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 Post subject: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:55 pm 
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Wears Pleather Undies
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My husband just learned that he was accepted for a two year Fulbright research grant in Israel, starting this September! We are very excited but nervous- we have a five year old husky-malamute pup (80 lbs). We're planning on taking him with us, but as he's a big boy he'll have to travel in the cargo section of the plane.

Has anyone here ever had to fly with their pet in cargo? Any suggestions, tips, personal anecdotes, etc would be great.


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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:42 pm 
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Really research your airline options and their live animal policies specifically. Some are significantly more considerate to animals than others. Ask lots of questions about the cargo section of the plane you'll be on. Ask what happens in case of significant wait times or issues once the plane has been boarded. Be 100% sure of what their requirements are, especially when it comes to what type of crate you will have to use.

If your dog isn't super comfortable in the crate right now, it's time to start heavy duty crate training. Get him used to travelling in a crate also.

Talk to your vet about sedation options. This is not something a lot of people like to think about, but I really recommend it, and you need to try out the drugs and their dosages ahead of time. The dogs can't be unconscious so a slight dosage issue could screw up your travel plans. But a medication to help them relax is a good idea when you can't be there to comfort them.

Please make sure you're not flying at the height of summer or in the depths of winter. It seems like if there's going to be a serious safety issue for cargo hold pets it will be because of temperature extremes. If you're stuck on the runway for hours, you don't want your dog in a cargo area with no temperature control.

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:22 am 
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Wears Pleather Undies
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Thanks! It seems that United flies the most pets yearly. Also it would be an overnight flight in late September so temperatures should not be too bad.

I keep telling myself that everything will be ok, but I am still so worried. :/


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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:13 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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I did it on United, and they were the best option we could find other than the $$$$$$ options. We flew out of Newark and there was a guy there at pet checkin with me bringing his bulldog to Tel Aviv, so I know they go to that market as well.
I was very torn about making my sweet dog go through it but ultimately she did fine and was very happy once it was all done.
We did it in January- super cold in Newark (they had a heated van the dog stayed in in the crate until the plane was on) and crazy hot when we arrived in Brazil (no AC van waiting for her there, local contractors, and the customs warehouse was about a million degrees, but they at least gave her ice water).
I felt like United did a really, really good job with her and I was pleased with my experience (at least before we got to Brazilian customs, which was your typical Brazilian bribery experience).
What I would pass on-
-united only allows one dog per flight, and I don't remember what that mechanism was to reserve it- i do remember it sort of being down to the wire, we just figured one of us would ask to be bumped and take the next flight if need be (we were moving to Brazil so it was all so overwhelming we just tried to take one thing at a time)
-my dog was not a happy crater, she had failed crate training as a puppy (pooped in her food bowl, hurt herself trying to gnaw through the bars, etc so she just never figured it out, poor bubbeh), but she was fine.
-don`t put anything in the crate with the dog, they will make you throw it away. no toys, i think even the cushion they made me take out, call and check. they also didn't let me send food. I fed her when we picked her up and she was ravenous, but she also hadn't barfed all over the place, so I guess that was okay.
-i brought extra cable zips to reinforce the door of the crate just in case, and did it when I checked her in
-the paperwork was a real runaround, not sure what israel requires but i suspect it is similar- USDA export form filled out by your vet, fedexed to the local USDA office for approval, then you run it to the consulate for stamping. Can only be done ten days before travel (or something). Definitely get on that now.
-talk to your vet about sedation, if you're interested, but talk to United first. I am pretty sure at that time they told me that if the dog looked drugged they would not let it on the plane. Perhaps things have changed. I know if I were going to ride in cargo I would want a xanax.
-the howling of the dog after I checked her in and walked away was one of the worst moments of my life. you might want a xanax too.

