View Full Version : A messy flight!

December 29th, 2008, 01:40 PM
Hello all!

It's been a while since I've posted, as Lucy's getting older and acts like she runs the place :laugh:

However, we still managed to hike into new territory this past week, when I brought Lucy on a plane with me and took her down to Florida. I wish I had posted BEFORE that plane ride since it was kind of a nightmare -- but I figure I still better ask these questions for next time, or else!

Basically, I took Lucy in a carry-on bag, and gave her a light relaxer via my vet. It did NOTHING. Lucy has not been in a crate in a LONG time, so she was NOT happy about being in that bag. She barked and barked and barked and barked. And she's a Westie, so she's got a pretty shrieky voice! The flight attendant eventually came over and told me to take her out of the bag, so I did, and Lucy just barked some more in my lap. I knew something had to be wrong since normally she'd relax in my lap. Lo and behold -- after a few minutes, she peed on me!!!! :angry: I had taken her to go to the bathroom before we got into the airport, and the flight was only 2.5 hours, so I don't understand why she did that, or how to prevent it in the future. To make matters worse, Lucy continued barking even though she emptied herself out in my lap... she was generally a very unhappy camper!

I'm guessing for next time I have to introduce her to her bag days or even weeks before a flight... but how do I prevent this mess in the future?

December 31st, 2008, 07:31 PM
Wow, that sounds like my worst nightmare :ohmy: I always worry when I fly a dog that it will go like that. Luckily, so far all of my flights with dogs have gone well. I do think the crate acclimation is a big part of that. (not having terrors, oops I mean terriers, might be the other part ;)) You should read through our crate training article (http://www.thehousebreakingbible.com/training/crate-acclimation.htm) if you haven't already.

The other tip that I would give you is to withhold food for 12-24 and water for 4-8 hours before flying. You may want to double check with your vet on this one, but for my big dogs I don't feed for 24 hours before flying and I have never had a dog have an accident on a flight. Water is a little trickier bc the flights can be so dehydrating. I would try to get them really well hydrated the day before, but then withhold water before flying. For long flights with checked dogs, I freeze large bowls of water to clip on the crate. That way the dog can drink during the flight but wont get on with a full bladder. You have to be careful with puppies and small or old dogs, though, so make sure to confirm your food/water plan with your vet.

I have heard that you should be very careful with sedatives when flying dogs, so I have never tried using them. Sounds like yours didn't work anyway, so ask your vet if there is something different that might be effective, but still safe at high altitudes. I think a sedative makes a lot of sense for dogs that stress too much and are being carried on. For dogs being checked be careful- they can be jostled around quite a bit and the sedatives make it harder for them to balance so apparently they are more prone to injury when sedated.

Finally, make sure you do line the crate with absorbent material that you can trash should your dog soil it. Shredded newspaper is hard to beat as any waste tends to get covered on all sides and less ends up on your dog. In your case, you might also want to wear rain paints for the duration of your travels :p

Good luck in the future. Get going on your crate training so the next trip is easier on both of you.

December 31st, 2008, 09:01 PM
Yikes!! What a nightmare! :eek:

But at least she didn't need to poo...

I think Dana covered all the stuff you need to do to prevent this from happening in the future, so we'll hope your future flights go a little more smoothly!

January 1st, 2009, 10:32 AM
thanks so much for the advice, guys! I learned so much from reading that... like about the shredded newspaper, for example, and also that sedatives can be dangerous. I had no idea! Hopefully next time I will have acclimated Lucy to her crate well enough that she won't need one, though :)

and you're absolutely right -- thank goodness she didn't have to poo!! :laugh:

January 1st, 2009, 03:17 PM
I learn something on here every now and then, too... I didn't know the part about sedated dogs being more prone to injury, either.

January 2nd, 2009, 11:50 AM
I was told that by a serious dog competitor who flies dogs a lot. I haven't read any data on it, but I do trust the woman who told me. I think for dogs being carried on the sedatives may be safe and certainly could spare you some embarrassment if Lucy continues to be a screamer :blushing: I would at least mention it to the vet and ask why she wasn't sedate :laugh: