Travelling with a dog?

I'm thinking of traveling down to Boston as early as September. This would mean one stop flight (they don't have any direct flights from here) and I would try to get him on the plane under the seat. Although I've looked at the requirements for a kennel under the seat which is 40 cm x 44 cm x 21.5 cm
(16 in. L x 17.5 in. W x 8.5 in. H) The pet and the kennel together have to weigh under 10 kg or 22 lb. I measured Basil… not sure how accurate though as he kept biting the measuring tape but I measured 10.5" height and 11.5" in length. Then I looked at soft sided kennels (have to be soft) and NONE of them fit these measurements. I found one that has 12 inch height but it says it can be adjusted... the airline says the dog has to be able to stand up and turn around in the kennel and yet they make these restrictions. I mean if my puppy who wears a cat harness can't meet these requirements... what dog can? Is traveling with a dog like this humane? I would love to bring him with me as I plan to stay at least 2 weeks and I don't feel comfortable leaving him with anyone... what should I do? Has anyone ever brought their animals on a flight? Should it only be done if you're moving and you have to bring them?

Here's the carrier I found that Basil could possibly fit in:

http://www.amazon.com/SturdiBag-Pet-Carrier-Large-Black/dp/B002N65VPI/ref=sr_1_11?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1310944326&sr=1-11

Again, this carrier is over the size that they allow for… although I'm hoping they won't notice an inch here and there...

I'm also really not comfortable having him in the cargo area by himself... I think that would break my heart but if anyone has a positive experience with this please let me know.

Keep in mind that the airline when you check in has the last say…. and while you might think and the dog might be very comfortable in a sherpa, the airline can make a spot decision to not let that carrier on board. I know of at least 3 people that has happened with, 2 Basenjis and one Border Terrier.

First Basenji's

I had a long trip with one of my dogs shipped in cargo. The airlines transport pets in a temperature and pressure-controlled cargo area, so the main stress he would be subject to is noise, confinement, and the general physiological weirdness of the flight itself. If Basil isn't used to crates, make sure he is accustomed to them NOW if you are planning on going this route. It'll make things a lot easier for all involved.

I did find it helpful to check in with flight attendants at each transfer point. I wanted to confirm that they knew where my dog was, so I could be assured that he was transferring with us. I've heard horror stories of pets that got misrouted – and this has certainly happened to me with luggage -- so I insisted on making sure, and they were usually sympathetic to my concerns.

That said, I think it's best to talk to individual airline reps on the phone if you want to get a feel for their how they do things, because it can vary by airline. Traveling during hot months can also be a problem. Some airlines have total embargoes on pets during summer months through September, and some will only ship pets contingent on the weather that day. So if it's more than 65 or 75 degrees that day, they might not let you on board at all because Basil could overheat while sitting on the tarmac waiting to get loaded into the plane.

Traveling with pets can be a bit stressful. I wish it were easier. Is a road trip out of the question?

@tanza:

Keep in mind that the airline when you check in has the last say…. and while you might think and the dog might be very comfortable in a sherpa, the airline can make a spot decision to not let that carrier on board. I know of at least 3 people that has happened with, 2 Basenjis and one Border Terrier.

Do you know why they weren't allowed on? I literally cannot find a carrier anywhere that fits their required measurements.

@curlytails:

I had a long trip with one of my dogs shipped in cargo. The airlines transport pets in a temperature and pressure-controlled cargo area, so the main stress he would be subject to is noise, confinement, and the general physiological weirdness of the flight itself. If Basil isn't used to crates, make sure he is accustomed to them NOW if you are planning on going this route. It'll make things a lot easier for all involved.

I did find it helpful to check in with flight attendants at each transfer point. I wanted to confirm that they knew where my dog was, so I could be assured that he was transferring with us. I've heard horror stories of pets that got misrouted – and this has certainly happened to me with luggage -- so I insisted on making sure, and they were usually sympathetic to my concerns.

That said, I think it's best to talk to individual airline reps on the phone if you want to get a feel for their how they do things, because it can vary by airline. Traveling during hot months can also be a problem. Some airlines have total embargoes on pets during summer months through September, and some will only ship pets contingent on the weather that day. So if it's more than 65 or 75 degrees that day, they might not let you on board at all because Basil could overheat while sitting on the tarmac waiting to get loaded into the plane.

Traveling with pets can be a bit stressful. I wish it were easier. Is a road trip out of the question?

