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airplane travel
by Marilyn
airplane travelMy husband and I will be travelling from Vancouver to Montreal this June (4 1.2 hour flight) and we want to bring our little one with us to visit her grandparents. By then Digby will be 5 months old. My BIG question is: is it fair to let Digby travel in cargo (I actually dispise the thought of it). I would much rather her travel with us on the plane. Has anyone had any experience with their little one going cargo? Sounds so cruel doesn't it!! Also if we want to sedate her a little to keep her from barking (if she travels on board with us) is there a natural type vs tranquilizer. I have heard Valerian may work and if so how much?


Hi Marilyn!I know what it's like to want to "show off" your fur baby to all your friends and relatives. I know what it's like because I have that same feeling. However, as a flight attendant, I do not like to see ANY critters placed in cargo for various reasons: There is always a possibility of a cargo fire taking place. Although it is extremely small odds, it can happen. To put these fires out, animal can suffer from this directly or inhale HALON fumes. This is the type of extinguisher used to put out cargo fires. Also, there is the possibility that these animals may get lost or injured. Please read the section on this website with regards to shipping a Maltese. Remember, luggage and it's contents can always be replaced. Just as a reminder, you can always place your fur baby in a holder that can fit under an airplane seat. I can't give you andy advice on tranquilizers because I have never used them. I hope this helps! Good luck!
Lucy C.

Marilyn...Read answers to 'Sunny's 1st Vacation' in today's comments. You are flying in the hot time of year. I have read in Dog Fancy about traveling with your pet and it is NOT recommended that you let your pet fly in baggage area especially during hot weather, nor if it is not a direct flight. If you change planes, you run the risk of losing your pet. In particular, Maltese are so little and fragile, gentle nature, I personally would NEVER consider letting mine fly in baggage. There is really no need to either. All of the major airlines allow 1 pet in-cabin with the exception of Southwest. It is advisable to make the arrangements as early as possible to ensure that your pet is the only one in-cabin. Your pet only needs 1cc of Benadryl an hour before the flight to calm it. Don't use tranquilizers, they hinder their breathing. Check with your vet first.
Linda P
Hi, Marilyn,My husband and I took Touquet round-trip from Ottawa to Vancouver (and from there on a Dash-8 on to Castelgar, B.C.) on Air Canada almost 2 years ago in June. Touquet was 1 year old. Touquet travelled in his Sherpa bag in the cabin with us. During take-off and landing he had to stay in his bag under the seat, but during the flight I held him in my lap. Sometimes the flight attendents insist that the dog remain in his bag, but they usually won't object if you put the bag up on your knee. I would suggest that you take Digby shopping, etc. with you in his Sherpa bag to get him comfortable with it before the flight. Make sure you make a reservation for Digby IN CABIN when you book/pick-up your tickets.

Although Touquet gets a little nervous when the plane revs up to take off, he generally does very well. I do not medicate him, although if you are really worried, you could speak to your vet. I keep little treats handy and a Kong toy stuffed with dried liver to slip to him in his Sherpa bag if he seems upset. He has been travelling with us in the cabin on planes since he was 7 months old. He survived wild turbulence in interior B.C. -- I was a mess, but the dog didn't mind at all!I walk him through the terminal building, and take paper which I let him use in the washroom. I have even let him use his paper in the airplane bathroom!

