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Flying with a dog

Hi John

Having a hard time deciding if flying with a dog in a carrier going in front of the seat is a good idea. She has never flown before, its only 2.5 hour flight to Florida. Is getting a sedative or no eating or drinking before flying a good idea? Need some straight answers about taking the small dog with me on the flight. How does flying effect the dog? I cannot get a straight answer from my vet.



Hi Charlene,

Good question. Not sure I have a straight answer either although a few people that I know that ship various livestock by plane tell me they fast the animals but just food as opposed to water. Some world travellers I know tell me that if they fast before a long flight they don’t have any where near the problems with jet lag. My brother used to ship tropical fish all over the world and says if they didn’t fast them they lost a lot of the fish they shipped.

As a rule I avoid recommending sedatives particularly if your dog hasn’t had prior exposure. You probably have a pretty good idea as to how your dog reacts to new experiences already, particularly hustle/bustle ones. If it has been overly stressful in the past than you might consider talking to the vet about a sedative or experimenting with some of the naturopathic remedies in advance of the trip. Either way the morning of the flight I’d try and schedule a play date or an extremely long brisk-brisk-brisk walk/trot/run. Not only will it encourage sleep afterwards I think it better balances the dogs brain chemistry for the balance of the day.

If your dog hasn’t had experience staying in a crate I’d do a little experimenting with that while driving around in a car. A 2 hour flight of howling and crate scratching is not something you, your dog, the other passengers or the airline is going to want to experience.

I recommend is a trip to the airport in advance to see how the dog reacts. I’m always telling puppy owners to take their pups to airports to get them used to the sounds.


John Wade

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