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So I'm goin to fly home in a month for a couple weeks, bringing Jude, and i'm just worried for everything about this. Any advice on flying with a dog? He doesn't crate awesomely, I know he'll bark the entire flight, he has separation anxiety issues, large ones, especially in scary new places. I know this won't traumotize him or anything, but he will not be a happy camper for that 6 hours.

 

I was wondering about medicating him, or some type of natural calming something or other, but it Also scares me to give him a drug when I won't be there to monitor him. I've flown two cats and a dog across continents, so I'm not so much worried about the logistics, more so his issues. Sigh. Thoughts?

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I don't think any airlines accept dogs that have been medicated.

 

Why can't you drive?

 

How do you know it won't traumatize him?

 

Jude doesn't sound like a dog that would handle flying. The only dogs I've flown were very happy in their crates, generally quite confident and did not have any noise sensitivities, separation anxiety or other conditions.

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...He doesn't crate awesomely, I know he'll bark the entire flight, he has separation anxiety issues, large ones, especially in scary new places...

This does not sound like a recipe for a good flight for your dog (and probably not for you, either). And, if he has "separation issues, large ones", I'm not sure I can agree with "...this won't traumatize him or anything..." either.

 

Is your six-hour flight the flight time only? Or does that include the time spent crated and away from you before the flight after checking in your baggage? As pointed out, is driving an alternative? Is another form of transportation that might suit him better an alternative?

 

I have flown with Dan from Washington DC to San Diego CA by way of Seattle and back again twice, where he has spent up to about 11 hours in the crate (not all of that flying time, of course, as it included pre-flight and lay-over times). Fortunately, he's a very confident dog, well-acclimated to the crate, does not experience any overt separation anxiety issues, and is accustomed to travel and new places and experiences to a reasonable degree. Plus, we flew with Alaska, where I think the dog-as-excess-baggage handling is excellent (and I have photos to prove that). I have to admit that I had some concerns the first time we flew but, seeing how well he handled the flight, was extremely pleased.

 

You would need to check with the airline and your vet about whether or not medication is an option. Sometimes, that can have unexpected effects that make things worse and you wouldn't be there to monitor that.

 

I really wonder if Jude might not be better off with either your travelling in a different way (driving) or perhaps even being boarded at a good facility or left with a trustworthy friend that he likes. For his sake, as he already has several issues working against him for this sort of situation.

 

I wish you the best with your decision-making.

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I would definitely heed Sue R's advice! I would also search the board archives for other discussions we have had about flying with dogs.

 

My dog also has "separation anxiety issues, large ones"------when I had to begin crating him again after he chewed my house up while I was out of town, he snapped most of his teeth off chewing inside the crate. After working with a veterinary behaviorist for several years and LARGE doses of Clomicalm, prescribed by the VB, he is able to tolerate the crate. He is NOT happy, but he is able to tolerate it.

 

If I were you, I would be hesitant to put my severely anxious dog through an experience that he will be unprepared for and definitely frightened during.

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If he doesn't like a crate and has large separation anxiety, I think that it would be very likely to traumatize him, perhaps severely. I have heard of dogs who severely injured themselves in their crates while flying due to their anxiety. I sure wouldn't do it if it were my dog, under your circumstances. Drugging him could make it worse for him, actually, rather than better. If he is only partially conscious, or if the drug makes him feel wierd, it could frighten him even more because he wouldn't have control over his own body in addition to being in a strange scary place, in a crate, in a noisy place, and without you. Recipe for disaster. I would find some other way, or find a place for him to be for 2 weeks.

D'Elle

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If he doesn't like a crate and has large separation anxiety, I think that it would be very likely to traumatize him, perhaps severely.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Dogs with severe separation anxiety can be pretty destructive to themselves and the crate when kenneled and left alone in a familiar place... I can't even imagine what the same dog could do to himself while crated in a plane's cargo-hold.

 

I have a Lab that I flew with on a 3-hour flight about 5 years ago. He's pretty laid-back, but can be a touch sensitive. He was not terribly excited about the crate before the flight, but tolerated it just as he does pretty much everything else. Well, he apparently didn't like flying - had to literally shove him in the crate to get him back on the return flight home, and he wanted NOTHING to do with that crate for a long time. He crates well now, but I won't ever fly with him again unless I absolutely HAD to.

 

Sedating or drugging a dog for flight is a no-no; as someone mentioned above, most airlines won't even fly a dog that has been sedated. Sedation can cause a change in respiratory function, which is not good at high altitudes.

 

If you absolutely have no choice but to fly the dog, I'd spend every waking moment until your trip making that crate the best place in the world for him!

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With all of the issues described, you might get away with the first flight out there --- but getting him home may be nearly impossible if he decides he didn't care for the experience.

 

The trip does not sound in his best interest. I would have a hard time boarding my dogs for two weeks, but it does sound like a better alternative to flying in this case. If it's a six hour flight, I'm guessing driving would be fairly prohibitive and take up the majority of your trip. It could be a fun adventure, though, if you are set on keeping him with you.

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For most airlines, dogs have to be in their crates for about 1 to 3 hours prior to take off and don't get out for another hour or so after landing, so I was thinking the 6 hours in the crate meant about a 2 to 4 hour flight. With a 2 week vacation, that distance is very doable as far as driving. I used to do that every summer when I took my dogs with me to our family reunion.

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I echo everyone else's warnings. He will not only have the flight time in that crate, in a scary, noisy thing, but he'll also have wait time before the flight, (you'll have to check in well before your flight, yourself,) then he will be hauled out onto the noisy, scary tarmac like all the other baggage, to be loaded into the plane, where he'll spend that 6 hours locked in the cargo hold, (also noisy, alien and scary) and then he'll spend more wait time before he's unloaded, with another voyage out across the noisy, scary tarmac, and yet more wait time before you can pick him up. A 6 hour flight could end up with him spending 8 to 10 hours in the crate.

 

Though you said you've flown other animals, so you do know the logistics. I'm just trying to frame it from his point of view.

 

Most if not all air lines will not permit a dog to be drugged for transport. If I were you, I would worry about him going into a frenzy of fear during all that alien strangeness, and trying to tear up his crate. If so, he could very well do himself severe harm, from breaking his teeth to breaking toes and claws, to who knows what. Even if he doesn't freak out, he may void his anal glands, pee and/or poop in the crate and generally render himself even more miserable.

 

I simply do not think that a dog who does not crate well and who has severe separation anxiety could be a good candidate for flying. I would worry that this actually could traumatize him.

 

I hope he's not as bad as your post suggests, as you've clearly got all of us alarmed! ;)

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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One more to suggest not to crate/fly your dog. My BC has severe SA and even on large doses of meds he has broken the welds on his former crate, and chewed through the fiberglass garage door. I would be afraid of him chewing his way out of his crate either in transit or at the airport, neither a good option. My solution was to get him a companion, but the VB I went to said that it doesn't always work. Whatever you decide to do, good luck.

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Chantal, what have you decided to do? Where do you live...perhaps the good folks here can suggest a good local BC-friendly boarding facility or dog sitter for you.

 

Our boy also has SA, and has learned to tolerate his crate, but I could never imagine putting him in the cargo hold of an airplane. He's far too fearful in strange situations.

 

I hope you're able to find a good solution for your doggie. Keep us posted.

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