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 Post subject: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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In a few months I'll be taking a little jaunt out of town with a cute guy and I'd like to bring my cute dog. I've never had a small dog before and have thus never taken a plane with a dog and have no idea what to expect/prepare for.

My dog is 10 lbs and very mellow- she commutes with me daily in a soft carrier bag on BART, which involves a noisy, pressurized, underwater tunnel, and she is usually looking around calmly or zonked out on her back. The plane trip is about 2 hrs on Alaska Air.

So, any old pros out there who can tell me what to expect? I'm talking like I don't even know how people go through security with companion animals.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:29 pm 
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Alaska was really nice to me when I traveled with my cat! You have to reserve a space for the animal on the flight, there's a cost each way (I think mine was $100?) and there's a cap on number of animals per flight. You need a vet certificate (I think mine was required to be inside of 10 days) of health. When I went through security, I had to take my cat out of her carrier, walk her through, and put the carrier through the machine. The carrier had to fit under the seat in front of me. Alaska put me next to an empty seat so my cat had just a bit more space.


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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OK, so even if you have to reserve space for your animal, you're not actually buying them another seat, right? I know that's a durrrrh question, but...

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:46 pm 
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No, you pay a fee for them breathing the air in the cabin (effectively) but you don't have to buy another seat!


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:54 pm 
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How long is the trip and how long are you going for?

I think traveling with pets really depends on whether they can travel in cabin with you and on your pet and their temperaments. My friend had to check her spitz from Paris to CT and they connected through JFK, where someone forgot to load her dog on the connecting flight. Nothing bad happened to that dog, but it was nerve-wracking!

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Double check that your carrier will completely fit under an airplane seat. I was once on a flight where the lady next to me had her small dog in a carrier than mostly fit under the seat in front of her, but the flight attendants said that wasn't good enough and kicked her off the flight. I felt so bad for her!


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:51 pm 
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Make sure you talk to the airline directly about what their requirements are. If you have every piece of paperwork required in line, you shouldn't have to worry too much or have too much hassle. If the flight was international, it might be a different story. Some airlines will only allow certain carriers, also.

I don't think I could ever fly with my pets unless I absolutely and completely had to. I've heard too many horror stories from other people. But because yours will be in the cabin with you, that makes it a bit better. I don't know how useful the emergency masks would be for her in case of emergency, though

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:54 pm 
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Just had to say that I thought the thread title was "Talk to me about frying a small frog". Carry on!

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:56 pm 
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I've flown with my cat a few times (I was moving). Not only did the carrier have to fit under the seat in front of you, but it had to be a soft carrier as well. The airline had exact dimensions on their website.

I hated flying with him mostly because he was really skittish and holding him in my arms going through security while they scanned the carrier was terrifying. I was so frightened he would run away! I had a harness on him and basically held on for dear life. But it sounds like your dog is waaaaay more mellow.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:59 pm 
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Lobsterrific, what airline did you fly? I'm going to be bringing my two cats up to Canada at xmas. I'm going to do my best to sedate the hell out of them, and I've checked with the airline for requirements and stuff, but I am worried it's going to be hellish.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Jordanpattern, double-check with your vet for the sedation. It's associated with an elevated risk of suffocation and in-flight death (I am unsure about cats, but this is especially true for short-nosed dogs like pugs).

When I flew Orion from Korea, after a lot of research and with a lot of guilt (he is very nervous and very prone to transportation sickness), I didn't end up sedating him. I wish I had sedated myself, though, I was so scared for him.

The vet I worked with (specialized in overseas pet transportation) told me that the most uncomfortable part for the animals is not the flight itself, but everything before: being handled by quarantine officers, being in a foreign place with lots of noise and strangers, etc. If your pets are typically nervous, and your vet can somehow calculate a dose and timing that would soothe them for the flight preparation, but be out of their system by take-off, that might be a good compromise.

From both my direct experience and the rescue work I did in Korea, the advice I can give is 1. only fly direct routes (see Tofulish's story) and 2. have your pet (not just their crate) very well identified, for example with both a microchip and an engraved collar. We had a rescue greyhound somehow wriggle out of his crate during deboarding and dash off on the LAX runway D: (they had to ground some flights, but luckily they caught him).


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:39 pm 
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Thanks, aelle. My cats are flying in the cabin (I had to buy an extra seat and everything), so at the very least, I'll be with them. I am planning to confer with the vet about sedation, so I hope they'll be able to give me something that will help. I'm not too worried about one cat, who is outgoing and generally pretty chill. I'm very worried about the other cat, who is insane and hasn't come down from the attic/loft for over a year since the last time I took her to the vet.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:04 am 
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Also, for those of you flying with cats, be sure to invest in a sturdy carrier. My cat, who is super easy-going, managed to chew through his soft carrier during the flight. I wasn't there - my mom was taking him somewhere for me - but you can imagine the shock when she looked down and he was out of his carrier, sitting at her feet! Luckily, she and another passenger were able to wrangle him back in and the airline gave her some packing tape to use to hold the carrier together for the rest of the trip. Disaster was averted, but if he'd been more skittish I can't imagine how bad it would've been! The nice soft-sided carriers are much more expensive, but definitely worth it!


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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:52 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
Lobsterrific, what airline did you fly? I'm going to be bringing my two cats up to Canada at xmas. I'm going to do my best to sedate the hell out of them, and I've checked with the airline for requirements and stuff, but I am worried it's going to be hellish.


One time I flew Air Canada and then another time I flew American Airlines. My experience was pretty much the same with the two airlines. You pay the fee and put them under your seat.

Honestly taking him out of his carrier in security was terrifying. You hear all of these horror stories about kitties escaping and being lost in airports. But he was pretty high-strung and skittish at the best of times, and he wasn't sedated.

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Lime and a Coconut
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I will never, ever fly a dog in the luggage compartment. The only reason I would ever travel with my current dog is because she is small enough to bring into the cabin and mellow enough (I think) to handle a flight. But yeah, I am waaaay too scared about what goes on when they're out of your sight, and I've heard too many horror stories.

I decided against taking her on this trip simply because I can't justify the extra $200 just to have her companionship for a few days, but I may consider bringing her up to Portland during Vida Vegan Con, so this is good information to keep in mind! Thanks, errrbody!

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 Post subject: Re: Talk to me about flying with a small dog
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:56 am 
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what's the weight limit for small dogs? does it include the carrier?

anyone have a carrier they recommend for a small dog?

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