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bardsley
 bardsley
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March 31, 2007 1:40 pm  

hi all!

has anyone had experience with shipping a dog in the summer months? i have found tons of posts about shipping animals but still have some questions. how on earth do you ship a dog to the vi when the airlines have heat restrictions in place? from what i understand, the forecast is rarely below 85... especially in the summer. how strict are the airlines? do they make exceptions for tropical climates? i plan to move in july and hope to bring my best friend right away! any advice would be great.

erin


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MegC
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March 31, 2007 1:46 pm  

I have also been researching this extensively as we have to be on STX for a new job in August. The best I can find is a late evening flight to San Juan, spend the night in a dog friendly hotel and then hope to get an early morning flight to whichever island you are going to before the teperature rises too high. It's not fool-proof, but it's the best I have come up with.


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Becky R
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March 31, 2007 1:57 pm  

Please, please talk to the animal transport people with the airlines. And everyone you talk to may give you a different answer.....but when we flew ours out, the rule was not whether it was evening or midday - whether you could get the dog out depended on the projected HIGH for that day, no matter what time. We ended up chartering a plane off STX to Puerto Rico, then getting on a Continental flight for Houston (Continental has heated and cooled transport areas). If you can make arrangements, GET THE NAME OF THE PERSON YOU TALKED TO and ask for a confirmation note via fax or email. The people at the ticket counter still have the right to refuse you if they judge the temp to be too hot, but at least you have something to argue your point with. Going into STX was much easier even thought it was September, but that was when the larger planes were flying in that could accommodate the huge Series 500 crates we had for our Rottweilers.....we paid our friends' and relatives' airfare just to accompany all of our hounds to the island. Now that USAir isn't flying in there anymore, you are really limited.

Once you get to Puerto Rico coming in, the airlines are less caught up in the whole temp thing - they realize it's not going to drop below 85......however, please consider your pet's comfort as well. During transfers they may be in their crate on the tarmac, where the temp can be 20 degrees hotter. If you have a mid sized dog, if you can get to PR, take the seaplane - they are GREAT and only charge like $10, but you do have to reserve space for your crate.

Consider leaving your dog/cat at home and having the next available relative or friend fly them down when the weather changes stateside......I know it's tough to leave them behind, but it's better than possibly being turned away at the airport, or - heaven forbid - something actually happening to your pet because of the temperature.


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stxem
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March 31, 2007 2:02 pm  

Cape Air is also really good about taking dogs to STX from PR. You may want to check them out.


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campilates
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April 2, 2007 4:11 am  

Hi,

we are planning on moving to St.Croix in the fall, we have 2 dogs. There is information on this website. You need to contact the airlines, some won't except dogs and most have restrictions. I have flown dogs before in the past. Back then, airlines wern't so strict. Today they are - rightfully so.

I would suggest flying early am and directly! Also, give your dog a sedative...(your vet will supply). If he is your best friend, DON'T TAKE ANY CHANCES! This can be extremely stressful for an animal. Make sure you have a comfortable crate for your dog, toys etc.

$ shouldn't be an issue. Their unconditional love can't be replaced.

Cheers,
Cameron/dog lover


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Becky R
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April 2, 2007 10:23 am  

Cam, the airlines will not take a dog, at least in the baggage/freight area, if it appears to have been sedated without good reason from the vet. The actions and effects of sedation change at high altitudes. There are some natural things you can try - Rescue Remedy, available at Petsmart, is one...it is an herbal but is sort of a puppy/kitty Valium.

The only thing I'm not too sure about is the toys issue.....it seems to me that wasn't allowed, but it may have changed in the last year. When leaving the States, we had to remove our dogs from their crate and they had to be scanned, and their crate had to be physically examined and scanned as well. The water dish has to be able to attach to the wire door...you have to have some type of absorbent padding in the bottom of the crate. There are quite a few regs, but at the time we traveled, I believe toys were prohibited (I guess from the danger of possible choking?)

There is a lot of info already posted - some of it is admittedly dated, since things change from time to time - but I can't recommend heartily enough talking with someone in the transport department who acts as if they have a clue and then getting their name or airline I.D. number - better is to have them fax you confirmation that you have spoken and, based on the info provided to everyone, the transport will "fly" (so to speak!). If you call 3 different times, you may get 3 different answers - that's why I've always said, when you get the answer you want, have it confirmed in writing! The regular ticket agents that ticket the very small dogs through with a passenger usually know what they are doing in that regard, but when it comes to shipping a larger dog, best to talk to the people who handle the crates.

If I had it to do over again, I would also put my dogs' names, flight numbers, my name, and my cell number and vet number on a sheet of paper, slip it into a plastic sleeve, and tape it to the top of the crate. You can't be too careful.
And be SURE at every leg of your journey to have the stewardess confirm with the baggage handlers that the dog is on board before you ever leave the gate - it gives you some measure of comfort. I can't say enough good things about our trips to and fro with our herd - everyone was incredibly generous to a fault and went out of their way to make sure that the nervous mom or persona accompanying the dog was informed about the condition of the dog and where it was at in the moving process.

