Shipping dogs and cats as cargo?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Julee, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Julee

    Julee UNSTOPPABLE

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    We're looking at moving to the other coast sometime soon, and while Em will be in cabin, Bloo needs to be shipped. Help? How does one go about doing it? How much does it cost (we need to buy an airline crate, what size do we choose?)? Should we sedate her?

    We also have two cats that will be coming, one of which is insanely shy and has a heart murmur. All of the same questions, except Delta said they could ride in the same crate in the cabin - any experience with that?
     
  2. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    Do not sedate her. Cost will depend on the airline. Are you shipping as baggage, on your flight, or as cargo? I've done both. Crate size should be big enough for her to stand in without her head touching the top. My guess would be a 400, but I don't know how big she is. (mine fly in a 300).

    She'll need a health certificate, which you get from a vet. This will need to have an address you're shipping from and to, so you need to have that information ready when you go to the vet to get it. Crate needs to have food/water cups, and absorbent bedding. You call the airline to reserve space for her on the flight. If you're flying her as baggage, you would go to the counter for the airline a couple hours before your flight, check in, and they'd take your payment then. Then they'll send you to the TSA agent, who will have you get your dog out of the crate so they can check the crate. Dog goes back in crate, and a baggage handler takes it away. (there are luggage carts to be rented in airports, which you can put the crate on).

    If she's flying cargo, you would take her to the cargo facility at the airport, your chosen airline will have an office to accept cargo. They'll take your money there, and you just leave the dog in the crate.

    If she flies as baggage, when you arrive, you go to the baggage pickup for your airline, and they will bring the crate to the oversize luggage door. If she flies as cargo, you go to the cargo facility at the destination airport to pick her up.

    Also, be sure to check the policies of the airline you're planning to fly. Some have breed-specific regulations, and won't fly a "pit bull", or will require a special crate.
     
  3. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    ^^Perfect info. I have only done this once (two flights, one trip) but we flew Shamoo as baggage. It cost 100 each way, the same it would have cost to have flown her in the cabin should she have fit under the seat. Flying a dog as cargo is typically 250 and required if you're not flying on the plane with them, most likely you'll use baggage.

    The airline prefers you do not put water in the cups but did not mind that I froze water in one cup. You must tape one meal above the crate in a bag. The health cert must be within one month of flight. I got mixed reviews about chewies and stuffed kongs but both Portland and Alaska (Alaska airlines) were happy to allow them. I went over board but I put probably 6 chewies and stuffed yums in the crate.

    We used a thunder shirt and an Adaptal collar just in case and Shamoo was content. Alaska was great to work with and gave us a tab when we got on the plane to let us know she had boarded.

    We used the collarshop to make a collar with her name and my number embroidered so that there were no tags to be lost nor get caught in the crate grating.

    Mmm... I think that's it.
     
  4. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Oh and I second it, no sedation! Sedatives have been known to react differently at different altitudes and the dogs are with the luggage so there is no one there to help them should an emergency occur.
     
  5. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    I have no intention of needing a dog shipped any time soon, but this was great info to read over about exactly how it all works! Thanks Adrianne and Flyinsbt!

    I think giving you the tag that says the dog has been loaded is a fantastic idea as well! Really gives you that piece of mind.
     
  6. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    I'm fairly sure Delta gives a stub once the dog is loaded, too. :)
     
  7. SevenSins

    SevenSins APBTs & One Crazy Banana

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    After knowing more than one dog killed on Delta flights, as well as having multiple dogs of my own LOST because they either didn't get them on the plane they were supposed to be on and I had to beg for them to go and physically find my damned dog wherever they left him, or they put them on a plane without their paperwork (!!) so they had no idea WHERE the dog was or that it even existed, or they put them on the WRONG plane... I wouldn't touch Delta if it was the last airline on earth unless I could physically fly with my dog and have that dog in my eyesight at all times.
     
  8. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    I wasn't suggesting any airline. She specifically said Delta in her OP. Just to be clear. :)

    For the record, I hated Delta when I flew on it and, given the choice, will not give them any money. There are much better airlines out there, for people. (And apparently for dogs, too)
     
  9. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I shipped Logan home when I bought him.

    DO NOT sedate her. Sedating affects regulation of body temperature, and it's too easy for her to get overheated or too cold if she's sedated. There's also the possibility that the decrease in pressure could affect how the drugs work. Best thing you can do to acclimate her to travel is to make she she's VERY comfortable in her crate (the crate she'll ship in, or at least the same style) and make sure she's comfortable riding in the car in the crate. It's not the same as flying, but it's about as close as you can get. Logan was super relaxed when he flew - I saw him on the tarmac when they were moving him to the next plane, and he was just chilling in his crate as they were moving him.