Well I'm glad you had an okay experience with it. He is being kennel trained so he sleeps in there at night and has access to it during the day while I'm gone. He usually doesn't whine when put in there but the crate that I use for the car he whines and "screams" for a few minutes but then calms down… if he doesn't like the car I can't imagine him in a plane without being able to see a familiar face. How do you know that they're gentle with the kennels and what happens if he has to go pee or poo? It seems like they have these requirements to deter you from traveling with a pet. I guess I'll have to make sure we have time between flights for a bathroom break. I could technically drive there but I think it's 31 hours drive without any stops... so it's quite impractical.

Note: The airlines will never take them out to pee/poop…. and you don't want them to... and while I have never done anything other the direct flights, not sure you would be able to access to walk them.... Others might have other experiences and will chime in

And since I have only shipped a bitch twice... I was so stressed out, I will not do it again if at all possible to avoid

First Basenji's

Yup. They'll keep your pet crated the whole time, so you want to do what you can to make that space comfortable. We were advised not to give sedatives, as that could cause a bad reaction with the flight, and no food several hours before the flight so he would have nothing to poop or vomit. Water was offered at the transfer, though they said he didn't drink (the airline offered it). I've also seen carriers with bottles of water strapped to the side like for gerbils. But if the flight is just a few hours long, I don't think it's necessary as it's liable to make more of a mess.

Amazingly, Bowdu made it 14 hours without soiling his crate (this was from Taipei to Vancouver). We had an unplanned delay so we spent a night there and gave him a chance to stretch his legs. Then we went Vancouver to Toronto, then Toronto to Detroit. We were not allowed to walk him during the layover.

Physically, he was just fine, though psychologically, he was a bit anxious for a bit after that.

Thank you for your experiences and opinions… I'll have to think about it a lot.

I've traveled twice with my basenji who is 18 pounds. She fit into the Sherba carrier… the one that comes with a list of carriers that have pre-approved this soft-sided crate, and Sherba offers a guarantee that if the carrier box is rejected at check in, you get a refund.

If my little girl had tried to stand up and stretch, she would not have fit into the carrier. But since she (hesitantly) sat down in it, we zipped her in and went through check in.
However, a word of caution: when you go through the TSA security, they require you to remove your basenji from the crate, so as long as the TSA agent is cooperative with you, it will be easy to put him back into the Sherba. 🙂

She did roo a little bit during take off, but once we were inflight, she settled in just fine.

I'm new to this board, but thought I would add to this thread. I have a B mix, and he is 17 pounds. He has been on 4 flights with me- 2 round trips from CA to FL. Some were direct, some we had layovers.
I never once had a problem with the airline. I was freaking out, too, about how to find a carrier that fit the requirements. I ended up getting one that was a little bigger at Petco. My dog would have been so squished if I had gotten one that fit the exact measurements.
And you do have to take them out of the carrier to go through security, but as long as you don't carry a lot of other stuff too, it should be manageable. I actually just kept my dog out of the carrier, in my arms, until we had to board for the flight. And no one said anything. And his vet prescribed a little sedative, so he slept the whole flight.
As for layovers, and poo and pee- when we had a layover, I took him into the handicap bathroom and put a wee wee pad down on the floor so he could go. I also put a wee wee pad in the carrier, in case he had to go during the flight. It was actually much easier than I had anticipated. I have friends who have brought dogs on flights too, and no of us had an issues with the airlines being strict about kennel sizes etc. I've flown Delta, Virgin America, and Southwest with my dog. I hope this helps! Sorry it's such a long post.

Edited to add: Here is the carrier my dog uses:
http://reviews.petco.com/3554/110831/dog-whisperer-dog-whisperer-brown-blue-soft-side-dog-carrier-reviews/reviews.htm
While I'm not a fan of Cesar, his line of carriers were the perfect size. Not too much over the size the airlines require, yet more room and they are durable.

If you ship him underneath in cargo, don't forget there are temperature restrictions. Where would you transfer planes at? This summer has been hot in many cities! Please check the requirements for the airline you will be traveling on. There is usually a limit to the number of dogs allowed on board and in cargo. You will need to make a reservation for him at the time you make your own. There may be additional requirements since you are coming from Canada, you will need to check with the USDA, the CDC and the State of Massachusetts. You can find the requirements on the USDA website and it has links to each state.

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/pet_travel/pet_travel.shtml

You need to make sure the carrier will fit under the seat so if the carrier you are considering is much larger than the large size Sherpa brand bag I doubt it will fit under the seat.

I used to travel with Arnie onboard about 10 years ago before 9/11. I trained him to get in and out of the Sherpa bag and to stay in for short periods of time. He almost always laid down in it. He never made noise even when we were in first class and they served food! Most people did not even know I had a dog. I also made sure I was comfortable carrying him in the bag. I figured if the airline employees thought I was struggling with him then he was too heavy and he would not be let on the plane. He was an older pup but weighed about 18-20 lbs.

Jennifer

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