One fine day over a cup of tea, my husband mentions that we are moving out of Gurgaon. Better Job opportunity is always a selling point. Now before I begin my journey you should know that this is my third move with dog(s). I mean different moves with different dogs and different modes as well.
I was based in Gurgaon and blessed with (apart from a two legged human 7 year old boy) – two gorgeous Labradors. Both are 2 years and 5 months old, been with me since they were 40 days old. Popularly known as Bonkers (Male) & Pixie (Female)
These were the various options for us or anyone else –
- By Road
- By Train
- By Air
- Probably the best mode if the distance is short or you are used to travelling with dogs for a long time.
- The major issue would be getting places to stay on route that allow dogs ( in case of overnight journey)
- Your dogs might end up staying in the car that may not be best for them.
- For long distance, and if without another option. Plot out your travel in such a way that you book your pet in a boarding for a night, while you catch up on some rest in a hotel
- For us it was out of the planning zone as I have two dogs who aren’t used to such long travels, distance was over 2100 km and would be traveling with a junior and a senior citizen.
- In First Class
- Guard Room – Dog Box
First Class Travel
- Dogs can travel with you in the compartment only on AC First Class / First Class. Your co traveller would have to agree to such travel. That can be tricky as not all love dogs (yes some people are strange).
- Best would be to book the two people or 4 people cabin and enjoy a hassle free travel. Depending on your sector the ticket can cost 5-6k per berth
- One cannot directly book the two people cabin – you might have to visit the station and talk to the reservation supervisor prior to your travel with your travel details and a letter explaining your need for a two berth cabin allotment. There is no guarantee that this will work.
- If your co passenger complains about this travel – dog will be shifted to the Guard Room – Dog Box
- You can book it directly in the Guard room dog box (end of the train) as well.
- Make sure you are aware of all the major stops to spend time with the dog in case of Guard box travel or they will remain locked up for the entire duration of the journey.
- Charges for the same are nominal – 300 -400 rupees or so as per the dogs weight
- Dogs and other pets are booked as luggage and you need to go to the parcel office to do the same.
- This is a long and lengthy process, so please go early enough or your dog will get booked and you will also end up travelling in the guard box!
- Like train tickets – you have to book this in advance
- Not all train allow dog travel – so confirm if the train you wish to take allows dogs
- You have to make provisions for its walks, water and meals.
- Again plan in advance, mark out the major stops where you can walk the dog. Would suggest that you walk through the train and come as close to the guard room as you can so that you spend all the time with the dog during this breaks – no breaks are longer than 5-10 minutes.
- Make sure you don’t end up missing the train!
- The Guard box is small and not well lit, very traumatic for the furry ones as they aren’t used to this.
- I did this once with a small breed in the early 90s and my dog got very sick and it was basically a lot of hassle as most of the journey , I was with my mom at our seat and my dad and brother running up and down for the dog, or sitting with him in the guard box only.
- Image Courtesy – http://im0.indiarailinfo.com/0/NEXT/817801/0//p7270087.jpg
By Flight – Jet airways or Air India
What you need – Crate, Documents and other accessories
- Airline approved crates as per the dog size. The crate should be such that the dog can stand upright without any hassle. Crate size is defined below.
- Have absorbent mat for the floor of the crate.
- Attach a travel bowl within the crate to feed or give water to your pet in case of delays
- Get your dog checked by a vet a day or two before flying and get a Fit to fly certificate from the vet. Make sure that all vaccinations are up to date. Also carry the vaccination certificates
- Take photo of your dog and paste the same on top of the crate with the following details :
- Pet name, Age, Breed, Sex, Colour, Your details (Name and Phone Number), Flight Number, when to be fed next.
- Also paste a pack of the dry food that they eat in case of flight delay?
How to calculate the size of the crate needed
Image: Singapore Air
A = Length of animal from tip of nose to base/root of tail
B = Height from ground to elbow joint
C = Width across shoulders or widest point (whichever is the greater)
D = Height of animal in natural standing position from top of the head or the ear tip to the floor
Minimum internal container dimensions: (A + ½ B = Length) (C x 2 + Width) (D = Height)
Agreed that this looks complicated, but not really once you have done it, most people selling these crates knows the size once they see the dog
Where to buy the crates and how much they cost
- Many pet shops or online shops you can get these crates
- They can cost anything between 3k to as high as 20 k depending on the size of the crate
- They are options of hire as well. I don’t know about all cities but have found out a place in Delhi who hires them out. Charges 50% of the crate cost. You pay full when you book the crate and when you return it you get 50% money back.
