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Flying cairns, Batman! :P


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I'll be flying with our new male cairn puppy next Sunday, from Dallas to Monterrey, Mexico (a 1hr 15 min flight), and I was wondering if anyone has done it before, and if you can share any tips, sugestions, fun stories, etc. :)

We're flying American Airlines and I believe I will be able to bring him in the cabin with me.

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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i flew a couple of times with my first dog, probably fifteen years ago. the only problem i had was with airline personnel who didn't understand their own company's policy, and kept telling me i couldn't take the dog on board despite the fact that he had a ticket.

most airlines have a policy of only one dog in the cabin at a time, so get the reservation early and get it documented well. with luck you will meet staff who actually know how to read a ticket.

your dog has to be quiet and ride under the seat (so your luggage or handbag will have to go overhead). my dog rode very happily in a sherpa bag; in those days they were uncommon enough that few people seeing them realized that they had dogs inside. with luck your dog will be perfectly silent, will slide under the seat, and the people sitting next to you will not suddenly remember that they are allergic to dogs.

vets can supply some valium-type drug to make sure your dog will sleep quietly through the trip (very helpful if you have a very long flight with no possible "break" time). i didn't need it for my dog, he was perfect all on his own, but it is best to be prepared. flying can be very frightening for dogs and children, and probably a bit painful too (ear-aches), so learn how to safely dose your dog so he goes out happily and doesn't get active or hyper until you are out of the airport. you must receive instructions on how to do this. depending on the age of your puppy, this may not be a good thing to do at all, and you might have to opt for the cargo hold anyway.

there can be other hitches that will force you to put the dog into the cargo area. probably the airline explained this to you when they sold you the ticket. if you are going to the airport in your own car, it might be worth making sure you have a rigid cargo-standard crate that you can use if he doesn't get approved for the cabin for some reason (i think these can probably be bought at the airport, but if you shop before hand you can make some choices that might affect comfort). planes now have safely pressurized areas in the cargo for animals, though it might be a bit chilly (keep a sweater or coat for handy for the puppy, and towels for inside the bag or crate if it comes to that). the cargo hold is safe.

i've never crossed a national boundary with a dog, and customs could be a bit of a challenge --especially coming back! make sure your puppy is documented up.

i don't have any fun stories as i did not find flying with a dog fun at all, rather it was a very trying and anxious experience for the dog and me both. with airports and airplanes what they are now, i would expect the anxieties and bother to many times greater. ever since i have always driven with my dogs, even if it is a twelve hour drive, it is far more relaxing than an hour of airports and flying.

Edited by pkcrossley
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Oscar took his first plane ride with me and DH in May 2007.

We use a medium sized shrpa bag, plenty of room for my 15 lb guy, but he didn't like getting into it, but once in he was fine.

We went from CA to MA, on a night flight. He was great no one knew we had a dog until we were deboarding the plane and someone looked at my carry on bag. Oscar was quiet, never barked and slept all night, I did give him 12.5mg of benadyl, but i think that was for me more so then him. Once we landed in Boston, DH went to baggage center and Oscar and me went outside to do the morning duty. He had no problem finding a spot to pee, pooping took a little longer. Once we went in to meet DH at the baggage area, a state topper (cops), told me Oscar needed to go back in his bag. He was not happy!

On the return flight, we left on an afternnon flight. Oscar didn't fight as much getting into the sherpa, but you unfortunity have to take him in and out of the bag to go through sercuity. Once again my boy handled the flight like a champ, and i didn't medicated him or me.

Got to say it's a bit expensive flight with a dog. The physical and filling out the flight sheet was $99 and to reserve a spot for him was $85 on united. But I think i'll do it again in Oct.

Good luck and and have a good time in Mexico. Does he need extra shot going internationally?


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I got Sugar from CA and had layover in CO then home to GA. I had her crate, papers, and puppy pads. We actually had problems in CO and had to stay an extra two hours. She had to use the pad and it worked great. The breeder did not feed her that morning so she might not get car sick. I gave her crused ice during the lay over.


Rebel, Hammurabi, Sugar, Dirty Harry, Paint, Duncan and Saffron

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Thanks for all of your wonderful responses! This is so useful.

Oscar's mom: I live in Monterrey, Mexico, so he's actually relocating internationally :)

And no, to travel to Mexico a dog only needs his up to date shots record and a health certificate from the vet.

I had a miniature poodle that I would cross the border with back and forward by car with no problem what so ever. I never got asked for one single paper, in Mexico OR the US. But I'm guessing the airport will be a different story... I hope not so much.

Thanks again and please, keep the good advise coming!

Lili, Toño, Luisa, Gabo, and Mushu.

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American charges $80 one way for the in-cabin dog (at least, that was the price in March); remember to call ahead of time and make a reservation for the dog.

You have to have proof that the dog is up-to-date on shots; I went to the vet for a "Flying Certificate" the very first time, but on subsequent flights some at the ticket counter didn't ask to see it. But you should have something just in case.

My pup traveled in a Sherpa bag; you have to kind of maneuver and squish it into place, but they go underneath the seat in front of you just fine.

Getting the pup back into the Sherpa after you go through security will be the toughest part of the trip! (Uh, the carrying bag goes through the X-ray machine; the pup stays in your arms! Remember the story not too long ago about a woman putting a baby on the conveyer belt???)

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