I think maybe the sedation should be for the two-legged and not the four-legged. My dogs did great - I, on the other hand, was a total wreck....


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Betty
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April 3, 2007 9:40 am  

I was a total wreck as well. It was an incredibly stressful day, because I was so worried about my dogs. But I am completely nutty (with love) when it comes to my angels. If you can fly continental part of the way (to PR) do it because they often have a/c cargo holds for dogs. You can always get cape air to fly you the rest of the way. We were lucky enough to get American to fly us straight thru from California but by the time we got to this side of the globe it was night and much cooler. Do not panic at baggage claim, most likely your pets will be the last thing they put on the the belt. And yes they do put them on the baggage belt at lest in stx.


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Melody
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April 5, 2007 12:05 pm  

If it were not for Cape Air I do not know what I would have done.


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kellymac
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April 7, 2007 3:33 am  

we used American Airlines during September one year and the next in July. We chose early morning flights and we didn't have any issues. We just communicated with the flight attendants that we had dogs on board and could we watch them get loaded/unloaded and kept a close eye on the temperature. When it was too hot on the last leg to STT they did it anyways and kept them in the shade for us until it was time to load. They were great for us. Be prepared to see your precious babies unloaded like the luggage on the carousel... We chose to give our dogs a light sedative to relax them and they were perfectly fine.


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Trade
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April 7, 2007 10:33 am  

Sleep in an old t-shirt & put it in the crate with the animal. Your scent will comfort him/her.


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bardsley
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April 7, 2007 12:03 pm  

that makes me feel so much better that you were able to ship your dogs in the summer!! i will be moving in mid-july and finding someone here to take my 100lb black lab until the weather cools has been a challenge. luckily, i live near the ny metro area so direct flights are not a problem... any other advice would be great! my fear is that i will arrive at the airport, dog in tow, ready to move and they will refuse to take him. has this ever happened to anyone?

erin


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stxem
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April 7, 2007 1:41 pm  

There is a weight restriction for large dogs checked as baggage for some airlines. Not sure whichairlines, or what the weight limit is, but you may want to make sure your airline accepts dogs that big.


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Becky R
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April 7, 2007 1:42 pm  

Rent a car for 24 hours, Erin - that's the safest way to make sure you will get to wherever it is you are headed....- I am assuming from your post you are referring to taxi drivers refusing to take the dog? This was discussed in a recent thread about taxi drivers refusing due to dog hair and allergies....and large dogs are not always appreciated by the West Indian population anyway.....I'd just rent the car and forget to mention the dog to the rental agency. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. If you don't know where you are headed, you'd best get on the move to look for a pet friendly somewhere. Ain't always easy.

........just saying what I'd do, not saying it's necessarily the right thing to do.


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Becky R
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April 7, 2007 1:44 pm  

Used to be 100 lbs. including the crate weight. Dunno what it is now, but make sure with that large of a dog that you tell the airline people what size crate you will be checking, which I assume is a Series 500 or so. Some planes cannot transport that size, although out of NY metro I doubt you will run into that problem.


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IslandGroove4me
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April 8, 2007 1:49 am  

ha, good one becky r, about not telling and then begging - sure better to work than asking in the beginning - also, this one good for a laugh, one lady at american airlines told me i could keep my yorkie in my lap, oh, sure, a dog that small, she said, no problem (3 lbs). i was like, ok, and how long have you worked there ma'am? i might will have to pull the becky r and hide my baby under my shirt to start .... hmm.......


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campilates
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April 9, 2007 4:08 am  

thanks, for your information. I am Confused by your saying that - airlines don't allow dogs. The only way to fly dogs (of large size) is in the baggage. I have been researching this for awhile.

You have to be careful and follow through.

I have an "anxious" Golden Retriever, the only way I could put her on a plane would include a sedative. She is epileptic and stress causes her seizures. I have no choice. Believe me, that this is the last thing I want to do. She is my child...

cameron


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Betty
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April 9, 2007 4:22 am  

Read that whole sentance again cam, shes just saying airlines won't fly your dog if its been sedated without good reason. Obviously your dog as medical reasons to be sedated. Just make sure to have a letter/form from him/her explaining that.

Its a danger for airlines and pet owners for them to fly pets that are too highly sedated. The airlines for example need to water (especially) and feed our pets if it is a long journey. Most airlines do not have a/c cargo holds and they can get dehydrated very quickly and most sedatives tend to dry you out as well. As well as all the other things that can go wrong.

It was such a stressful day when we moved ours...I wish everyone the best of luck that is doing it.


