Air Travel with Your Dog from the UK

 dog airtravelSo many people seem to think that it is complicated to travel with your dog on an airplane. In fact, it is quite simple when you know how.

For the UK if you are going abroad.The first thing to do is to apply to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Government Buildings, Block B, Hook Rise South, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey, or telephone Derwent 6611 for the regulations applying to the country to which the puppy is to be sent.

Each country has different restrictions but it is a simple matter to enquire and find out what they are. The Ministry will be able to give you all the up-to-date information and if a licence is found to be necessary they will send you the appropriate form to fill in

You will then know at once whether the puppy has to be vaccinated with Rabies vaccine before export, or if he requires a blood test or anv other stipulated requirement. An early enquiry can save delays later. Some countries offer more complications than others. Finland, for instance, requires a faeces test. Dogs sent to Denmark have to be accompanied by a statement sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths that they have not left the breeder’s premises; and when I sent the first two Golden Retrievers ever to go to the Argentine, they had to be accompanied by passport photographs.

Apart from any necessary injections a Health Certificate must be obtained from a veterinary surgeon approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. This must he signed a stipulated number of days before the dog is exported, but to qualify for it the puppy may need some preliminary immunisation or treatment so it is as well to enquire some time in advance. A form on which to apply for an export pedigree must he obtained from the Kennel Club and returned with a fee. In the case of a male dog, the form must be signed by a veterinary surgeon as having examined the dog and found both testicles descended into the scrotum. If possible the export pedigree should he sent with the puppy but this is not absolutely necessary.

Book the puppy on a direct flight if possible wherever it is going. If you are not going to use an agent to send the puppy then a travelling box (crate) must either be obtained beforehand or arrangements made for it to he delivered to the cargo department of the airline being used. Travelling boxes(crates) are made in various sizes of light weight material to a specification laid down by the authorities and the box should be of a size which will allow the dog sufficient freedom and room to stand up and turn around.

Although I have done much of my own exporting in the past I think that nowadays it is better to use a good export agent of repute who will take care of all the details and provide the travelling box. They are experts at the job and will deliver the puppy to the airport and notify the purchaser in advance of the time of arrival. Sometimes a puppy or grown dog may be going on a long distance flight such as to Australia or New Zealand. This must be done through an agent as quarantine kennels have to be booked in the country to which the dog is going and a special kennel is required which is sealed before take-off and must not be opened until the animal is examined by the veterinary authorities on arrival. If the plane is delayed in any country during the journey and the kennel is opened, then the dog will have to be flown back to this country and put into quarantine kennels for six months. –

If an agent is handling your puppy it can be delivered the day before the flight to his kennels. If he is a bad car traveller this will give him time to get over this part of the journey and allow him to have a good meal and sleep before taking off the next day, especially if You use an agent whose kennels are close to the airport.

If you are handling the puppy yourself and have either written or phoned the airline which you have decided to use they will have told you the flight number and airway bill number. Most airlines insist on payment at the time of despatch, but it is sometimes possible for payment to be made on arrival by the new owner if you give the airline the name and address of the person to whom the puppy is going about ten days prior to the flight.

All you have to do now is to arrive at the airport about three hours before the flight. This means rather a long wait so I have the puppy weighed in his travelling box, then take him out again and put him in the car while I go back and complete the necessary formalities.

It is generally possible to find a piece of grass nearby on which to give the puppy a last minute run and I take with me some raw beef and a flask of egg and milk to give him before he finally goes hack in the travelling box.

In case of an early morning flight, or an unexpected cancellation, arrangements can he made for the puppy to stay overnight at the R. S.P.C.A. kennels attached to the airport and he put on the flight the next day. Advance notice of this should be given if possible.

I have found on enquiry that the puppies and adults which I have sent on long journeys by air have arrived quite clean and in excellent spirits.

Some people recommend giving a tranquillizer before sending them off. I have never thought this to be necessary with a Golden Retriever but it is probably advisable with some very highly sensitive breeds.

One of the most amusing journeys by air on which I sent a dog was from our local airfield. I had an English Setter bitch on which I had spent a fortune using the best stud dogs available and each time the puppies faded out after a few days. I finally decided to give her away to an army officer who was involved in air reconnaissance and stationed about eighty miles away. He rang me up and asked me to meet him with the dog at the airfield. When I arrived I discovered that it was an open biplane. This took place some years ago. Not the least disturbed, the bitch was placed on the back seat and with a complete air of disdain soared into the air like Dismal Desmond sitting on a magic carpet.

Some while later I heard that she had been accidentally mated to a Labrador and when the puppies arrived I went to see them. She had ten perfectly healthy black puppies none of which had any intention of fading out and this was the only really healthy litter she ever reared. I had managed to save one or two from earlier litters but it had been a heart breaking job seeing them die one after another.