- Borrow from other pet parents and return the same to them
- Try upcycle groups and other pet groups in case someone is selling theirs.
- For large crates buy ones with wheels, easier to move them around.
- At the airport you may lock up your brat in the crate, we choose to walk them and keep them free till it was absolutely necessary to put them in the crate. However if you are travelling alone, that might be difficult.
- Make sure that the crate is the size you need, the door locks properly and it has proper ventilation.
- The crate can be opened up and stored for later use.
The actual process of travel – can be either with you in the cabin or baggage hold
With you in the cabin
- This is allowed only with Air India, that too if the Captain agrees. The dog must have a muzzle on, inside the crate at all point and weighs less than 5 KG.
At Baggage Hold –
- Am not exactly sure how its calculated but it takes the weight x volume x the excess baggage rate – for a large dog like mine it cost 15-18k per dog in the baggage hold. Their weight along with the crate weight will be considered.
- It’s easier if you are not travelling with the dog at that point and someone is there to receive the dog on the arrival destination.
- Have done this with one dog in 2009, only issue was that the flight was delayed for 4 hours and that time the airline had asked for my dog to be sedated and poor guy was sedated twice. So when I got my dog, he was happy, zonked and little high!
- Both Jet Airways and Air India has the facility.
At Baggage Hold (Accompanied)
- Jet Airways charges Rs. 5000/- + taxes per dog irrespective of the weight. Total Cost Rs 5250/- per dog.
- A person can take up to two dogs with him in a flight as long as the crates fit in.
- Book your ticket first and then call up the reservation a day prior to your travel to confirm that you are travelling with a dog or two as in my case.
- They ask you to report 2 hours in advance, but it’s really a lengthy process, no harm in going earlier.
The process at the airport is divided in 4 basic task
- Paperwork at the check in counter
- Physical weighing of the dog and the crate
- Then doing the x ray of the crate at oversized baggage counter
- Then they take in the dog locked in the crates
- Before you board the flight – reconfirm with the staff that your pet has been loaded in your flight ( No harm in checking – don’t want my pets to get lost in transit)
- Once you board the flight – please remember to send in a message to the Captain that there is a dog in the cargo and to leave the oxygen for them there. This is what has been the cause of some loss of life earlier.
- No harm in reminding them again during the flight.
- Get in touch with the ground staff of your airlines and they will get your dog to you.
- For us it was matter of minutes after landing
Some Important Facts about Air Travel (Below two paragraphs are from Jet airways site)
Certain breeds of dogs (snub nosed) are not allowed to fly , as these animals are susceptible to increased risk of heat stroke (when exposed to stress or temperatures above 21 degrees Celsius), breathing difficulties or increased stress due to travel
Boxers, Bulldogs (all varieties), Mastiffs (all varieties), Spaniels (some varieties), Terriers (all varieties), Mastiffs (all varieties), Akita, Brussels Griffin (Petite Brabancon), Chow Chow, Dogo Argentino , Fila Brazillero & their crosses, Japanese Chin (Chin, Japanese Spaniel, Japanese Pug),
Lhasa Apso, Pekinese. Pit Bull, Pugs, Rottweiler, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Tosa
How to prepare your pet for this travel
- Give light meal on the day of the travel
- Make sure they have plenty of water
- Make sure they have extra walk that day , prior to the travel
- It would be a traumatic travel for them as there would too many new elements in their routine
- Won’t see you for a long period, too many strangers surrounding them.
- At least I had two dogs travelling together, just imagine your pet doing this on its own.
- Once you get the crate, practice him / her being in it for a short period of time. Most of our pets aren’t used to being locked up and they might be restless if you choose to do so on the day of the travel
Not too sure about other airports, but Delhi Airport was cool about us walking our dogs in the terminal. We reached there at 8:30 am for an 11:30 am flight. The paperwork from the airlines took long ( not sure why) any ways we didn’t cage them till 11 am when it was time to take them to the cargo hold. Pets don’t go the same way as the baggage, there is a separate lift for them. The Airlines official will guide you.
All the best and Safe Travels for our Furry Babies