Ah, and I wanted to say that while I can swear that I have been on flights where I am sure I have heard a dog howling in cargo, this was definitely not the case, it seemed like she really just slept the whole time, and a few flight attendants when we deplaned asked who had the cute dog so they were definitely aware of the dog in cargo.

good luck and have fun, sounds like an adventure.

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:14 am 
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We emigrated from Australia to the UK and took our 8 year old pup with us. Our situation was a bit different as the UK rules to avoid quarantine meant that we had to pay a fortune to a company who specialised in animal transport - they collected her from our home in Australia the day before her flight (we were on different flights), were responsible for organising the crate, checking her in etc and we collected her from Animal Control at Heathrow airport 3 days later. We didn't sedate her and she didn't eat during the whole journey - the company told us that the hold is mostly dark and kept fairly cool, so the animals pretty much sleep the whole time and that she would be hungry but it wouldn't do her any harm. The most important thing is to ensure they have adequate access to water - there was a fly-on-the-wall show about Heathrow Animal Control and they said they commonly see animals suffering from dehydration if proper attention hasn't been paid to the supply of water. Don't quote me, but I think they said sedated dogs are more likely to be dehydrated as they just don't drink enough.

When we collected her she was absolutely fine, playing with the staff at Animal Control etc. She was a bit clingy with us for a couple of days but settled down very quickly. I will say that she was a completely chilled out dog who took whatever we threw at her without fuss - moving house 9 times, country 3 times, travelling in a camper van for 18 months etc. Our current two dogs are quite different, one very excitable and one very timid, so I don't know how they would cope with the same thing, not as well I suspect.

It's worth researching general information about animal transport - one of the things that comforted us was the sheer volume of animals that are flying around the world all the time (we had no idea) and the vast majority of them have no problems at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:36 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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ah, i wanted to add i just double checked with a friend taking his dogs back to Italy- there was some issue with Italy about having to wait a certain amount of time after the last rabies shot before they can be let into the country, and he was beside himself because he had let the shots lag and then had to delay his move. Definitely check what your local import requirements are beforehand.

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:01 pm 
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I flew with my cat from Seattle to Amsterdam and he was too big to fly in the cabin, so he had to go cargo. Everyone else has given really good advice. I flew KLM because 1) they were the only ones who flew non-stop, and 2) they had a good reputation for flying with animals. The only thing I could add was just to re-emphasize doing not only research into what the airline's requirements are, but also what Israel's requirements are. The Netherlands had very specific instructions about which vaccinations he had to have and how far in advance he had to have them. If I remember correctly (it was 20 years ago) I also had to provide copious amounts of paperwork upon bringing him into the EU: things like papers from the Department of Agriculture in addition to his pet passport and such from the vet. So yeah, research research research.

As for the actual flight, I was an absolute nervous wreck, but it all went fine. I ended up not sedating him (the vet advised against it), and he came out fine on the other end.

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:39 pm 
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lepelaar wrote:
I flew with my cat from Seattle to Amsterdam and he was too big to fly in the cabin, so he had to go cargo.


How big was your cat?!

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:12 pm 
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^^THE QUESTION WE ARE ALL ASKING!!!!
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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:25 pm 
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Haha! Yep, Oscar was a big boy. Not quite that ^^ big though.

I think the combined weight of cat and carrier for cabin travel couldn't be more than 6 kg, and Oscar was more than 6 kg on his own.

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:47 am 
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First off, hooray there will be another PPKer in Israel!!! What Uni is the fulbright grant with? Dare I hope for friends in Jerusalem?
Second, while I adopted my dog in Israel and he's never had to travel by plane, I have a lot of friends here in Israel who have done it -- most if not all have flown El Al, who are super good about it. (though it will cost you some $$, there's not really any getting around that) If you have all the correct vaccinations and vet checks done in time (some need to be at least 6 months old, it's a bit of process) there is no quarantine, which is nice.

