taking a dog to Europe

My question boils down to this: how does the dog relieve itself during the transatlantic flight? Our dog is small enough (12.5 lbs) to qualify for in-cabin transportation. We like Air France and have read that they're good with pets. I understand that he can't get out of the carrier at any time during the flight but I'm assuming I can reach in and comfort him. Still, how does he relieve himself?

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6824 posts

There will be a special button on your seat next to the flight-attendant call button. Once pressed the pilot land the aircraft on the nearest aircraft carrier, the doors will open and you can walk you dog along the flight deck of of the USS Nimitz:) But seriously.....the dog will have to hold-it or do it in place:(

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

I think there are pads made for this situation - you would have to lay them down in the crate (I assume). It probably won't be too comfy but he'll survive

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1414 posts

Little Fifi will probably survive after depositing his doggie poo on the napkin provided, but the folks sitting nearby might not... 10+ hour flights, folks. Is it really the right thing for all involved?

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
224 posts

I will tolerate 10 hours in steerage for the pleasures of a holiday in Europe. Putting a pet in a crate stuffed under a seat for 20 hours is pet abuse.

Posted by Bob
Palm Harbor, FL, US
16 posts

All reasonable things to consider but I wonder how this looks from the vantage point of someone who's actually done it (brought a small dog in-cabin from the U.S. to Europe)? How was it for the dog? For other passengers? For flight attendants? For you, the owner?

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
610 posts

As an alternative to flying, there are kennels for dogs and cats on the Queen Mary 2 ship sailing between New York and Southhampton.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
640 posts

Is it even possible to do this? I mean, aren't there restrictions on the other end, like issues around quarantine depending on the country and taking them on trains or in rental cars and on subways and buses and limited lodging that allows pets? This is a quick little article that indicates some of the possible issues, paperwork required and links for more info: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/travel-via-air-europe-dog-42703.html. I'm sure there are many others, but this could get you started if you don't already know these things.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7817 posts

Ok Bob, guess you are getting most of us here don't like the idea of a dog going to Europe.. I agree its mean to put them in the hold, and I personally don't mind them in the cabin ( I love dogs) but there obviously are issues if the dog does a bowel movement( smell).
For shorter domestic flights I am sure people who travel a lot with their pets can just deal with it by hopefully timing it around dogs regular bm schedule.. or perhaps just feed dog liquids for 1/2 day before flight to avoid issue.. I am not sure. What I do think you should do though is perhaps go on another type of forum for this info.. most of us would not travel with our dogs so are not great sources of info but perhaps a dog showers forum, those folks travel with their dogs all the time, I bet they have great tips and advice. And finally as noted , there are a bunch of things you need to look into re having dog chipped, what the quarantine laws are in each country you go to etc etc..

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3057 posts

The smell of some airline passengers is already overwhelming. Definitely don't need dog poo on top of it all!

Posted by Bob
Palm Harbor, FL, US
16 posts

Thanks everyone. Victoria, I think you're right about the responses so far on this forum. Just to be clear, I'm not sure I'm in favor of taking our dog to Europe, either. I'm just asking questions - a normal part of any trip planning for me. And although they haven't responded here, there are transatlantic travelers who are very positive about taking their pets with them - wouldn't have it any other way. We're weighing the factors connected with taking a dog on a long flight, dealing with lodging, ground transportation, and so on, but we don't think the alternatives are so great either (leaving the dog in a kennel, hiring a dog walker, etc.)

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6824 posts

Be aware there are a lot of "free-range" kennels around. Dogs are grouped by size and kept in large enclosures during the day to play and socialize. I would leave my dog in these types of kennels for my week long visits overseas. Judging from the reaction of my dog when I would drop her off she loved the place:)

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Bob - for what it's worth, I have seen dogs on flights to Europe and they were actually frequent fliers (so the owners said). Did you check out any Trip Advisor columns on this or guidelines from airlines or any other web resources?
I think the biggest worry you (probably) have is you just don't know what to expect with this dog...much like parents are scared of what to expect when their 1 or 2 year old boards a flight. Sometimes (ok, maybe often) it ain't pretty but everyone will survive intact. If you don't feed the dog before the flight, hopefully that will mitigate some of your worries.

Posted by Alex
Longmont, CO, USA
338 posts

Hi Bob, We have taken our Jack Russell twice to Europe and will be doing so again next May-June. Thor loves to fly and take all the various modes of public transit once we arrive. We always fly Lufthansa and they love dogs! We have had no problems with our flights from Colorado to Europe. Thor is a stalwart and holds himself together until we hit the terminal. I won't get involved with the naysayers about not taking your dog, so if you want further useful info you can PM me. Suffice to say it has been wonderful having him travel with us.

