Traveling with Pets

I’m planning to attend the Plone Conference 2008, in Washington DC, later this year.

I have already visited the US in June, when I attended the Plone Symposium in New Orleans. On that occasion, I stayed in the US for ~30 days. This time around I was planning to bring my wife and dog (the cute Yorkie pictured at the top of this blog).

One thing that worries me though is that I’ve never took my pet on any flights, so I have no idea how pet-friendly airlines are. Just to get from Sao Paulo to the US (Houston) it’s a ~9:30h flight. My dog is usually cool with traveling. Earlier this year I drove nearly 8h to the beach and we stopped twice on the way, but she did not pee until we arrived at the destination.

So I’m putting this out there, looking for any feedback from people that took their pets on flights.

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4 thoughts on “Traveling with Pets

  1. I’d be surprised if they let you take the pet at all. Usually, countries have long quarantine periods when transferring pets between countries to contain the spread of rabies and other pet-related diseases.

    Which usually means that your dog would have to spend 2-8 weeks in isolation until you get it back.

    I’m sure a quick search can clear up any misunderstandings I have, though. I know it’s that way in Norway, at least.

  2. Assuming they approve your pet for travel, each airline has different requirements for pets. It’s easiest if you can book your flight all on one airline, otherwise you have to check rules for all the airlines you fly on. Most airlines will require (at the very least) a certification to fly from a veterinarian. When you book your flight, you have to notify the airline you are bringing a pet. So if you book online, call customer service with your confirmation number and tell them ahead of time.
    First, check the weight rules. In the US, if the pet is under 16 pounds you can fly with it in the cabin. You just need to get a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Check out Sherpa (www.sherpapet.com) for the nicest soft sided carriers. Delta airlines has an official Sherpa case that is definitely airline approved. (I’ve also found that Delta is very accommodating for pet travel.) I line the case with those puppy pad absorbent liners, just in case, and make sure the critter has plenty of water and food.
    If your dog is over 16 pounds, you will have to put her in cargo. In this case, you’ll have to have a hard carrier, with specific stickers and labels. You’ll have to trust your pet in the hands of baggage throwers, which personally makes me nervous. Most airlines make sure that the pet is in a climate controlled portion of the cargo part of the plain but even then, you can only fly with a pet in cargo during certain seasons. (ie: not when it’s too hot or too cold)
    Some people drug their pets when flying but the airlines prefer you don’t. Something to do with the pressurization and drugs may cause heart issues. Talk to your vet.
    As for finding a pet friendly place to stay…sites that specialize in hotel searches usually have an option to check when searching for deals. They will be harder to find so you may also want to consider alternatives like renting a condo for a week or finding someone with an extra room in a house.
    Can you tell I’ve done this before? :)
    Good luck!

  3. Hi, I saw your post and wondered how you made out. I am travelling to Sao Paulo from the U.S. in a month to set up a new office for my company and want to take my Yorkie. Any tips as to how you made out will be much appreciated. -Matt

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