    I flew Frontier, and I highly recommend it. They send a note to you when your dog is on board, which REALLY helps with nerves. I think there are other airlines that do this now, too. Frontier has climate controlled and pressurized cargo areas (and I'd guess most, if not all, airlines have this too), so the reason there are limit in place for temperature is for when your dog is on the tarmac getting ready to be loaded or after they're unloaded.

    I think Logan cost an addition $100 on top of my ticket to fly one-way, which is a really good deal since it costs $250+ to ship them alone. There are limits to how many dogs can be on the plane, so book early to make sure you get a space. I booked online and then called immediately after to get a space for Logan. Then I called again a day or tow before I left to make sure they still had me down for a dog on the return flight.

    Make sure the crate you get is big enough for her to stand up naturally in, INCLUDING her ears. Tango's crate was HUUUGEEEE when I shipped him becasue he is tall and has big ears. I would have felt comfortable sending him in a crate a size or two smaller, but airline regulations forced me to go up in size. Logan's crate was actually a tad too small, so we just made him lay down when they checked :rofl1: It was plenty big enough for him, but his ears were questionable (thankfully they were also glued down lol). Some airlines are more picky than others, and I'm sure some individual people are more picky than others. But I'd rather be on the safe side. That said, some planes can only take crates under a certain size, so it's best to try to work with your airline on finding a crate that's large enough and still fits in the plane.

    As far as what kind of crate, I bought a Remington crate sight unseen and had it shipped to Logan's breeder. When we opened it...we were less than impressed. I really, REALLY like the crate for shows because it's super east to put together and take apart, but it's not very solid or secure. Ideally it would need to be reinforced at all the fasteners with zip ties. So find one that has screws/bolts to hold the two halves together instead of clips/pins. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Vari-kennel is the standard, but I've seen crates for much less that look more solid and have more ventilation. Whatever you get, make sure it says it's airline-approved, and if possible, go look at it yourself before you buy it. Then call the airline and ask them to double check that it's the right crate.

    You need to have something absorbent in the crate, as well as a bowl for food and water. I used a towel in Logan's crate, but his breeder pointed out bath mats are EXCELLENT for crates, as they don't slip. So use a bath mat ;) Put the water bowl in the freezer a day or two before so you can put the bowl of ice in the crate. This means less spilling, and your dog won't gorge themselves on water and vomit. They make you put a bag of food on the crate in case something happens, too, though they're not supposed to feed it to your dog unless you tell them to or something happens. BUT, when I picked up Logan, there was 1 kibble in the bag, so apparently they either fed it to him or they spilled it. But if they did feed it, he ate it all, so he was relaxed enough to eat lol. You also need "LIVE ANIMAL" stickers on the crate, and they SHOULD have those or you at the desk when you check in. I looked EVERYWHERE for those stupid stickers before I shipped Logan, and after I finally found them, I found out there was also a set in the box with the crate AND they gave me a set at check in. They'll help you fill out the sticker when you get to the desk.

    After they inspect your dog's crate, zip the doors shut with zip ties. There is no reason for them to open the crate door (so long as you mount the water bowl on the crate door so they can fill it from outside if needed), and I feel the zip ties deter them from opening it, too.

    I've never shipped a cat, but I would imagine it would be the same as a small dog. In-cabin shipped is different than cargo shipping (but costs the same, so expect to pay $100ish per cat as well). The thing to check with them is to make sure you can bring the cats AND Em in the cabin. Since Em's supposed to go in your footspace/under the seat, and the cats are supposed to go under the seat, I can see them not allowing them together simply because there's no room. So double check that. As for the heart murmur, that is up to your vet. You need a health certificate no more than 20 days prior to flying, so if your vet feels like it's not safe for your cat to fly with a heart murmur, there's not much you can do about it. As for being shy, it should be okay - Tango was super shy about people he doesn't know, and he was fine. Another reason to ziptie the doors shut.
     
  10. Snark

    Snark Mutts to you

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    Excellent advice above!

    My 2 cents: Delta said to put both cats in the same carrier? I'd be a little leery about that... We tried that once with a couple of our cats (brothers), just going to the vet, and one freaked out and attacked the other one. Could not get them out of the crate fast enough (luckily we were still at home). We had originally thought that since the two got along so well at home, they'd be happier together in a crate. Turned out not so much...

    Maybe you could experiment with the two cats/one crate on a short car trip?
     
