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Well folks, it's about that time and I am so excited to be getting back to being close to home. But I thought I would pop in here and ask if anyone has advice on getting my pup ready to make the big leap over the large pond. We have two options at the moment going from Japan to the USA and any input would be appreciated.

Option 1: 11hour plane ride to Seattle but we would have to get off of the plane and then I have to claim her and then check back in and get her on another plane to get to Colorado. Now I can do this and maybe stay a night in Seattle then put her on a plane the next day or just get it over with and put her on a second flight to Denver which will be about 3 hours or so.

Option 2: Direct flight to Denver which would be about 15hours.

Biggest thing is I don't want her stressed out. Her vet has already walked me through the options of giving her a mild sedative to help her just relax so that it's an easy going flight. I'm already paying for her to have a larger crate so that she has just a bit more room and that's costing me a pretty penny for a flight ticket for her but I don't know what other option I have to give her more room. I've also been given differing information regarding crate training her to be in a crate for that amount of time so that she doesn't freak out when she has to be in that crate for a possible 15hours (probably more considering that they have to do the boarding and deboarding process).

If anyone has any advice, I'm all ears. (Also, money is not an issue as I have saved a lot for this move with the pup.) This major move won't take place for another couple of months but it's better to start getting advice now than waiting til the last second, in my opinion. Especially if there is any training that I could do to get her ready for something like this. When we land, we still have lots of driving to do but I will have a good sized truck that she can hang out in so that she's not in the crate anymore.
 

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I flew my dog a lot from Alaska to the east coast, which was a 13 hour deal or so. He did fine. He never had an accident in his crate, and only once did he come out looking really hot and panting hard. Otherwise, he was none the worse for wear.

I'd get it done in one deal, if I were you. Fly to Denver and then it's all over. Another 3-4 hours isn't going to make a huge difference.

As for crate training, ensure the dog is comfortable in the crate, but I wouldn't "practice" keeping him in there for a 15 hour stint, any more than I "practice" for an overseas flight by sitting in a tiny seat with 100s of other people. It's one of those things you just have to get through.

I use the trick of freezing the water in the bowl so he can drink it enflight and it won't immediately spill out. I don't feed the dog for about 8 hours prior to a flight to mitigate issues with airsickness and needing to poop enroute. But I do tape a bag of his food to the crate in case he gets held up. Always make sure you WATCH the dog getting loaded and unloaded. Speak up if you see an issue- advocate for your dog, you paid a lot to have him fly.

Buy a sturdy crate, and zip-tie it shut. Write a brief description of the dog and any issues/concerns and tape it to the crate in case they need to let him out at any point for delays, etc.

For bedding, I cut an egg-crate foam piece to fit tight in the bottom and covered it with a piece of carefully cut carpet. That way it stayed in place and if there was an accident in the crate, the mess would mostly be absorbed.

Finally, I steered clear of sedatives, at the advice of the vet. I would rarely consider using a sedative. If I had to fly my very stranger-danger dog, I'd simply invest in one of those metal hard-core crates and train him to chill out when there is activity around his kennel. That is one thing you can work on- training the dog to be relaxed when others handle the kennel. However, there is no guarantee that type of training will hold up when you are not there and the dog is out on the tarmac.

You know your dog best. If you are truly considering sedatives, make sure to use them under veterinary advisement. Also, many airlines will not take a dog who has been sedated due to medical risk.

Good luck, you might be surprised how well your dog handles the flight. Most just take it in stride and sleep the entire trip.
 

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No Sedatives!!!

Airlines specifically prohibit the use of them for animals being shipped due to potential adverse medical issues during flight. There will be a part that you must sign stating the dog is not sedated.

Personally, I would opt for the 15 hour direct flight and be done with it. That way there is less handling of your dog, and less chance of missed connection.