Good luck, and let us know how you do!
Barbara and Touquet

Marilyn, Why does your little one have to go cargo? In February, I took Mika, then 11 mos. old, from New York to Florida in a Sherpa Bag with me in the cabin. She fit comfortably in the space under the seat in front of me and I could reach in the top zipper and pet her. It was an extra charge of $50 and US Air limits the number of pets to two per cabin (737) and even the commuter plane we had to take on the way home allowed one pet. My husband has a guide dog, which luckily didn't count, and I knew of a couple of poodles and a pekinese on some of the legs of the journey along with us. So, really, there were three dogs in the cabin on many of our flights. We had three stops, with one change of planes on the way south. Everyone was very accepting of the two dogs and we left the airport terminal to "park" the dogs in Charlotte, S.C. You have to go through security again, but it was really no problem. Mika slept quietly the whole way, having already been very used to her Sherpa Bag. She didn't need any sedatives and frankly, I had forgotten my intention to have some handy, just in case. She only barked once, in a hot dog stand, when someone noticed her in the bag on my shoulder and talked directly to her. On the first leg of the flight, when we had about a half hour stop in Washington, I let Mika out of her Sherpa and in my lap and Daddy's. It was a very long day for all of us, but Mika made it with flying colors. I would certainly do it again; it's cheaper than a week at a kennel. Just be sure to reserve space on the flight for your pup ahead of time. By the way, I kept a wee wee pad in the bottom of the bag, just in case, and an extra one in the pocket; Mika didn't need it, but the twelve year old yellow labrador of my husband has a bladder that isn't what it used to be, and only a few feet from the terminal door on our way home, she let loose! The pad came in really handy! So, good luck with your baby, and do take her with you. June and Mika
I have flown my Penny (2 years old) with me to Dallas several times. She is so small that I can put her under the seat in front of me. She travels really well. We are going to Chicago on Sunday. I don't know how Canadian flying laws are but is your puppy is small enough put him under the seat. He will be able to see you and feel better durning the flight. Here in the US it is $60 one way to bring a dog on board under the seat and $50 one way to put them in cargo. Good Luck!
Marilyn, PLEASE don't put Digby in cargo. Your instincts are right. Get a Sherpa bag and take her on the plane with you. As for drugs, I'd be very, very careful about that too.

Marilyn,I have made 2 flights with Diva, her first at only 12 weeks. the second at 10 months. I cannot imagin putting her into the cargo, especially if you have a choice in the matter. I bought a sherpa bag, and she was just great both times. She was under the seat infront of me, and I would open the top and give her a scratch so she knew I was there, but she never barked, but slept the whole way. I think the viberation on the plane did that to her naturally. Our trips where 6 hours with stop overs and plane changes. I say keep your baby as close to you as you can, who knows what can happen if your not there. I am sure many dogs have been transported in cargo and did well, but why if they don't have to?
Mary P
This message is for Nikki, who plans to fly to Canada. Make sure you bring all relevant papers on your doggie with you. The Canadian border wants proof that you dog has all it's shots an not carrying any disease into the Country. The same applies with travel in to the US.
I also have flewn with Beau. He was 4 months and we had only had him for 4 days. I had to change planes, and he did fine the whole trip. He wasn't sedated, just slept in his bag in front of us under the seat. The flight attendants wouldn't let us take him out, but said that we could let his head poke out through the top of the bag and hold it on the seat between us. On the way home, he decided it would be funny to bark during the flight attendant's safety message. And, because our seats were in the bulkhead, Beau was under the last seat of first class. The guy didn't seem to mind though.
Marilyn, I saw two natural sedatives in the Drs. Fosters & Smith catalog I just received. They are called Serene-um and Pet Calm and contain herbs, amino acids and vitamins. They were on page 72. Good Luck!
Thanks everyone for all your important info. Just sitting her looking at our little precious Digby 'moptop' I could not imagine her going cargo. I think I would be a nervous wreck. Thanks Lucy for the info on cargo fires (I would be totally devistated) and thanks Carrie for the info on Pet Calm (will try to locate). The next task is to find a sherpa bag. The pet stores here (about 4 in town do not carry them. But I will keep trying. Digby would truly appreciate looking up into her Mom and Dad's (especially since she is Dad's little girl, even though I was the one persistant on having a little fur baby Maltese) face for assurance that everything is alright rather than being stuck in a cargo hold. I will let you know how we all did. It will be a long day for all, 4 hrs drive and 4.5 hours flight. This is a wonderful site!! Such helpful info for our little babies.

Sherpa has a website (I don't remember the address, but you can probably do a search or someone may have it and post it for you). It's a beautiful site and has ordering information if I'm not mistaken. If you can't find one, there are other types of carriers (hard ones) which would be better than putting them in cargo, but not as nice as a Sherpa (which is soft and comfy with little zippers you can let their heads peak out through). Also, call your airline or travel agent to find out all the regulations and make early reservations. They usually have specific regulations regarding the size and construction of the carrier. Make sure to bring some water for the car (a thermos with a cup on top works well.. put some ice in to keep it cold), and walk her right before you board the plane. A few goodies and a familiar toy will make her more comfortable too. Have a great trip!

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