Posted by George
Canada
814 posts

There ain't nothing wonderful about having to sit next to people and their pets on long-distance travel. They always want to take the pet out of the carrier and hold it on their lap - these people are pros at covering their pets under the blankets provided.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
610 posts

And to add what George said, on a recent international flight, one passenger was almost booted for failing to place her dog into the carrier before departure. It took several conversations and then a final demand before she complied. Of course, once in the air, it's hard to evict her and she had, not unexpectedly, more non-compliant behavior with her dog. Be a responsible pet owner if you decide to include your dog on flights.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
610 posts

"Thor is a stalwart and holds himself together until we hit the terminal." Surely Thor was able to "hold it" until he arrived at a designated dog relief area and not, as I recently witnessed, make a puddle in the terminal with the owner and dog nonchalantly waltzing away without a care.

Posted by Alex
Longmont, CO, USA
338 posts

Bob,
You can also check out Tripadvisor. They have a forum dedicated to travel with pets. You will get more positive info there from people who actually have experience flying with their pets and will be happy to give you their experiences, which is what you were really asking for on your post.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
1832 posts

I would wonder if the dog owners who are considering taking their dog on an international flight have the interests and concerns of those folks sitting next/around them in mind when planning for such a trip? As someone who flies often and travels between Seattle and Hawaii regularly, I do know that the parents who bring babies/very small children onto those 5 1/2 hours flights are more concerned about their own wants rather than those of us who get stuck sitting near a crying child for 5 1/2 hours. They use to allow smoking on those flights before moving all the smokers to the rear of the plane before banning smoking altogether. Wouldn't it be nice if the airlines moved all the travelers with small children to the back of the plane so that the parents could enjoy the sounds of all the other children.
No, I do not have any children having concluded long ago that I was not cut out to be a parent.

Posted by George
Canada
814 posts

Well Alex, I shared my experience - nothing positive about it. It was lousy to sit next to the couple and their agitated chihuahua - but hey, they're special people. I'm glad I don't fly Lufthansa, internationally, otherwise I might get stuck sitting next to Thor.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7817 posts

There are a million "Thors" I would rather sit next to ,, then grumpy old dog haters..

Posted by Alex
Longmont, CO, USA
338 posts

Pat, LOL!! I so agree with you and I know that Thor does as well.
Thor goes with us next year and will be biking with us through Tuscany and then from Innsbruck to Bolzano. We bring his bike trailer...I do all the pedaling. Unlike the "grumps" in North America everyone we have had experiences with in Europe have been so very welcoming of us and Thor. Having him with us has actually engaged us in so many more conversations with locals than we would have had without him being with us. This type of post always opens up a tsunami of opinions and judgements, but very little of answers to the poster's question, which is what it should all be about. I am glad Tripadvisor has a special forum for this so you don't get all the "noise" that you experience on the regular forums.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
610 posts

Am I meant to be included in the "grumpy old dog haters" category by offering a suggested alternative mode of transporting a dog to Europe and recalling incidents revealing irresponsible dog owners? Please know a lovely therapy dog resides at home. She is well known at the hospital (has her own stationary with photo to hand out when visiting patients), has similar status at the library (a great listener for young readers), etc.

Posted by Alex
Longmont, CO, USA
338 posts

Bruce,
Point of this post was someone asking for advice from people who have made the journey with their dogs. Of course there are people who are irresponsible with pets or with themselves or with their children. I have seen people litter in terminals waltzing away without a care, and kids pooping in the aircraft next to me or wailing during the majority of the trip. Okay, part of the deal when we travel...you take the good with the bad. This poster asked for advice from people who have traveled with their dogs. Not for judgements or opinions. I really think that everybody should stick to the point of the poster's question and not let the thread devolve into everybody getting defensive or go into a tirade (not saying you are doing that).

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7817 posts

Bruce I saw nothing wrong with your suggestion of taking that cruise, its better for dogs I imagine, but most people find the prices of that particular ship pretty steep and it would eat 10 days of their vacation time there and back. I understand people do not want a dog that makes a smelly mess next to them, but I don't understand why it would bother someone so much if a dog was sitting quietly on someones lap covered with a blanket ( as one poster suggested, actually hidden by a blanket). To me, I would just look the other way It would be nice if airlines could offer a few separated rows for pets and owners.. but that won't happen.

