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Old 29.06.2015, 14:24
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Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

Hi Pet People

I am importing my dogs to CH next week. They will be imported by air, on a 8+ hr over night flight. I already have the IATA 'approved' crates, and I will be travelling on the same flight (pets in the hold, not the cabin).

I've haven't done an air-import or such a long haul flight with the animals before. I'd appreciate advice from experienced pet-travellers re. the recommended/necessary accessories for the travel crates during transit.

- Should I buy 'dry pads' for the crates? If yes, where can I buy these in CH (I'm based in Geneva)? I've looked online (zooplus, maxizoo, meiko, qualipet) but can't find them.
- What type of water bowls are best? The ones that clip onto the crate bars? Again - any idea where I can buy these in CH?
- Any other advice?

Thanks!
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Old 29.06.2015, 14:43
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Re: Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

I travelled from Argentina to Switzerland with my two cats. I know that cat's are not the same as dogs. But I used the IATA Kennels, both came with a water deposit and food ones too.
I also bought water feeders, like the one used for rabbits, since is not allowed to have open water containers. Also, they are not allowed to have food or water 12 hours before travelling, and they cannot have water during the flight either, but this might be a slight different with dogs. Check with the flight company, they can provide you with their rules for transportation, since this might vary also from company to company.

Is really good for the pet to have a sweater or anything with your smell so they feel better during the transportation.
I assume that your dogs have the chip and the European passport to travel.

hope this helps!
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Old 30.06.2015, 00:37
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Re: Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

For an overnight flight I wouldn't bother with 'dry pads'.
At home would your dogs usually go overnight without an accident?
If so then they should be fine on the flight (assuming they are all healthy adult animals).
When I flew my dogs I always put a non slip layer on the bottom of the crate and thick fleece bad (cut to size) on top. This mean that even if they did have an accident the wetness would soak through and leave the top layer reasonably dry.

Water bowls depend a lot on the temps you are dealing with, and the amount of time the dogs are likely to be crated.
For a mid length overnight flight (8 - 10 hours) unless it is really hot, a properly hydrated dog shouldn't need a lot to drink. Again, think about how often your dog would usually drink overnight.
I always used 'non-spill- bowls. Plastic, deep bowls, with a separate clip on lid section - a bit like a funnel with a very large hole in the middle for the dog to drink from.
I would half fill these the night before and freeze them. This meant the water slowly defrosted over time, and didn't all get spilt the first time the crate was jolted.

I also found that staff who handled the dogs were always very receptive to a large laminated note taped to the top of the crate, asking them to check the water and refill if it was empty.

Good luck with your journey.

Over the years I have flown 7 large dogs (greyhounds) to Switzerland, and with a bit of planning I have had nothing but good experiences.
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Old 30.06.2015, 08:52
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Re: Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

I also wanted to add that if any part of the journey will be done at night, go out and buy a large roll of reflective tape, and stick a strip of this on every side of the crate.
This helps to keep your crates visible to all the vehicles working around the plane.
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Old 30.06.2015, 12:53
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Re: Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

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For an overnight flight I wouldn't bother with 'dry pads'.
At home would your dogs usually go overnight without an accident?
If so then they should be fine on the flight (assuming they are all healthy adult animals).
When I flew my dogs I always put a non slip layer on the bottom of the crate and thick fleece bad (cut to size) on top. This mean that even if they did have an accident the wetness would soak through and leave the top layer reasonably dry.

Water bowls depend a lot on the temps you are dealing with, and the amount of time the dogs are likely to be crated.
For a mid length overnight flight (8 - 10 hours) unless it is really hot, a properly hydrated dog shouldn't need a lot to drink. Again, think about how often your dog would usually drink overnight.
I always used 'non-spill- bowls. Plastic, deep bowls, with a separate clip on lid section - a bit like a funnel with a very large hole in the middle for the dog to drink from.
I would half fill these the night before and freeze them. This meant the water slowly defrosted over time, and didn't all get spilt the first time the crate was jolted.

I also found that staff who handled the dogs were always very receptive to a large laminated note taped to the top of the crate, asking them to check the water and refill if it was empty.

Good luck with your journey.

Over the years I have flown 7 large dogs (greyhounds) to Switzerland, and with a bit of planning I have had nothing but good experiences.

Great advice - especially re. non spill bowls and reflective tape.
Thank you!
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Old 30.06.2015, 14:04
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Re: Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

Given the extreme heat expected next week, please call the airline to verify that the dogs will still be allowed to travel - sometimes (but rarely in Zürich) some airlines embargo animal travel in cargo when the temps get this high.

And if they confirm the flight, ask what protective measures will be taken. (You don't want your dog left crated on the tarmac...)

It's been many years since we last flew but back then I filled a drip bottle (the type for a rabbit or other small furry) and froze it. Then mounted the drip bottle to the door, placing a normal crate bowl mounted to the door under it. As the water slowly melted the dog could then drink from the bowl. The rationale was that the bowl was never full, so couldn't make too much of a mess.

Alternatively a dog can be trained to drink directly from a drip bottle, but this might take more time than you have before your trip.

I never needed pads; the dogs were clean and dry even after 12-14 hours (8-10 hours flight plus on the ground waiting time.) But if you want to put one in, get a washable bed pad from a (human) medical supply store. These tend to be more absorbent, and will likely be less expensive.

Do check with the airline as to what you are allowed to put in the crate. Back in the day I always put one of my t-shirts as a crate cushion cover, and sometime Swimbo's fluffy toy. (Never put a toy in, though, with a chewer or a nervous dog who might eat - and choke on - a toy! When in doubt, no toy!) But some years later US customs started searching crate accoutrement, apparently because people had begun smuggling drugs in dog crates. I've never heard of this happening at Zürich, but do ask what is or is not allowed before you go just to be sure.

Safe travels!
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Old 30.06.2015, 14:34
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Re: Pets travelling by air to CH: what accessories for travel crates?

meloncollie makes a good point about the heat.

Hopefully by having night flights you will avoid the hottest part of the day anyway, but as you are flying with your dogs, insist on keeping them with you until the last possible moment.
The airline will often want to take them through to the cargo area as early as possible, but depending on how this is set up it can be quite hot and noisy. Usually if you ask (and make it clear you won't go wandering off) you can stay with your dogs until quite a short time before they are loaded.

You should always call the airline a day before to confirm anyway, as most aircraft only have one hold appropriate for dogs, and they will bump your dog if they need to transport a body.
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