  11. rudysgal

    rudysgal New Member

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    Hey guys,

    This might actually not be helpful to the OP since I DID have my dog in cabin, but I find on the internet there is a lot of "OMG DON'T SEDATE YOUR DOGS" and I do know the AVMA's stance is similar. That being said, if your dog panics, you might want to consider something like xanax or homeopathic.

    The reason I say this is, on the one flight from ON to AB I took with my dog, he went completely crazy on no meds. He hyperventilated, got very hot, and passed out :( There is no worse feeling than worrying your dog is dead in his carrier 30,000 feet in the air, let me tell you. Because I was just visiting and we had to fly back a month later, on the way home we had to do something, so took him to my parent's vet and tried a few weeks on that "nutritional supplement" you can get from the vet made of milk casein? Oh gosh what is it called...I can't remember.

    Anyway, as a backup, we got ace. I know ... not a great choice. But this vet in this other province didn't prescribe things like xanax, so we had some as a back up, and tried a small dose on him a few days before the flight to ensure he didn't have an adverse reaction. He slept calmly.

    Was it a perfect flight home? No ... ace seems to be a chemical restraint, so he did "break through" a couple times. But he did not panic, hyperventilate, pass out, or tear a hole through his carrier or scream during the flight. He slept more comfortably for longer stretches of time.

    Naturally you need to do what is best for your dog with the info you have, and work with your vet. I'm simply saying that if Bloo panics, you might want to consider *something* (and hopefully something better than ace, I am NOT here to spout the awesomeness of that drug as I don't believe it myself). A friend's dog that flew in cargo broke a few teeth trying to get out of his crate. So while sedation is a no ... something to help relax the animal MIGHT be a consideration.

    Do what is best for you :) Just my two cents. And in case it was a question, I won't be flying with my doggie again :) It's road trips for us from now on!

    Take care and good luck on your move!
     
  12. ThoseWordsAtBest

    ThoseWordsAtBest Wu-Tang Steph

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    I just flew Elsa to her adopter on American Airlines. The booking experience was highly unpleasant. They initially didn't respond to my request, changed the price quote, and then booked her on the wrong day- but luckily that was fixed when we showed up. Otherwise she was on her flight quickly, left on time, arrived on time, and all was well.

    Her ticket was $272. The airline crate we bought at $100, $20 for the health certificate and whatever state requirements for travel are are- AA didn't check in the slightest so null and void there. Without all the extras (had to drive to Chicago, but obviously I was not going with her) it was somewhere in the $400 neighborhood.

    I went at this blind so it was probably a bigger pain in the ass than I needed. Frequently when I asked friends for advice I was told DON'T FLY YOUR DOG WILL DIE so people were super helpful on that front. I learned to make the reservation before buying the crate- some planes can't take cargo of certain heights/widths. The zip ties were provided for us and required by the airline. Every thing else they had in a handy dandy kit at PetSmart. The absorbent material they provided seemed super chincy so I put it with pee pads under a crate mattress. Bag of food taped on the top.

    I'm the one who sedated. It was a risk I was willing to take for her travel. Xanax for the anxiety, a little Ace for the sleepy. She was conscious and alert but calm for the flight. AA required a form stating what medication she was on and I hear some airlines require a veterinarian signed form as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  13. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I was crazy impressed with the adaptal collar, I recommend it as something to try before drugs. Shamoo has broken out of crates before, in fact below is her daily crate (sorry, we're painting, don't mind the clutter). For a long time she destroyed bedding(hence the clothes scraps), she drools with anxiety (hence the pan), and she is like a velociraptor who'll test for weaknesses in all crates(see clips). That said we've been working for a long time to rectify the issue and that surely helped but the biggest help IMO was the fact I gave her a ton of stuffed toys and chewies (again, check with the airline and approach TSA with confidence of having called prior) and the adaptal collar which looks like a flea collar (I never, ever trusted DAP diffusers nor sprays). Shamoo arrived in Alaska barking but sans drool flowing out of the door, which she's disgustingly well known for at work, and absolutely no chewing on the crate. On the return flight, to portland, believe it or not she was just chilling, not even barking.

    Because it was such short notice she flew in Backups crate, it's a pet mate 400, it was huge for her but it worked. If I had more time I may have looked for heavy duty crate.

    They did tell me zipties are not allowed but I would ask again, it could be per airline.
    [​IMG]

    Her house crate. Clips, a drool pan, and it's old as heck but we have never been ever to find another one of these heavy bar wires.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

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    Did they say no zip ties to keep the door closed? or?

    Last time I flew a dog it was Alaska, and when I buy a Vari-Kennel I immediately throw out the screws and bolts that hold the crate together. I zip tie all my crates closed, but of course, I have no need to zip tie the door shut. Just wondering because they didn't say anything to me about the zip ties.

