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Thread: PCS to Germany with Pets help?

  1. Fresh Newbie
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    Confused PCS to Germany with Pets help?

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    My husband and I are PCSing soon to Germany and have 2 dogs. One is a whippet mix but the other is a mastiff mix which is the Type 2 banned dog and will need a temperament test from what I've read.

    I'm so nervous to fly with dogs and what will happen to our mastiff mix when getting over there. He doesn't look like the typical mastiff but more like a plott hound. That's what the shelter said his breed was so unless we can somehow change it with a DNA test, we're stuck with that. He had a rough past and was returned many times to the shelter and was a bit crazy for awhile but has completely settled down after we got our other shelter dog and is a giant sweetheart. He has his crazy moments but only occasionally.

    Another worry is flying with the dogs. They said not to drug them but my dogs get very nervous sometimes and they can really stress out (the whippet mix starts to nibble and bite when scared). Our one dog chewed through one of the bars on the kennels when we tried training him with it. Also, do we get to see them on layovers? I've been reading stories online about dogs dying which has me completely freaked out! :

    Has anyone PCSed out of the country with dogs? What was your experience flying, buying crates, registering them in the new country? Has anyone had to have their dog take the temperament test-what was that like?

    Thank you everyone!!
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    Not military-related, but I've moved twice where I had to fly my dogs. I never medicated mine and it's recommended that you don't but if you have a serious issue like the dog being able to bite through the kennel, that is something you'll want to discuss with your vet. My first move was to Hawaii which is a rabies-free state so there was an entire process/waiting period for that. I did have a layover and was able to see the dogs. I just talked to the gate agent when I got off the plane and she made some phone calls, then told me to go to a certain area of the airport and they brought the dog kennels over to me, I was able to take them out for a few minutes, and then sent them back in. My second move was nonstop so no need to worry about a layover with that one.

    Regarding dog deaths, the most common ones are heat-related with brachycephalic dogs (short noses - pugs, bulldogs, etc). Obviously issues can happen with any breed. My dogs were fine on both flights. No advice on the temperament test unfortunately.
    ~Becca~


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    Thank you! You make it sound so much easier than what I've been reading which really helps! They had statistics on deaths or flying to different locations or weather problems which was stressing me out to read! I'm glad that maybe I'll be able to see them if we do have a layover-as I worry with the heat and long flight time if we just sit there waiting for another flight as well. Which airline did you fly with?
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    Quote Originally Posted by COGirl0321 View Post
    Thank you! You make it sound so much easier than what I've been reading which really helps! They had statistics on deaths or flying to different locations or weather problems which was stressing me out to read! I'm glad that maybe I'll be able to see them if we do have a layover-as I worry with the heat and long flight time if we just sit there waiting for another flight as well. Which airline did you fly with?
    No problem! It's a stressful situation and I could tell you to not worry, but I know you will. I was equally as stressed the second time as the first even though I had already done it before. The first move was with United and the second was Continental, which is now United anyway lol. The first one was really great - they bumped my seat closer to the front and the baggage guy actually came ON the plane to hand me a card that said my dogs were safely on. The second one with Continental was a little crazier mostly because the cargo area of the airport was going through massive renovations so there was a lot of confusion, but everything ended up fine.
    ~Becca~


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    It is recommended not to medicate or sedate the dogs before a flight. You will have to sign paperwork with the airline stating you did not medicate them.

    The last couple of times we flew with our pets we did not have any layovers as there was only one flight or the flights were on separate days.

    Have you had the mastiff DNA tested? You might want to do so now if you aren't sure he is in fact a mastiff cross. Some companies provide the results faster than others, so you might want to take that into consideration. In the meantime, if you could get ahold of information on exactly what is involved in the temperament test you can do some training so you know how he will react in the situations they put him in.
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    I only had to fly my dog once and it was legit one of the most stressful experiences of my life, but it was much worse for me than it was for him. He flew on continental (now united) due to their petsafe program which kept him in an air conditioned van on the tarmac and he was last on/first off. Someone also came to my seat on both of my flights to let me know he had been boarded. I didn't see him on our layover, not sure how that works or who you're supposed to ask or where he was being kept. I don't think we had a very long layover though so that could've been why.

    You can't sedate them at all because it can stop their breathing or something.

    A tip though, you have to use the hard plastic travel crates and you should buy those early so your dogs can get used to them first. My dog was super freaked out by his at first so I was really glad I gave him a month to get used to it.
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    What time of year do you expect to be moving? Many times there are restrictions, especially during hot summer months.

    Be prepared for this to be very expensive, and know that the military does not cover the cost of moving pets.

    Where are you heading? Unless it has changed, every base in Germany except Stuttgart requires you to take the Patriot Express (the military charter flight). This is probably good news as it is much cheaper to ship pets on the PE. However, pet spots are limited so you need to register as early as possible and make sure in every conversation they know you need a pet spot. If there isn't one available, you may have to stay behind and wait to travel until the dog has a spot, while your spouse travels ahead.

    Also, that is only for the BWI to Ramstein leg. Anything prior to that would be regular commercial and those rules, restrictions, and prices would apply. (If you have time, you could opt to drive to BWI (if you are on the Patriot Express) to avoid having to deal with the commercial airline part of the puzzle.

    And the airlines, including the Patriot Express, tend to be pretty strict on size restrictions, both for the overall weight and size limits, and the rules about your dog needing to be able to stand up and turn around. More than one person has had to run out in a panic to try to buy a larger crate, so make sure you know the rules and comply.

    Also know that if you want to (and are allowed to) live off base, we found that many of the houses listed would not take dogs, so that could present a challenge.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #8
    We PCS'd from Germany with our dog. We bought him there, so only 1 flight. We flew Lufthansa and they took amazing care of him and it was also only $150. The size of your big dog might come into play if he's really mastiff size. A friend of mine has a Great Dane and had to fly using Pet Air. I believe she said she ended up paying $2-3,000 to ship her and had to have a custom crate made.

    My dog has major separation anxiety issues. They recommend NO sedation, and a lot of airlines will not take pets if they have been sedated. However, you can get anxiety meds if you find it necessary. We did not give my dog anything and he did 100% fine. His layered bed (2 towels, then a fleece crate mat) wasn't even messed up. And he was waiting in baggage claim for us happily. Do your research, read the airline's literature and make sure you follow it to a T and you will be fine.

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