When shipping puppies, I buy a crock style (made of heavy plastic) that attaches to the door of the crate. Then I freeze a large Yogurt or Cottage Cheese container half full. When I get to check in, the container has just slightly melted so chunk of ice slides out and fits perfectly into the bowl. Slow thawing will allow the pup to have water longer. I typically do not feed the pup the night before travel. Put a couple of individual meals into plastic ziplock bags, and then put them in a bigger ziplock bag and it can be taped to the top of the crate. I usually give a small meal right before I put in the crate, so they are not starving, and that way you have a meal ready as soon as you pick him up upon arrival. Zip ties to secure the crate, once you put the pup in a check in. Pack something in your suitcase to cut the zip ties upon arrival. I use shredded newspaper for bedding. You can hand shred it in inch strips, and put a plastic trash bag and an old towel in your carry on. That way once you pick the pup up, you can empty the crate contents into a trash bag and dispose. Then throw an old towel in for the rest of your travels.

Don't forget to have an extra collar and your leash. Sometimes they make you remove the collar, and will attach it to the dog food bags and tape to the top of the crate, other times it is left on. Just depends on the airline.
 

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I've flown cross-country (8 hr flights in the US) several times with animals and agree with everything that others have posted: NO sedatives, freeze water, no feeding the day (or at least 12 hrs) before, etc. I also duct-taped instructions (in a sealed plastic baggy) on top of the crate (with my name and cell# in large, bold print and explicit instructions NOT to remove the animal from the crate or to feed it).

If possible, I would do it in a single (preferably nonstop) flight; any time an animal is taken off the plane increases the risk of something going wrong. Finally, I'd take the time (if you haven't already) to research what airlines have temperature and pressure-controlled 'rooms' for pets. Not all airlines do and the lack of those facilities resulted in many tragic outcomes. I also would research the frequency of pet incidents for the airlines you're considering. There was a website which rated airlines, but I long ago lost the link. Finally, tell airline personnel that you have animals in the hold! I made an absolute pest of myself by telling every.single.airline.person that I encountered about my pet(s) on the flight and the need for their 'room' to be properly monitored. From the people on the check-in desk, to the steward taking tickets at the gate, to the pilot/co-pilots, to the stewards during the flight itself. They were all very nice about it, but I'm sure they were all glad to see the back of me at the end of the trip. :D

Good luck,

Aly

ETA. Also check average temps, for that time of year, where're you're going. Some airlines won't transport animals if day/nighttime temps go above a certain point. This is really important if you're changing planes because you don't want your animal sitting on a runway in high temps with all of the noise, pollution, jet exhaust, etc.
 

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I vote for the direct flight (to avoid mishaps in transfers) WITHOUT sedatives. Your vet needs to educate him/herself. Don't worry about the dog being able to hold it or not. It is what it is.; he will survive this. Just make sure you have cleaning supplies, plastic bags and clean bedding with you when you pick him up.
Past dogs have made two flights like this without any problems but always one straight flight. We rented a car for the last leg of the trip to avoid delays in transferring planes, sitting idle on a tarmac in transit etc.
 

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I echo what others have said: Do the direct flight: no sedatives. I've had pups shipped twice in the past, they were 12 hours in their crates - both were fine, no accidents. Then it was a 12 hour drive back home from the airport (I live in Northern BC), with potty breaks of course, and both time dog dealt with the travel fine, no issues at all.

No sedatives! The change in air pressure requires the heart to adjust the volume it pumps and adjust the blood pressure to ensure the blood gets oxygenated. Normally, the body seems to be able to automatically make these adjustments, but sedatives will interfere with this process. Some airports/airlines require a signed statement that your dog/cat was NOT sedated.
 

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Our 3 month old pup was flown in from Warsaw Poland. He had an over night plus a day in Chicago with a vet check then off to LA (with a layover) where he was fed, watered, and allowed a short break supposedly. When he arrived in Spokane we expected a tired confused pup, but instead he owned the place.

He flew in on Delta domestically with zero issues, not sure what carrier was used for the international part of his trip. His crate was set up similar to what Muskeg recommend minus the pad inside.
 
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