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Long Haul Air Travel for a Dog

(19 Posts)
Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 14:50:49

Hello oh wise and knowledgeable dog owners. I need some advice (and maybe a slap).

I am an experienced dog owner, but don’t own any here in the UK (London) for two reasons. The first is that previously i always worked full-time, and that didn’t seem fair (even with a dog walker on the payroll). Secondly I am from Australia, and I expect to go back eventually. I”ve been in the UK now for almost 10 years, but expect to head back to Sydney within the next two years. And the idea of putting a dog on a long haul flight just fills me with fear (I had a friend who did this, and one of her dogs was never the same again).

Anyway, now that i’m self-employed/ working from home, to fill that doggy shaped hole in my heart, i thought the perfect solution was to foster dogs for a charity. Dogs who have often come from less ideal circumstances or been abandoned. This way they don’t have to stress in kennels, and i can try help them improve/overcome any issues they may have due to their less than great beginnings.

So far so good.....

So......i am in danger of committing the dog fostering 101 cardinal sin of falling in love with one of my fosters. We have totally bonded.

So herein lies my problem. Is it horrible selfish of me to want to keep the dog, knowing at some point in the future i would need to put her in a crate on a long haul flight across the world? More to the point, have any of you ever done that? Or know anyone who has? Is that a terribly traumatic thing to do to a dog? Your opinions please.

Obviously if this is not in the dog’s best interests, then i will step away. So feel free to give me a slap and tell me it’s a terrible and selfish idea if necessary. I need some honest opinions!


idontlikealdi Thu 22-Sep-16 14:56:32

Hard one. When I was a kid we had to relocate to the ME. We decided to re-home our dogs, they would not have coped with the quarantine and flight. In some weird twist they actually got re-homed to my mum when she came back six years later.

Maybe it depends on the dog but ours couldn't cope with kennels never mind quarantine. Would they have to go to quarantine in Australia?

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 15:04:29

Hi idontlikealdi The dog would need to be in quarantine in Australia for 10 days. I have less issue with this aspect, as i could visit it everyday.

massivearse Thu 22-Sep-16 15:05:41

Could you not drive?

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 15:06:47

The dog in question is fairly chilled out (well in comparison to other dogs i have known). But in fairness any dog is going to find it incredibly stressful. I could get the travel crate months in advance, keep it at home and get her used to it (association with treats and other good things). But that can only do so much....

Motherfuckers Thu 22-Sep-16 15:07:12

I would say no, I have relocated with pets, but never as far as Australia. Even during short flights (up to 8 hours) there is still a lot of waiting around and they are in their crates for many extra hours. (18 hours for a six hour flight!) The crate cannot be opened until they reach their final destination and all paperwork completed, they may be offered water but mine were not. The whole process is incredibly traumatic for animals, not to mention ridiculously expensive and time consuming. I think at this stage you should put the dog first, he can bond with another family, and forget your own needs.

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 15:08:23

Hi massivearse i don’t believe they have yet invented a road vehicle that can travel those sorts of distances over water..... grin

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 15:08:54

I have even checked out cruise ships... but largely they don’t allow pets either (well one does only for a specific route to the US).

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 15:09:43

Ok thanks mother, that’s the kind of thing i need to hear.

Localher0 Thu 22-Sep-16 15:22:33

We relocated from the US back to the UK with our dog. It all went very smoothly - we used a pet relocation company to make sure all the paperwork was done properly and he was delivered to our door the day he arrived. My BIL also took his from Canada to Australia with no problems.

fakenamefornow Thu 22-Sep-16 15:28:57

I remember seeing a (small) dog on a plane in the cabin once. Family moving abroad and the dog was allowed to be in the cabin with them and could get out at airports. I think it was Turkish Airways neither start nor finish was in the UK though.

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 15:36:06

Hi fake, yes some airlines (mainly american ones i think) allow small dogs in the cabin (assuming toy breeds). Unfortunately the dog in question is probably around the 12-14kg mark, so would not qualify. I believe she would have to go ‘Cargo’.

tabulahrasa Thu 22-Sep-16 15:44:31

I know people that have taken dogs to New Zealand and it seemed fairly straight forward and their dogs are fine.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 22-Sep-16 16:15:04

I have had two colleagues emigrate taking between them three dogs and two cats to Australia and New Zealand.
Actually they do very well they are last on and first off.
Do not underestimate the cost the colleague who went to Aus took just one dog the process for the dog cost more than him and his partner doing the trip with two weeks in the Maldives of the way!

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 16:52:06

Thanks local tabulala & lonecat it’s good to hear some success stories. I think my view was also tainted once when transiting through Joberg i heard a dog making heartbreaking wails while being trollied through the terminal. It sort of stuck with me. But i may be focusing on the horror stories, rather than the successes.
I guess i’m just concerned that maybe it’s an inherently selfish decision to keep the dog, when she has an option to be rehomed in the UK and (one hopes) not have to be put on a plane. I realise while of course i think she would be much much happier with me (and that our bond is special wink) the reality is she will likely equally bond and settle with another owner/ family. So it’s a difficult one.

Berniethewonderdog Thu 22-Sep-16 16:55:05

And yes i’m aware of the rather heart-stopping costs of transporting a dog (and all associated costs) long haul....

And yet i’m still thinking about it.....

tabulahrasa Thu 22-Sep-16 17:23:51

I guess i’m just concerned that maybe it’s an inherently selfish decision to keep the dog, when she has an option to be rehomed in the UK and (one hopes) not have to be put on a plane."

Well don't forget that rehoming isn't stress free for a dog, it's worth it for them longterm, but you could say the same about relocating them smile

user1474539059 Fri 23-Sep-16 14:23:26

Could you talk to any airlines you are likely to use? They may reassure you that it would be fine, or convince you not to do it.

Dogs are adaptable and bounce back from things, the dog may be a bit off for a week or two after but I cannot see there being lasting damage!

I am sure if you do lots of preparation to make sure what you can control goes smoothly, get the dog happy in the crate etc you should be fine. Our dogs know 'stay guard' which means 'hang in tight, we are coming back'.

Bakesale Sun 25-Sep-16 10:46:05

I just made the move 4 months ago from UK to Australia with 2 dogs - 10 days quarantine then another domestic flight to where we live. They made it relatively unscathed - one cut his paw in transit and took a few weeks to be ok again - he was pretty unsettled and a few behavioural issues surfaced, although once we were settled he calmed down too. The other dog sailed through with no issues.
The quarantine staff were good at updating us on the dog who injured himself, but I don't believe you can visit them now it's only 10 days. It's a very expensive, very detailed & involved, very stressful process BUT I am glad I undertook it when I see my two running around like loons on the beach but I won't ever contemplate doing it again.

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