Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

Dogs on a Plane!

on March 26, 2009

We will soon be introducing Jasmine to New England.  To do so, we have to traverse the U.S. via the friendly skies.  Uh oh.

I have a Sherpa bag given to me by a woman on Freecycle.  It’s the perfect size for Jasmine and has roll-up windows to give her a view and ventilation without letting her out.  It’s sturdy and nice.  However, I’m not sure how she’s going to react to the trip.

I called my vet to get Jasmine’s medical records and to discuss the value of sedating her for the trip.  The vet told me that sedation on a plane is not healthy for the dog–it can cause low blood pressure and a decrease in heart rate–not the best thing.  IF a dog is stressed or way too manic, a little Benedryl (dosed for the size of the dog, of course) could be okay to get her sleepy.  I am chosing not to sedate her in any way.  We’re going on the redeye to Boston out of San Francisco, so it should be a quiet and calm trip (I hope).  With me there and the lights out, I’m hoping Jasmine has an uneventful trip.

Have you taken your pup in the cabin of a plane?  How was the trip?  I have the priviledge of paying $100 each way for taking Jasmine with me.  Given that my air fare was only $250, I would have gladly paid the extra $50 to get her a seat.  No dice.

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9 responses to “Dogs on a Plane!

  1. Lacey says:

    HI! I’ve taken my dachshund on planes internationally, so hopefully I can help. My dog reacted really well to being in the bag. I would suggest taking her on some short car rides in it before hand so she can get used to it. If you have never given her benadryl before, the plane is not a good place to start. Dachshunds react different to benadryl (for example, mine pukes her guts out). If you think she is nervous during flight, you can hold the bag in your lap and maybe even stick your arm inside to keep her company. I’m sure she will do just fine. It will be over before you know it!

    • mwdonnelly says:

      Thanks Lacey. Yes, I’m a bit nervous about this. But hubby will be with us, so we’ll have two of us to deal with it. On the way back, though, I’ll be on my own. But I’ll have experience with her on the plane and I’ll know what to expect. Both ways are direct flights (thank goodness), so it will minimize the time that she’s in the carrier. She’s such a good girl…she just trusts me and adapts–no matter what. I did rule out the Benadryl for that very reason–I don’t want to give her meds for the first time on the plane, and I don’t want to sedate her for no reason. As long as I’m close, I’m confident that she’ll do well. Thanks again!

  2. Rachel says:

    My dachshund was a frequent flyer from an early age. When I lived in NYC and she did not have an opportunity to ride in a car frequently, but she did just fine on a plane (ugh, I did dread the car rides to the airport!). My sister’s dachshund (my dog’s brother) was horrible on planes, eating his way out of the flight bags repeatedly. That may have been impacted by her anxiousness while traveling by air. When he flew with her husband alone, he was fine. I also drove with my doxie a few times to the Midwest alone all in one very long day. I would strongly recommend that if you don’t have one yet, you purchase a dog car seat, the “lookout seat” also became a favorite dog bed away from home. It was also the end of car sickness!

    From my experience I would recommend that:
    -you let Jasmine explore the bag for a few days before the first trip by leaving it open with a blanket or a nice piece of fleece inside. My doxie has a small stuffed animal that goes in the bag every time and her favorite squeak rubber toy (you will either get some smiles or looks to kill – on second thought, since it’s a red eye you may not want to have a squeaky toy).
    -have an extra blanket to place between the bag and the colder areas. I always choose the window seat to avoid traffic, it gets cold below the seat and as we all know dachshunds are much happier when warm and snugly.
    – if there is a delay ask about taking her out, I have been surprised that agents have taken me on the runway to let my dog relieve herself. The princess however, insists on grass….
    -after a couple of flight hours ask either for a cup of water or ice for jasmine to suck. I also bring plenty of treats.
    -sometimes flight attendants want to see a cute dog like Jasmine, my problem became getting her to get back in the bag. Sometimes, if you have a way to harness the dog to your seat belt (if you have a doggy car seat, you can use the part that you clip to the harness) they will let you keep the dog on your lap under a blanket.
    -I have a friend that keeps her foot in the bag with her yorkie during the flight, I have not tried it.
    -also, you will most likely need a health certificate from your vet.

    Good luck with your move!

    • mwdonnelly says:

      We’re taking American Airlines and they don’t require a health certificate (per their web site). However, I did get her full vet history and will keep it with me–just in case.

      Rachel, thanks for the tips. She’s been sniffing the bag and has pulled the fleece lining out to try to chew on it. However, she has not gone inside the bag yet. Hm. At least it has mesh windows so she can see me. I’m hoping they will let me keep the bag on our laps and my hand in the bag even though the regulations say that she has to stay under the seat. We’ll see. The extra blanket recommendation is stellar. I know that the floor can get VERY chilly.

      I really appreciate your comments and your suggestions. I’m hoping we get dog-lover flight attendants who will take pity on Jasmine and let her have a pleasant trip. Luckily, Jasmine is ultra-quiet. It also doesn’t hurt that she is very cute (okay, so I’m biased, but she IS adorable). 🙂

  3. MA says:

    Hi! I can’t offer any advice because I’ve never had to take Kona on a plane before, but wanted to wish you good luck! hopefully she’ll do well :-). Let us know how she does!!

  4. Kelli says:

    I just travelled from Chicago to Philadelphia with my rescued doxie Cooper. He was a very good boy, once I got him in his bag. He didn’t make any noises during the flight and I made sure to give him a bit of water and treats every once in awhile.

    You definitely want to practice getting Jasmine into her bag, both for you and her. You will have to carry her through the metal detectors at security and can’t have a leash on her. I travelled by myself and found it challenging to hold Cooper, slide the bags through the x-ray machine, then collect all my belongings, and get him back in the bag. One bit of advice: have your leash out in one of the bins, so you can put Jasmine on her leash once you get through the metal detector. That will give you a bit flexability to collect everything. And definitely have LOTS of treats ready.

    It might go without saying, but exercise your dog a lot the day of the flight, so she is nice and tired for the trip.

    Check out this site for dog friendly areas at airports around the US: http://www.petfriendlytravel.com/?page=airports

    GOOD LUCK!!

    • mwdonnelly says:

      Kelli,

      Thanks so much for the tips! Yes, getting a squirmy dog back into a crate…not so easy. At least hubby will be with me on the outbound flight! I don’t care who is behind me, how long it takes, etc. We’re going to go through this with calm assurance. I know if I get nervous, she will pick up on it.

      Also, thanks for the link. Both SFO and Boston have dog-friendly places to go.

      Boy, Jasmine’s followers are so awesome…

      Thanks!

  5. mwdonnelly says:

    I wanted to thank everyone who gave me such wonderful advice. Jasmine came through the flight with flying colors…she was wonderful throughout the trip! I appreciate all your advice and your help…it made the entire trip much easier and less stressful for all of us! Thank you!!!

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