Traveling with your Pet can be fun once you reach your destination but getting our dog from A to B can be very nerve racking. The whole process of getting health certificates, the proper cage, padding for the crate, an ice dish and food for travel is critical. We usually only take our dog with us if we are traveling for more than 2 weeks.
Here are the steps to follow if you are going in our out of the USA:
1) Health Certificate: you will not be able to get your pet on the plane without a health certificate. Not every Veterinarian can issue the certificate in the US. They need to have a special designation that allows them to issue an international health certificate. Our dog also has a micro-chip implanted. It is required in many countries in Europe and super helpful if she ever gets lost.
2) Cage: We have an 82 lb Labrador so we purchased an X-Large Crate. All good Pet Centers have crates. The crate should be well ventilated and have enough room to turn around and stand-up. We have had crates with wheels and without. The only problem with wheels on the crate is that there is a potential for the wheel to break off which is what happened to us.
3) Crate Accessories: The Crate should have a water dish (required by the airlines) and food dish for some Kibble. The water dish should be filled with Ice. We just fill it up and stick it in the freezer the night before. We also place a thick soft mat on the bottom of the crate and some towels so that it is more comfortable. We also tape a letter of instruction for the airline which includes our dog’s name, habits, weight, our names, flight information, phone numbers and address for each location.
LUFTHANSA-We only travel with our dog on Lufthansa. They are fantastic. We have made 7 international trips with our dog and have never had any problems. Usually the flight crew will let us know that our pet is on-board and ok. In Frankfurt they have a brand new Pet Facility where they take the pet out of the cage to feed and provide water for the dog. They also let the dog out to relieve herself. We have never had a problem of any kind and I highly recommend them.
4) At the Airport: Once you arrive at the airport we usually walk her and after 7 international trips she knows this is the time to go Number 1 and 2. Most airports have a “Pet Relief” area for this purpose. Usually the airport check-in person will ask you have the paper work but will not check it. Once your tickets are issued they will ask you to pay a fee for transporting the dog. It ranges from $300 to $500. Most airports like you to wait as long as possible before putting the dog into the crate. Once you are ready to check-in someone from the airline will take you to a Security Check Point where they inspect the inside of the cage. Once they are satisfied everything is ok you can put your dog into the crate. At this point the best thing to do is walk away from the dog and allow the airline personnel to take the dog to the plane. This is the hardest part but your dog has to know you are not nervous or he/she will become nervous.
5) In Transit in Frankfurt-we usually ask about our dogs status in the Lounges or at the Information Desk.
6) Upon Arrival-Once you get out of passport control go to the part of the baggage area where they bring the dogs out. I think it is important that you get there before your dog gets out to calm her down. Also according to Customs you cannot claim that your pet is a member of your family like I have done. Customs will ask you if there is any animal food in the crate–TSA does not allow you to enter with any food in the crate.
I usually ask a family member (if they pick us up) or we purchase water. I think our dog being on the skittish side does not drink or eat anything on route. Last time our dog drank 3 small water bottles of water on arrival. Our dog is usually very anxious to get out of the cage and relieve herself.
The experience of traveling with a Pet can be nerve racking but being without our dog is really hard for us. She is part of the family!!
Hope these tips help!!!