This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle and deliver two puppies. Traveling with puppies has become second nature for us here at SPK, so I thought I’d share a bit with you all about the process.
The first and foremost necessity is a crate for the puppy. This can either be a soft type of crate, if the puppy will be traveling under the seat with you in the cabin, or a hard crate that will travel in the cargo area of the plane. On this particular trip, I had one puppy with me in the cabin, and one puppy that flew in Cargo.
When you arrive at the airport, be sure you give yourself plenty of time to get yourself and the puppy checked in. It generally adds an extra 20-30 minutes to get the puppy checked in at the gate, even if it is traveling with you in the cabin, so be sure to plan accordingly. If you are flying out of state, you will most likely need a Health Certificate, issued by your vet prior to your arrival at the airport. On this particular trip, I did not need one since the puppies were staying within the state of Washington.
If a puppy is going in cargo, the TSA people will need to meet with you before taking the puppy to be placed in the cargo area of the plane. This is usually in a back room, and they will ask you to take your puppy out of the crate so they can check for anything that looks abnormal. This is generally a simple process, but be ready. If you take your puppy out of the crate at any time during your stay at the airport, people will flock to you wanting to pet your puppy. If you don’t want anyone touching your puppy because it is too young and has not received all necessary vaccinations, be ready to sound rude.
I briefly allowed my friend’s puppy, that I was delivering on this trip, to pop it’s head out of the soft carried and a lady almost came running over when she saw it. I did NOT want her to touch the puppy, and so before she got close enough, I said, “This puppy has not received all of it’s vaccinations yet”, thinking this would cause her to slow down and wait for my lead. But NO, this did not happen. Instead, she came swooping in saying, “Oh, that’s all right”, and proceeded to caress my puppy’s head, nose, mouth, running her fingers all around it’s eyes, all the while telling me about the poodle she had just visited at her relative’s home. Acckkk. I kept thinking, “DON’T TOUCH MY DOG”, but never did have the courage to actually say anything.
I saw another breeder once that had a cute sign taped to the kennel that basically, in a nice way said, “Don’t Touch My Puppy”, but I hadn’t taken the time to make one myself. So, if you feel you must take your puppy out of it’s carrier, take cover in a bathroom stall or something if you don’t want airport strangers handling it.
Once you board the plane, with your carry-on puppy, you will not be allowed to take it out of the crate. So far, this has not been an issue at all for me. I always put a potty pad in the carrier, just in case the puppy does have an accident, and I am always armed with Baby Wipes. The puppy may wimper or cry for a bit, but once the plane engines start, and you’re rolling down the runway, the puppy generally settles down and sleeps basically the entire trip. This was a quick flight, but even on my trips to CA, the puppies have slept pretty much the entire time.
Once the plane lands, prepare yourself for an unhappy puppy. When it wakes up, it will need to pee, and you will probably not have enough time to get off the plane to let it out of the crate. This makes for an unhappy puppy that does not want to soil it’s crate, but there is generally nothing you can do but make it wait and/or have an accident in the crate. But this is why there is a potty pad and baby wipes, so you can take care of the mess immediately.
For me, when I finally arrive, I am always greeted with eager and happy people that have anticipated this moment, sometimes for months! These are the wonderful people that I met last weekend!