International travelling questions

  • Hi everyone,
    I need some advice and suggestions about air traveling with my Basenji. Dayna and I will be flying to Turkey in October. I live in Columbus, so I need to first fly to Chicago, then Istanbul, then Ankara. There are going to be three flights and two connections. Dayna weighs 24 pounds, so I can not take her with me to the cabin, she has to travel as a checked baggage which scares me a lot. I don't know who handles the animals in airports, and how that works. I called American Airlines today, but all they told me was that the animals are handled by the luggage carriers. Dayna has an approved kennel, water and food cups that can be attached to the kennel, and also signs says "live animal" which I will put on the kennel. Our vet is preparing the health certificate, and her shots are up to date.

    Please share if you have any experience, or advice to make this travel less stressful for Dayna and me. What precautions I should take.
    Thanks in advance

  • Since you are taking a very long international flight I would suggest getting some rescure remedy and giving her some. Also, freeze water in her crate cup and put it in to crate right before leaving for the airport. I don't usually feed my guys when flying internatioanlly but because your flight will be so long I'd put food in there for her also.

    Next make sure that your vet is USDA certified. Here is some info if he/she is not

    Turkey does not quarantine healthy pets with proper documents.
    Your Veterinarian should complete a veterinary certificate stating that the pet is healthy, free of parasites, and free of diseases communicable to humans. This certificate should be signed by the veterinarian not more than 15 days prior to travel.

    Your pet must have a rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to travel but not more than 12 months prior to entering Turkey.

    The veterinarian should sign this form not more than 15 days prior to the travel date.

    If above documents are given by a accredited veterinarian OR if they are approved by U.S. Department of Agriculture accepted by Turkish authorities, it is not necessary that the documents be legalized by the Turkish Embassy's Consular Section or a Turkish Consulate General - SEE NEXT PARAGRAPH.

    If your veterinarian is NOT a licenses USDA veternarian then the final step is to send the veterinary certificate along with the rabies vaccinatin certificate to the Turkish Consulate with a payment of $3.00

    The Turkish Consulate will then endorse the certificate so that you can enter Turkey

    Each traveler can bring one bird and one dog into the Country

    Turkey does not require that your pet be microchipped.

    Turkey requires a veterinary certificate.

    American Airlines does take good care of your pets, but yes they are handled by baggage handlers. And the good thing is pets are the last to go on the plane and first to come off, and of course placed in a climate control pressurized area.

    As for her kennel, (I'm only noticed this on newer models) after her kennel has been inspected at the airport (it's right before they take them away) zip tie her door closed for added security. If her kennel doesn't not have the extra holes to do this, you can easily add them just by drilling holes. Best to do two at the top and two at the bottom. Oh, yes one more thing, for international travel her kennel must be vented on all 4 sides. It is becoming more standard for kennels to be four way vented but not always.

    I would also put a non destructable toy in there with her. Make sure she is wearing a collar with identifaction tags, if possible get something made with contact info you may have in Turkey. You can tape a leash to the top of the crate but I prefer not to because it may become lost. Add a sign on the crate stateing something along the lines of "please don't open my crate, I can run very fast." Sometimes they require food to be taped to the top of the crate and this is fine with the sign the food can be poured into the bowl with the door still closed.

    And please feel free to ask anymore questions you may have I have flown many times with my dogs, and never a problem.

  • Thank you very much for the tips. I checked her kennel again and it does not have ventilation holes at the back. I need to check with the airlines and buy a new one maybe.

    I was planning to use the zip ties but I was not sure about what they would say at the airport. So I guess I can use them, that is good to know.

    Is there anyway to make sure your dog in in the plane. Some web sites are suggesting to ask to watch your dog when she is put on and off the plane. Is that possible?

    Dayna's rabie shots was given on May 2006, so it was more than 12 months, but it is not due until 2009. She just got another shots, one of those combined ones, and she had a very bad reaction to it. So, I dont' want to put her through this again. I need to check on that.

    Thanks again, for sharing your experiences. You only hear the bad experiences, and it makes you nervous. I guess people travel with their pets all the time and people at the airports know what they are doing.

  • As for her shots, because of flying regulations it does need to be every 12 months. I am sorry that she had a reaction to the combined shot that does happen at times. I would say since the rabies shot is not a comined shot a week or two after the combined should not hurt her. To make you more comfortable you can wait about 20 mintues at the vet afterward. Most states only require the 3 yr shot. But because her Rabies shot was about 18months ago it wouldn't harm her to get it again.

    As for making sure they are one the plane, I honsetly can't remember if American does this, I believe they do, but you will fill out a tag that has your name and seat number. They attach the tag to your dogs crate and then when it is loaded on the plane they tear off the bottom part and give it to a stewardess to bring to you. You can also ask the stewardess if you have not gotten it when they are closing the doors. As for watching to see them get off the plane, I don't know if that is possible, but you can ask the desk at the gate when you change planes to check.

    I hate to say it but I think you may need aother crate. Actually I would highly suggest it. Also, like I said before the new crates have the holes aleady in place to zip tie the door closed. Here is the crate that I speak of, unless you know where they are you can't see the whole that are pre amde to zip the door closed.

    Also, I just remembered something you might want to check on, sometimes they require that the animal is able to stand fully erect and not even thier ears can touch. Now I have only heard of this for European Countries, not sure about Turkey. I would suggest getting the intermidate crate. It is the one I post the link to, you can find this one at PetSmart, just check the dimensions. (They don't have them on the website, but I know they have them in the stores, thats where I got mine).

    The FAA has very strict rules for control of animals by the airport employees to prevent the horror stories of the past.

  • WBL,
    thank you very much for your suggestions. Dayna's shots are complete now including rabies. this time the vet gave her a benadril and some cortizon mix before the shot so she did not have any reaction. in this case, the rabies shot was not made 30 days prior to the travel date, I hope that does not create any problems.

    I got her health certiicate and I had it endorsed by the office of USDA. and I purchased a new kennel for her that has the ventilation holes on all four sides. it is the intermediate size that you suggested I think. I;ve got it from a locak pet shop. She is able to lay down and strech her feet in it. I think this will be much better for her with the extra space. She is not very fond of crates actually but she seems to like this one.

    I will take her back from AA at Chicago airport and check her in again at Turkish Airlines. I like this better because I will be able to see her and make sure she in the plane.

    I will post after our travel about our experience.
    thank you again
    pelin & dayna

  • Glad to hear everything is in order. I don't think her shot will cause a problem because she was already up to date prior and you already got her health certificate validated, I believe if there was a problem it would happened there.

    Please let us know how the trip goes and don't forget the pictures.


  • A close friend of mine moved to Belgium and took his dog along. His crate wasn't vented on the back, so they simply drilled 3/4" holes in it at the airport. The airline had the drill and everything. I'm not sure buying a new crate was necessary, but what's done is done.

    While the crates are required to be vented on all four sides, the venting requirements aren't terribly stringent.

    Obviously, if you drill holes in your crate to avert having to purchase a new one, make sure the holes aren't big enough for your B to get his nose through. I'm sure if there's a chance for a B to get a bite opportunity, the hole will be MUCH larger at the tail end of your trip. 😉

    It's too bad that the US isn't more like Europe in their pet polices. The guy I referenced in the first paragraph still lives in Belgium and he can take his dog to the mall with him when he goes shopping… Dogs are also allowed on the subway, buses and other public transportation. France is really dog friendly also. THAT would be cool. 🙂

  • Dayna-how long will you be away 🙂 how nice that you can take your dogs with you. I would be all stressed out!

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