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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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To fly or drive?

In early September, my puppy will be ready to come home from the breeder! I'm working with a breeder that's near my family's home in Michigan, but I live in Massachusetts. I'm trying to figure out if I should fly home with the puppy or drive home with the puppy. If I drive, it's about 12 - 14 hours, depending on the border crossings into Canada. I just did a 6 hour drive with a friend to pick up his puppy (australian shepherd...ridiculously cute) from Syracuse. The 6 hour drive become longer with the bathroom breaks off the expressway. I'm a little worried about the 12-14 hour drive, by myself with the puppy, so I'm considering flying. The thought of flying with a puppy is pretty intimidating for someone who's never flown with a dog before. I would love to hear people's take on which option would be better (for the pup and for my sanity!). Any advice is appreciated
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 02:33 PM
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I flew home with Mojo on Southwest Airlines, from Pittsburgh to Orlando, FL, and it would have been totally a snap....if we hadn't been delayed several hours by bad weather in Pittsburgh. However, Mojo was totally fine throughout. Although I was told he would have to stay in his carrier under the seat in front of me for the flight, I had him in my lap the moment we were airborne, and he stayed there the whole time until approach to landing. It was easy, he was easy. I wouldn't have any worries about flying with the pup.

On the other hand, if you drive you won't necessarily be able to keep a hand on him the whole time, and with Mojo, physical contact was what he absolutely needed. If I wasn't touching him, he cried. If I was touching him, he was fine.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 03:03 PM
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I agree that flying would be WAY easier and way less stressful for both of you. I love flying with my pups. It's so easy. Even though they're not *supposed* to be out in the airport, I take them out anyway. No one has ever said anything to me! And the same thing goes for on the plane - I just bring a blanket along with me, and when the flight attendant goes by I just hide the pup(s) with the blanket! LOL

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 04:46 PM
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I have flown with so many different dogs and not a single one had trouble on the plane. However, many, many pups do get carsick when they are young. Just make sure you have everything required by the airlines in advance and that the breeder will be able to have all the health records/vaccines required by that specific airline. Flying is so easy and so much easier on a new pup than that long of a ride.

One more point to consider with driving is that all of your stops will probably be at places where other dogs frequent for their own potty breaks on drives, so you'd be exposing the puppy to even more things than you probably should after just getting him/her. The stress of leaving his home & family, then taking a long, long car ride, then being exposed to viruses & bacteria can be really hard on a new puppy's system.

There are several topics here where people have posted their lists of things needed for picking up/flying with their pup if you want to do a search.

Last edited by Havtahava; 08-09-2010 at 04:48 PM. Reason: Adding the point about exposure at rest stops
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input! Sounds like I'll be flying home to get him. I'll have to start reading up on what to bring with me. Just more stuff to buy!

Kimberly, I actually had already thought about the potty breaks, which was why the drive from Syracuse became really, really long. I refused to stop at any rest areas, and insisted that we find less traveled places to stop. My friend thought I was being a little extreme, but I was just thinking about the puppy's health.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 05:14 PM
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I, too, think that flying with your new baby would be the easiest and least stressful for you both. He/she will fit in an airline approved carrier, and there are many to choose from. The sound of the plane's engines seems to lull them to sleep and I'll bet you won't even hear a peep from the pup. Most times even the people sitting around you have no idea that you are carrying a dog. Congratulations on your new family member in advance!

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 05:47 PM
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I agree, I flew home with Kodi, and the airport part was the easy part. The Kings live a couple of hours from the airport, and he did get sick once in the car, so we had to stop and clean that up, then another time he needed to stop for a pee break. The Kings had given me an extra large pee pad for him to use on the way home, so I never had to put him on the ground, but we still had to find a relatively quiet place to pull off the road and get him out to pee.

They had already gotten him used to his Sherpa bag before I picked him up, so he was very happy in there. I took him out and held him in my lap for a few minutes while we were waiting to board, but he really slept most of the way home. (we did put him down on his pee pad to pee shortly before boarding, and again when we got to our home airport, since we had another hour car ride home from there)


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 06:17 PM
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For both your sakes, FLY...... I had never flown with a puppy either until I brought home Huggie in June from Sacramento. I had never even flown alone anywhere until then. Nothing to it! H slept the whole flight in his Sherpa under the seat. Mind you, it wasn't a very long flight, but I think it must be soothing to them. He never made a peep on the plane or in the airport. I held him in the airport, but not on the flight.

Don't forget to bring baby wipes just in case and a towel to put in the bottom of the bag.

Have fun with your new puppy and post pics!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 09:59 PM
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You don't need anything special, just a harness and leash, a carrier of the proper size (check with your airline), pee pads, and something with a little water. You won't want to feed the pup until you get home.

Mojo never drank, never ate, never peed and never pooped, the whole 10 hours we were travelling (picked up Mo at the airport at 5pm, got home at 3:30am).

I had him out at the airport everywhere, and out all during the flight. They're so tiny, no one cares. And of those who do notice, it's a little like traveling with a rock star.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! You guys make it sound pretty easy, which is fantastic. I really have been stressing out non-stop since I made the trip with my friend. To me, the drive to Michigan is nothing - I barely think about it. But after this last trip, I realized just how often you need to stop, and I'm not stopping just anywhere, which takes time since there isn't much along the roads between here and there. It really adds on to the trip; and while I don't mind a 14 hour trip, I'm not sure I can do much more by myself.

I'll have to talk to the breeder and see if I can drop off a sherpa bag for her to acclimate the puppy to. I'll be there next week for a visit, so I'll have to do some fast shopping (never been a problem for me before )
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