada and travels frequently by air with her dogs in the baggage compartment. She said that she has never had a problem.


    The last person's advice I would ask on animal welfare would be a breeder. If they cared anything about animals they wouldn't be breeding dogs when millions of dogs are being killed due to overpopulation.