http://www.nbn.org.il/aliyahpedia/aliya ... with-pets/ is a GREAT resource, you should DEFINITELY check it out. Good luck, and feel free to pm me with ANY questions about pets in Israel, living in Israel in general, making the transition, etc! I hope to meet you when you're here!
(Also, PS, Huskeys are super popular in Israel, and I just met a MASSIVE malamute on my street last night, so your dude will have lots of friends :))

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:35 am 
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I relocated with my dog Orion from Korea to Germany (12 hour flight!) a few years ago. First of all I want to reiterate what everyone else has said about pet immigration requirements - get those ducks in a row before anything else! For me the process had to be started more than 4 months before the move date (rabies boosters, then blood samples that had to be courriered to Brussels (!) for titration, then 90-day wait). My vet in Korea was specialized in pet relocation services, knew all the rules and deadlines inside and out, as well as had lots of advice on flying with animals, so that was great.

A few things I am glad I did:
- On move day, show up at the quarantine office as early as it opens, so that you can process your pet's paperwork without having to wait - waiting in a crate, surrounded by crowds, in an unfamiliar place, is the most stressful part of the whole ordeal for your animal.

- I found a patio garden next to the airport's offices and chilled / walked there with Orion after doing the quarantine paperwork and until check-in time. It's at least one more bathroom break for him before being crated for 12+ hours. Oh and don't forget to pack the leash in your carry-on.

- I chose not to sedate. There is a slight increase of in-flight deaths among sedated dogs, so my vet's recommendation was not to sedate. Also according to my vet the actual flying is not as stressful as crowds, being handled by quarantine officers and ground crew, all of which happens while you're still with your pet. I did lose sleep over that decision though...

- In addition to microchipping and extra clear labeling on the crate, I had a collar made with my new local phone number that O. wore in flight. Didn't happen to me, but when I did rescue work we had a greyhound who escaped her crate and bolted out onto the runway upon deboarding (!!!) Luckily she was caught and all was fine, but extra identification never hurts!

- I wish I had had backups for water supply. I had a water bottle drip installed on the outside of the crate, and when I got the crate back on arrival it had been broken. I don't know how long O. was without water. I heard the advice of freezing water in a tray, so that it releases slowly during travel time.

- There are actually no air travel related regulations on crates, so don't bother shelling out extra cash for "IATA approved" crates or whatever - they don't exist. Your crate needs to be hard, large enough that the dog can stand, lie down and turn around, but not so big that he can't brace against the walls in case of turbulence. Apart from that anything goes; your crate could even be homemade.

I was a total nervous wreck over the whole thing, but O. was just fine. Actually for him the taxi ride to the airport was probably worse than the rest of the journey. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:26 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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aelle wrote:
Actually for him the taxi ride to the airport was probably worse than the rest of the journey. Good luck!

haha. also filed under "things I would never like to do again": being on the sky train or whatever they call the stupid monorail in the airport with a dog that is absolutely hysterical and out of control and yowling like it is the end of the world... and with police in the train so I can't just let the dog out all sneaky-like.

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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:52 am 
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I think that is probably one of the benefits of having to hand over our dog to a professional company the day before she flew. The thought of putting her on a plane for a 24 hour flight was awful and I know she would have picked up on our worries and stresses, therefore probably making the whole thing more stressful for her. The professionals do this sort of thing all the time so there would be no stress to pick up on. Of course, the downside is that it cost us so much that we couldn't even afford to fly on the same airline as her and had to find the cheapest flight possible for ourselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:51 pm 
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What great advice, thank you all! I am feeling much more comfortable about the situation. Israel is fairly flexible about dogs entering the country as long as a they are healthy and up-to-date with their shots, so we should be ok.

JB6, we will be in Herzilya/Tel Aviv but I will pm you when we get settled! I'm so excited to be able to explore the county :)


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 Post subject: Re: Pups on a Plane
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:45 am 
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Hooray! So exciting! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions/I can be at all helpful as you're getting ready to come over!

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