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dougtamjj
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April 9, 2007 4:45 am  

Please listen to Becky R. She has much experience with transporting animals to the VI. We have 3 large dogs two at 150lbs and 1 at 135lbs. If it wasn't for Becky we would not have gotten them here on STX. Continental is the only airline we found that could transport our animals. They have airconditioned and heated cargo area for animals. Go to their website and click on transporting animals. Call that number and talk to Patrick. he is great. Our Dogs had an overnight stay in Houston TX where they have an onsite kennel. From Houston they went to Puerto Rico. We chartered a plane from there to STX. The lady who arranged that for us was Lauren. Becky, do you still have her number? The pilot on our chartered plane let our dogs out of their crates and they had full run of the plane. He also helped my husband walk them and give them water before their flight. Super guy. Houston took great care of our dogs as well and they were in great shape when they arrived in PR. You can also call the Kennel in Houston and they will give you an update on how your dogs are doing if you aren't traveling with them. If you are traveling with them, I think it only cost an extra 100 dollars to transport them. Becky correct me if I am wrong. I hope this helps.


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Becky R
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April 9, 2007 9:52 am  

Lauren @ 340-626-1703

It changed regarding fees at some point between taking the dogs down in 2005 and bringing them back in 2006 - Continental flew them from PR to Houston and it cost an arm and a leg - Like $2300 total besides the private plane and booking two vans out of Houston and driving them to west central Arkansas (oh, what fun memories I am recalling......ICK) - but then again, I have enormous dogs.

Lauren is a pilot as well and was setting up her own charter business of STT when she made my arrangements - couldn't have been sweeter and stayed in contact. I don't know if she got it off the ground, so to speak, or is still just arranging transfers. She was awaiting FAA approval or something.

When you talk to Continental, talk to International Transport.... I wasted a lot of time talking to people who didn't have a clue since they were only familiar with stateside transfers.


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Becky R
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April 9, 2007 11:02 am  

One reason airlines don't want dogs sedated is that even in controlled environments the medication changes properties and can have different effects.....get a letter from your vet stating that the medication is necessary, exactly what has been given, doseage, and why it was given, and put a copy in the plastic sleeve with your contact info. Keep a copy of everything with you on the plane. The airlines reserve the right to remove your animal and have it treated at your expense by a vet - if an emergency came up and they had to move your animal quickly, the info would all be there in one place for the treating vet.

I am sure you are going to go through this without a hitch - still, you sound much like myself, always worried the sky is falling........I felt like I was a bit obsessed and drove the airline people nuts while moving mine, but I figured they got paid to make calls to baggage for me to assure everyone a safe and reasonably sane flight... they probably didn't feel the same way..... 🙂 I can't stress enough how many people went out of their way for us with all airlines, Cape Air, and Seaborne, as well as the chartered plane.


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Anonymous
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April 9, 2007 4:26 pm  

When we shipped our dog to STT, our vet told us that sedation for the flight was a bad idea, especially in the heat. She said that if the dog is sedated, he can not paint to cool himself off and could possible overheat. I am not sure if this is true or not, but seems to make sense.


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Onika
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April 9, 2007 5:24 pm  

Cam, ask your doc about anti-anxiety meds for your dog. I used those for our kitties and they didn't knock them out (like a sedative would), but did allow them to be a little less, well, anxious! They were still conscious and aware of their surroundings though


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Anonymous
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April 9, 2007 6:30 pm  

We went through this with our dog on the way and on the way back to the states. The big airlines will take over 100 pounds but American Eagle to the Islands won't. My husband had to spend the night in San Juan because of the dog. The only way we could get her over was by FOUR STAR AIR CARGO. However, when we came back to the states American Eagle said that she and her crate were under 100 pounds and that they could take her. Just make sure that you check everything out carefully. Just some information for y9ou and your dog. Oh by the way - my vet and the airlines say not to sedate the animals, it just causes more stess. My dog and cats were just fine without any medication. As for the heat I agree that a night flight would be best. Good Luck


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bethburnett70
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April 9, 2007 11:44 pm  

I just want to second the motion that Becky is the absolute queen of dog shipping by now. Trust me, if it has something to do with dog shipping, she has researched it. Please, please ask your vet about sedation, don't do it without express permission from vet, plus, as was said ealier, a note from the vet explaining everything to do with it.

I am so glad that when we came here, we had friends bring our cats to us. I didn't see the kitties until they were off the plane and by then, they were so happy to see me, the trauma was over. Hats off to those of you who move your own pets... I think I would be more of a nervous wreck than the animals.


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Becky R
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April 9, 2007 11:50 pm  

Why is it I never pictured myself as the Queen of Dog Shipping? Well, with 7 dogs, if you change two letters in that last word, you get closer to the real picture......

Thanks for the nice words, Beth - 6 weeks and counting down!


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