Transporting Your Puppy By Air
I appreciate your concern about sending a puppy via the airlines - it lets me know that you are caring, responsible adopters.
It took me a long time to think that sending a puppy via the airlines was an ok thing to do. After much research which included speaking with the USDA (they regulate the interstate shipping of live animals); touring and speaking with the staff at DFW airlines; speaking with other breeders and talking with people that received puppies; we decided to try it on a very limited basis. It has proved to be just fine - the puppies arrive safe and sound, and if we'd had any trouble whatsoever, we would never ship another puppy! We stay with the puppies until they are put onto the plane. They are the last things put onto the plane and the first things taken off. They do not ride with the suitcases, but travel in a climatized space that is pressurized - exactly the same as the passenger cabin where people ride! When they are taken off the plane they are brought directly to you where you are waiting for them. They travel with food and water with ice cubes and are tended to by the airline staff we've found to be caring and professional. I hope this helps!
What we have learned is that problems can occur if a puppy is not on a direct flight and there is too little time for the puppy to make the connecting flight, resulting in a delay. Extended travel times can put stress on the puppy. The ideal is to get the puppy to it's new home as quickly as possible.
So, our goal is to get our puppies on a direct flight, or second best, a two-leg flight that has plenty of time for the puppy to make the connecting flight.
We use either American Airlines Global Priority Pet Service, or Continental's PetSafe Program. These are not "cargo" offices at the airport, but are separate programs where the carriers accept and manage shipment of live animals and time-sensitive items.
Air Travel for Your Dog
(Timshell Farm takes care of everything to get your new puppy to you safe and sound!)
Developed by the Air Transport Association, with the cooperation of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Millions of animals travel safely aboard aircraft every year. Airline personnel make every effort to handle these animals with the care they deserve. This pamphlet is designed to assist you in safely transporting your pet. Please keep in mind that each airline has its own guidelines, and it is important to notify an airline about your pet travel plans as soon as possible.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets and enforces regulations for the transportation of live animals. These regulations apply to you, the shipper, as well as to the airlines. If you decide to transport your dog or cat by air, there are some points to check for compliance with applicable laws, and to assure the safest and most comfortable trip for your animal.
HOW TO SHIP BY AIR
Dogs and cats typically are transported as cargo or as accompanied baggage. Sometimes these terms create a false impression, but both describe humane means of shipping animals. What’s important to know is that you may only transport your pet as accompanied baggage if you are a passenger traveling on the same flight as your pet. In the cargo system, the animal may travel unaccompanied, either through the regular cargo channels or through a specially expedited delivery service that many airlines have developed. Many airline cargo departments have specialists in the movement of animals who can assist you with answers to questions and handle your pet with knowledge, humane care and experience.
Animals in the cargo systems are transported in the same pressurized holds as those in the checked baggage system. Some airlines allow passengers to carry their pets in the cabin of a plane if the animals are capable of fitting under the passenger’s seat. Carry-on pets are not regulated under the Animal Welfare Act. For animals other than dogs or cats, contact the airline for their acceptance policy.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER WHEN YOUR ANIMAL TRAVELS
Is your pet old enough? USDA says that your animal must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned before traveling with the airlines.
Which flights are easier on your pet? Whenever possible, book a direct, nonstop flight and avoid holiday or weekend travel. Consider schedules that minimize temperature extremes for example, try to avoid travel during excessively hot or cold periods. Morning or evening flights are preferable during the summer. In the cargo system, it is possible to reserve space on a specific flight by paying for either priority or the special expedited delivery service.
Is your pet healthy? Check with a veterinarian to be sure that your animal is fit to travel. Some species - for example pug-nosed dogs (e.g., Boxers, Boston Terriers) - simply do not fly well, because they can have difficulty breathing even under normal conditions. You will need a health certificate in order to comply with the rules of most airlines, as well as state and federal rules. Your veterinarian will be able to supply this. To be valid for your trip on most airlines, is should be issued no more than seven to ten days before departure. Be sure to check with the airline to get the exact amount of time they require before your pet’s trip.
Use of Tranquilizers. Sedation is not advised since the effects of tranquilizers on animals at higher altitudes are unpredictable. The decision to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian. If you believe some form of sedation might be helpful, be sure to obtain and follow a veterinarian’s advice.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
Do you have the right kennel? You and the airlines must follow USDA regulations on the size of kennel for your pet. The kennel must be sturdy, properly ventilated and large enough that the animal may freely stand, turn around and lie down.
The kennel must close securely with a mechanism that requires no special tools to operate. Prescribed kennels are available at pet stores and from most airlines. Remember to check with the airline when in doubt, because the USDA assigns full responsibility for accepting the proper kennel to the airline. Kennels must be provided with spacers to ensure ventilation openings are not blocked by adjoining kennels or cargo.
Is your animal comfortable in the travel kennel? As far in advance of the trip as possible, let your pet get to know the flight kennel. Veterinarians recommend leaving it open in the house with an old sock or other familiar object inside, so that your pet will spend time in the kennel. It is important for your dog or cat to be as relaxed as possible during the flight.