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9077 posts

I have no particular insight to add, other than to note that given the average behavior I've observed of dogs versus American kids on long-haul flights and trains, I would MUCH rather sit next to a dog. PS- Before I get flamed in a private message about European snootiness towards Americans, realize that I carry a US passport...

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1963 posts

How about a repositioning cruise one way. As for the other way, doesn't the vet give knock-out pills for the pets when they are flying? I thought they were all drugged up in the cargo hold, so why not in the under-the-seat carrier too?

Posted by George
Canada
814 posts

Yeah, I've heard it all before from the special people - well my kids / pets aren't like that - yeah, right!

Posted by Sharon R.
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
48 posts

Bob, No one has mentioned this but another possibility would be a house sitter that lives in the house and feeds/waters/walks and such the dog as well as taking in the mail and watering the plants and the yard and whatever else. Your furry friend would get the "people love" that he/she needs while you are gone and isn't in a strange place. If the house sitter is someone the dog knows or even a family member that would be the best of that situation I think. Since dogs don't like to soil the nest and the carrier would be considered the nest if he/she were house trained that would not be a problem. This is part of the wild heritage. You don't want enemies to know where you life. There are breeds that do have problems when excited. I hope yours isn't one of those.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
640 posts

Our dog is a 50 pounder, so there's no way we would take him to Europe with us unless we were moving there. Our best solution is a great "pet resort" that is air-conditioned, provides playtime, takes him out frequently to potty, etc. We are usually gone a month. Pricey? Yes, but he loves it and we just figure it into the cost of the trip. He gets lots of love and attention. When I dropped him off for a 3-week stay in June, one of the workers there came into the lobby to get him. She called his name and off he went, thrilled to see and be with her. I was thrilled as well seeing how much he loves the place and the workers there. I have owned many different dogs over many years and boarded all of them innumerable times with no ill effects.

Posted by Linda
Austin, TX, USA
59 posts

Bob, Both times that I've flown Air France once off the plane, I've noticed people with little dogs and I never noticed the dogs while in the air. I would call Air France and talk with them. Find out what paperwork you need and then see if they have any advice to offer. Also, talk to your vet, I'm sure they would have some advice for you which would be more helpful than most of us who are clueless on taking a dog on a plane. That being said, my boss flies private and the first time I set up a flight with a friend of his who brought his hunting dog on the plane, the aviation company did tell me to be sure to have them bring plastic bags, wet wipes, and paper towels because some dogs will eliminate on take off and landing. So, best if you do bring doggie to be prepared!!!
I hope you have a wonderful trip!!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

You've touched on a sore point for me, and a very practical one. I have significant asthma triggered by pet dander. And I had a bad crisis on one flight when the person next to me snuck her cat on in a large purse, and spent much of a cross-country flight fussing with the cat, scattering even more dander. It was a full flight, although the attendant eventually found someone willing to trade seats with me. I've also had problem with nearby dogs, although not as severe. Owners don't leave the animal alone during the flight, and interacting with it just spreads the dander around. I doubt Fluffy longs to see Notre Dame, and if she does, she should travel in the hold for the flight, not in the passenger area where she can threaten the health and safety of other passengers.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

This forum is not the right place to discuss whether or not it's good for the dog to be put into a bag and stuffed underneath a seat for 10 hours. However, being a dog owner myself I would see it like a regular night. Our dog can hold hid No. 1s and 2s from ca. 9pm until ca. 9am every night anyway. In an aircraft situation I'd not give the dog any food or even goodies during that "night" - just I'd make sure he gets a very little bit of water every now and then.

Posted by Kimberly
Snohomish, WA, United States
14 posts

When stationed in Geneva for three years, we took our five cats with us. We were a hit with the Swiss Customs. They were positively amazed we brought so many cats but were all smiles and had nothing but kind words for us. We were able to find a place to live that accepted all five cats and we returned to the Virginia area with the same five cats. Yes, an adventure and everything worked out well. Just make sure you do not travel during the summer as many pets die in cargo holes due to the heat. I would take your cat with you as you probably will not have a hard time finding a place to live with just one animal. Make sure you micro-chip your cat and and talk to your vet about your travel plans.

Posted by Trish
Memphis, TN
8 posts

What about cat travel? Not to vacation with my cat, but if I am on a year long work assignment overseas foe example, anyone have experience or knowledge of this? Not wanting to engage a 'foster' pet guardian for him to be honest and I don't end my relationship with my pets if they become inconvenient for my lifestyle, so I need to know what I'm in for... Any thoughts?