    If all goes well in a couple weeks I may be flying a puppy using Alaska airlines. This will be the first time I didn't accompany the dog. When I flew Zen home I went and picked him up and he rode under my seat. When we went back to his breeders for a herding clinic he flew in cargo, but I was on the same plane.

    Also, I taped food on Zen's crate and if I remember right someone said it "wasn't necessary", but I left it on there. When I picked him up the food was gone, and I highly doubt they fed him on a 4 hr flight. I did give him a chewie and a dose of Rescue Remedy before the flight.
     
  15. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Their website says no zipties instead of bolts and I saw a woman have to remove them and buy bolts from the airline to replace them (when leaving AK). That said they said no to zip tying as an extra door security.

    Also they said its required to have food, precautionary and all. Again this was my only experience but I read their website about 500 times and called probably 20, I was so nervous.
     
  16. ThoseWordsAtBest

    ThoseWordsAtBest Wu-Tang Steph

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    AA required the kennel to be bolted, but the zip ties went in the extra holes around the cage door. The food also wasn't necessary and they had me note on what time to feed her only if she ended up delayed. They assured me they would never open the kennel so I'm curious to how they would have fed her. Just cramming the food between the bars? I was terrified of the whole idea of any one even thinking to open the crate so I got a note from our vet OKing not to feed her on the flight when it didn't matter in the end.

    Delta doesn't fly Pits, by the way. Most of the airlines I looked up didn't fly any "snub nosed" breeds. AA also has the same restrictions but an AA shipping manager assured me that I could fly Elsa, that terrier mix was acceptable, etc. When the woman looked through the kennel and I got her out of the crate before flight she said "Oh a little Pit Bull!" and my heart fell out of my ass. Then nothing happened and they loaded her up.
     
  17. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    AA says they fly all snub nose dogs "at the owners risk".

    From their website: Pets in the Baggage and Cargo Compartments

    Alaska Airlines accepts most small domesticated pets. Other pets may be accepted with approval. Pets that may travel in the climate-controlled baggage and cargo compartments include: cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, non-poisonous reptiles, pot bellied pigs, rabbits, and tropical fish.

    The following regulations apply:

    Dogs and cats must be at least eight (8) weeks of age and weaned.
    No more than one (1) live dog or cat, 6 months of age or older, may be transported in the same kennel.
    No more than one (1) live puppy, 8 weeks to 6 months of age, and weighing over 20 lbs, may be transported in the same kennel.
    No more than two (2) live puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6 months of age, that are of comparable size, and weighing 20 lbs or less each, may be transported in the same kennel.
    Animals must be harmless, inoffensive (not destructive to itself or the kennel), and require no attention during transit.

    The health of your pet is important. Due to health risks that could potentially result in the death of the animal, brachycephalic (shortnose) dogs/cats are only accepted for travel at owner's risk and excess valuation is not available. The following is a list of the affected breeds:

    Dogs: American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire, Boston Terrier, Brussels Griffin, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Dutch Pug, English Bulldog, English Toy Spaniel, French Bulldog, Japanese Boxer, Japanese Spaniel, Pekinese Pug, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Terrier, Bulldog, Pug, Boxer.
    Cats: Burmese, Exotic, Himalayan, Persian.

    ETA look for pet embargo dates. Most airlines ARE climate controlled in the baggage area but they won't accept liability during the hotter and colder times of the year, this didn't show as an issue for Shamoo but it was an issue when cargo shipping Sloan and B from their breeders.
     
  18. ThoseWordsAtBest

    ThoseWordsAtBest Wu-Tang Steph

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    "American Airlines will not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs and cats as checked luggage. The following is a list of brachycephalic dog breeds and any "mix" of will not be accepted"

    I didn't fly with her so she wasn't checked luggage but rather shipping, so different? The whole process was utterly confusing and I hope to never fly a dog ever again, lol.
     
  19. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    That is odd but there is definitely a difference between cargo and baggage, primarily the cost and waiting due to outside location of drop off and pick up, I hope to stick to baggage because it felt much safer.
     
  20. ThoseWordsAtBest

    ThoseWordsAtBest Wu-Tang Steph

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    I wonder why it would be at your own risk otherwise, but not for luggage. I'd call and ask but god knows what answer I'd come back with. The reason my experience was largely so awful was because I think I spoke to at least 5 or 6 different people and got 5 or 6 different answers.

    It all and all ended up fine, but yeah, hope to avoid it in the future. I plan to fly with Jonas within the next few months or so but he is small enough to fly with me in the cabin.
     

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