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Old 10-07-2013, 05:02 PM
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Kalyxa Kalyxa is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 482
Default Flying with dogs in cargo

Who has experience with it?

I'm going home (Baja) for a few weeks in December and I'm bringing Lola with me. She's too big to be in the cabin, (even though the Alaska rep didn't believe me. 20 lbs dog under the seat? No problem!) so she'll be in cargo. I get worried thinking about it even now, 2 months out, so I know I'll be even more stressed as it gets closer.

It's a 6 hour flight with one layover, both ways. Alaska Airlines all the way through. I don't have a crate yet. I've been browsing craigslist but if that doesn't work out in the next couple of weeks I'll just walk to Petco and get one. I want her to have time to get comfortable with it. I'll probably take her there anyway just to get a feel for the measurements.

On my to-do list is:
1. get a crate
2. get a clean bill of health
3. make a longer list

I know the protocol for crossing the border, so I'm not concerned about that. But I feel like there are a whole bunch of unknowns that I'm not thinking of and ought to be. Please share your experiences/advise?
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:27 PM
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JennSLK JennSLK is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Alberta
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I think a lot of people get more nervous about it than needed. As long as you know and fallow the airline and boarder crossing regulations you should be fine. Buy your dogs ticket in advance for peace of mind. Get your dog used to its crate.
One thing to do is have a vet clinic at your destination that you know where it is and how you will get there. Just in case something happens while you are there. Photocopy all of your dogs vet records, registration certificates, ect.. in duplicate. Have one set in your carry on and one in your checked bags in addition to those that need to be attached to the crate

Solo did the 14hr flight to Vancouver plus the time it took to get through customs. She did just fine. Then the 2hrs to get here by plane. If you have to go through customs with your dog allow extra time for your dog to clear customs as well. This is why you should also have copies of the vet certs and everything that is attached to the crate. Just in case they get ripped off or lost.

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Old 10-07-2013, 06:21 PM
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Hillside Hillside is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 3,048

Not sure about flying, but Petco crates are SUPER overpriced. Try a feed store/farm store/outdoors store or Walmart first. If you have to go to an actual petstore, Petsmart is cheaper than Petco.
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:48 PM
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Pintage Pintage is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 195

I flew with my two pups (from Colorado to Hawaii, then back) on Alaska Airlines.

They will NOT refill your pet's water during the flight or layovers, even if you leave a little funnel attached to the front of the cage. The standard sized water bowls that come with the crate are too small, by the time your pet gets loaded it'll have all dumped out already. I used 16oz bowls that I bought from Amazon and froze the water beforehand. When I went to pick the girls up (11 hrs later), Lugia still had water in her bowl, Circus didn't have anything because she ripped her bowl from the door during the flight xD

Alaska Airlines also lets you put almost whatever you want in your pet's crate. My dogs had blankets, a dog bed, and a small pillow each. They also had antlers and some other chews (which went untouched).

I also really liked this about AA, but when you board the plane, as you're seated you get a little note (torn from some paperwork that's attached to your dog's crate) that says, "Don't worry! I'm on board, too!"

Lugia handles air travel *very* calmly.

Circus was a bit stressed out at first (she cried a bit when we dropped her carrier off), and as I was boarding the plane, I could hear her screaming in cargo hold! When I picked her up she was totally fine and relaxed, though.

I definitely think that as the owner, **I** was FAR more stressed out about the experience than either Lugia or Circus were!

I'll update if I think of more...
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:11 PM
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Kalyxa Kalyxa is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 482

Great! Thanks for the info and advice. I've added making copies of everything to my list. The reason I was going to hit up Petco is that it's in walking distance, I live in the middle of U-District in Seattle and I don't have a car, so my options are slim. I haven't seen any Wal-Marts in the city now that I think of it... I'll check for other stores within a bus ride though.

Not worried about the vet since I'm going home, she already has a place reserved, check and check...

So far so good. Thanks again! I'm glad there wasn't some glaringly obvious thing I was overlooking.
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