When your pet travels, the kennel should:
1. clearly display your name and address;
2. use arrows or other markings indicating the top of the kennel;
3. include food and water dishes (both empty) secured inside the kennel and accessible from outside;
4. show a food and water schedule and, if any food is necessary, include an ample supply in a bag attached to the outside of the kennel;
5. contain no more than one adult dog or cat; or no more than two puppies or kittens, younger than six months and under 20lbs. each;
6. contain absorbent material or bedding, such as newspaper; and
7. display labels on top and on at least one side with the words LIVE ANIMALS printed in 1-inch high letters.
Have you made advance arrangements for your pet?
At the time you book a trip on which you will bring your pet, advise the airline directly that you will have an animal. Be sure to reconfirm with the airline 24-48 hours before departure that you will be bringing an animal. If you are shipping your pet as cargo, notice of 24-48 hours should also be given to the airline. This is important, since each airplane can transport only a limited number of animals.
Please note that advance arrangements do not guarantee that your animal will travel on a specific flight. To be as humane as possible, airlines reserve the right to refuse to handle an animal for such reasons as illness or poor kenneling of the animal, or extreme temperatures at origin, transfer or destination airports.
Traveling outside the United States?
If you are flying to a foreign country or Hawaii, be sure to find out whether there are quarantine or other health requirements at the destination. For example, rules in the United Kingdom are very strict. It is essential to comply with such requirements. A full-service travel agency or pet travel service should be able to assist you with this information. You should also contact the appropriate embassy or consulate at least four weeks before the trip, to verify these requirements. You are ultimately responsible for required documentation.
READY FOR FLIGHT
Acceptance of Animals. Because they care about animals, no airline will guarantee acceptance of an animal it has not seen. This is to protect both the animal and the airline.
Since an airline cannot transport an animal that is violent or dangerous, important considerations for acceptance of animals include health and disposition of the animal. A health certificate will help to minimize questions. An airline must also determine whether all paperwork is in order and that the kennel meets all requirements.
Food and Water.
USDA requires that your pet be offered food and water within four hours before check-in with the airline. Do not overfeed your pet at this time. A full stomach is not good for a traveling pet. When you check in with the airline, you must certify with a signature the time when your pet was last offered food and water. (Do not leave food or water in the dish in the kennel; it will only spill and make travel unpleasant for your animal.)
Arrival and Check-In.
Get to the airport with plenty of time to spare so that there will be no rush. If your animal is traveling as excess baggage or by the special expedited delivery service, check-in will usually be at the passenger terminal. If you are sending your pet through the cargo system, you will need to go to the air freight terminal, which is located in a separate part of the airport. Be sure to check with your airline for the acceptance cutoff time for your flight. Note: by regulation, an animal may be tendered no more than four hours before a flight time (six hours by special arrangement).
Finally, airlines must assure that facilities are able to handle animals at the airports of transfer or final destination. USDA has set clear guidelines on allowable temperature limits for animal-holding areas, which airlines must obey.
INTERLINE TRANSFER OF ANIMALS
When pets travel as accompanied baggage, it is unlikely that one airline can check an animal through from its own system to a final destination served by another airline. Since each airline cares about and is responsible for the animals it accepts, airline agents will need to inspect the animal at the time of check-in. On a trip involving more than one airline, you will need to claim the animal at the connecting stop where you change airlines and check in your pet with the agents at the new airline. Be sure to plan adequate time for this transfer.
However, when your pet travels in the cargo system, an interline transfer is possible. Animals routed via more than one airline in the air cargo system will be transferred from one airline to the next. It is important to recognize the need to schedule adequate time for transfers between aircraft. Be sure to consult the airlines involved, since you need to make advance arrangements with the connecting airline and the minimum transfer times for cargo vary by airport and sometimes by airline.
1. It is a good idea to carry a leash with you on a trip so that you may walk your pet before check-in and after arrival. (Do not keep the leash with the animal, either inside or attached to the outside of the kennel.)
2. Do not take your pet out of its kennel inside the airport. In keeping with airport regulations and out of courtesy for other passengers, you should let your pet out only after you leave the terminal building.
3. You should clearly mark the kennel with your pet’s name.
4. In addition to showing your name and address, as required by USDA, you must mark the kennel with the telephone number of a person at the destination who can be contacted about your pet. This is especially important if you are sending your animal unaccompanied through the cargo system, because you will not be at the airport to claim your pet upon arrival. It may be helpful to contact a pet travel service to handle an unaccompanied shipment, since these services manage pick-up and delivery and can advise on quarantine requirements for international travel.
5. If your animal is traveling in the cargo system, remember that after arriving at their destination, there is a processing period for cargo, which may vary by airline and airport.
6. If you have questions, be sure to contact your airline.
ATA Publications Helpdesk
1/28/2003 9:37:00 AM
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