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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Each year, I take a two week trip to my parents place in Halifax. Last year I hired a dog sitter (my cousin, who lives in the same house as I), no one got injured, or beaten, but when I got home, I got bombarded by complaints. He escaped the back yard twice (I told them to be with him in the yard, and to check gates at all time) and ran to the front door. He kept taking cat toys and destroying them, had one accident in the house, and never stopped whining.

My cousin is 22 years of age, lived for a year with Chase, babysat neighbors dogs, and had a 10 page manual I made for her to read (it included every detail down to the minute). I thought she could handle it, I even gave her a one week trial to see if she could handle Chase (he is a good dog, but as you all know, this breed will start making up games if not given the time for exercise) and she did fine...probably because I was there.

Anyhow, I don't feel comfortable leaving him at a kennel, or another house that offers pet sitting. So I thought he should come with me this year. I thought of driving, but I have not got him to calm down yet, and a two day car ride would be torture to him, same if I took the train. So I looked up flying.

Westjet offers animals up to 100lbs as checked baggage. I have an airline approved crate, and chase is now 83lbs. I called westjet and just flooded them with questions on how they handle live animals. The lady said I can have him in the airport right up to boarding, then crate him, and follow him to the Tarmac. No one is allowed to look at the animals (stare at them), poke their fingers in, talk to the animals, or disturb them in any way, they also accept any breed as long as they don't have a squished nose.

The flight is 1h45mins and that includes taking off, landing, and parking. I think this is the fastest and easiest way for him. My question to you guys, is how can I make this as comfortable and positive as possible?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to add that Chase will be health tested before this trip, I'm even thinking of renting a holter monitor to make sure his heart is healthy. Last year he had X-rays done and it happened to show his heart, the vet looked and said his heart looks very healthy from what he could see, and hear.

This trip is not until July 31 st 2012
 

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Is driving a possibility? We go to the beach every year, about a 10 hour drive but we do it in 2 days, leaving a day early and staying overnight.
 

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For a round trip with westjet its $100 ($50 one way)
Quite reasonable.
Elza flew to me from the breeder. The breeder organized everything so she traveled alone in her 3 months old. 2 hrs driving to the airport to depart, waiting time at the airport, flying time for nearly 1 hour, then we picked her up at 9a.m.!
According to the breeder, as the flight was in the early morning the previous night's dinner and breakfast were skipped to avoid car/plane sickness. Just a little water intake before boarding.
As a result, Elza didn't mess anything.
She came to us in May and I remember the crate was filled with chipped newspapers, not a blanket.
I wish I can travel with her by plane! A rental car is a huge problem.

Good luck and let us hear how it goes;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is driving a possibility? We go to the beach every year, about a 10 hour drive but we do it in 2 days, leaving a day early and staying overnight.
It is, it would be 6 hours the first day, then 10 hours the next day. Problem is, is that for some reason Chase has developed anxiety in the car. I have no clue how this came about, each car ride was just 5minutes to the beach, and he got off leash for an hour, playing and running. We gradually increased the ride time by 5, the longest ride being 45minutes. During those 45minutes he whined, panted, drooled, shook, refused treats, and wouldnt settle. We tried gravol, occupying him, crating him, strapping him with just a harness, sitting next to someone, blindfolding him (the makers of thundershirt made blindfolds for anxious dogs) and nothing seems to let him relax.

So driving is an option, but im not sure if he would survive :(
 

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It cost me $400 each way to fly my GSD from Calgary to Toronto and back on Westjet. I flew out their with him, but he came back alone.

What the heck???
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It cost me $400 each way to fly my GSD from Calgary to Toronto and back on Westjet. I flew out their with him, but he came back alone.

What the heck???
There are two ways to fly your dog, one is checked baggage (weight limit 100lbs) and then there is the cargo (weight limit is 300lbs). The checked baggage goes for $50 one way and you MUST be on the same flight. Cargo is more flexible, you can have a huge crate and have a mastiff fly, you dont need to be on the same flight but it is very expensive, if I were to go that route, it would cost me $350 +tax one way.
 

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I will just add then to use the plastic zip ties on all crate sections and gate.

There has been more than one dog bounce its crate off the belt and have it come open on the runway...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gah, I told them I was on the same flight.......
How much did your GSD, and kennel weigh? They probably put your dog in Cargo because it went over the 100lbs limit. Chase is 83lbs and the kennel is 13lbs, so that leaves...4lbs to spare :eek2:
 

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Interested to hear others thoughts on this. We fly to south florida every month or 2 and miss Axl terribly when we are there. We were thinking of bringing him once a year for the longer vacation...
 

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I personally wouldn't put my dogs on a plane unless they could fly inside. I know dobermans can't do that though. We have flown with our terrier but she fit in a crate that fit under the seat. She does okay but not real good on car rides, and she freaks out on an airplane so we don't let her fly anymore. I would be concerned that if your boy doesn't do well in a car then he may be worse in the cargo area of a plane. I know you aren't supposed to sedate them or give them calming meds if they go in cargo. At least that is what a couple of different airline companies told us. I wish you well though. Hopefully he will be totally fine on a plane.
 

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I've flown my dogs on fairly long flights a few times. The first time with my male who traveled via Cargo from Northern California to the UK and then back to the US a few years later. The second time with our newer girl who traveled as excess baggage when we moved from New Jersey to California.

Each time I was a complete stress case but ultimately the dogs did fine. I have heard that supposedly Continental is one of the better US airlines for pet transport, but I can't say I was overly impressed with the arrival crew in CA. It took a while for Lucy to finally arrive where we were supposed to pick her up, even though I was on the same flight! :(

I would do it again if I had to, but it's not something I would look forward to. However a couple hour flight would not be so bad.

If you do fly your dog, make sure you do not use tranquilizers. I think in the past people used them, but I was told repeatedly by my vet and the airlines that they were not allowed and can be harmful to the dogs health when flying. I used lavendar oil behind my dogs ears as a relaxant, put a t-shirt in the crate that had my smell on it. I also used Dap-spray (I think that is what it was called) for one trip. It is supposed to help relax them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What comes to mind is that the drugs slows the heart, and combined with the altitude it has a multiplying effect and can be very risky for the dog. But it's been a while - I might have that wrong! :)
Yes, the slowed heart rate and the pressure in the cabin can cause problems. It also hinders the dogs ability to balance themselves and they could get banged up.

Thanks for the tips harvest moon, I'll look into calming scents for chase.
 

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Avril has flown with us before, and we have flown out puppies for breeders.

I don't think it's as big of a deal as people make it seem to be. As long as your dog is fine in the crate and fine with being separated from you they won't be too stressed (From what I've seen.) Avril always is just sleeping when we pick her up.

We zip tie the door shut after the crates have been checked. Just to be careful. And we only fly dogs with direct flights.
 
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