Young Puppies on Flights vs. Road Trips

February 01

A lot of people ask us about shipping their puppies on a flight. Is it less traumatic for a puppy than a long road trip? In our opinion, there are pros and cons to both, so I'll try to fill you in on our thoughts and let you decide what you think is best.

The pros of having your puppies flown to you are that it's a much quicker trip and every puppy we've ever shipped via airlines has done very well with minimal trauma (which usually involves loose stool from nervousness). Another pro is the cost. It is likely less expensive for you to have puppies flown via cargo on an airplane, rather than fly or drive up yourselves, once you tally up gas, food and lodging. The cons to having your puppies flown are the loose stool from being nervous, the fact that they will likely whine and cry in their crate the entire way, and there is a potential heat embargo imposed by various airlines this time of year. (There's no heating or air conditioning in the cargo hold of a plane, but that doesn't bother puppies. The trouble can be finding air-conditioned transport vehicles from plane to plane or from plane to airport terminal. But I would search for a flight, such as Delta or Alaska, that had these provisions.) Because there would be two puppies together in one crate, that could make the trip less traumatic, actually, as the two pups would be able to snuggle together and keep each other company.

The pros of having your puppies in the car with you on a long trip in a car is that it will enable you to bond with them while you hold them and I think it might be enjoyable for you. It will also give you peace of mind knowing exactly where the puppies are and how they're doing at all times. The cons of having puppies with you in the car would be that you must stop at secluded places for bathroom breaks, since they will not have had all of their vaccinations yet, and they cannot be exposed to dog parks and public rest areas, where the dreaded parvovirus could be contracted. Another con to driving is that it is a very long trip for small puppies and, if they must be in a crate at all, they will likely cry and whine a lot of the trip, which could drive you a little crazy. However, there is the fact that there would be two puppies together in one crate. (See my last sentence above.) Another con to driving is trying to find a hotel that allows puppies/dogs. It can be done, but it may take some work. But, if you think you'll keep the puppies in a crate overnight while you get some sleep, think again. They will surely keep you (and neighboring hotel guests) up all night with their crying.

So, those are a few pros and cons for you to consider with regard to a flight vs. driving. We don't have strong opinions one way or the other. We ourselves have flown puppies on planes and we've driven with them in cars for long distances; we now prefer flights, because they're less hassle, but, then again, we've been in this business for more than twenty years. This is your puppy and we trust you to make the best decision for him and you.


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