Flying & Airline Carriers

Posted on 12:38 PM by sara | 2 comments

Every once in a while, people refer to me as the "shopping queen" of dog stuff because, well, that's one of my favorite things to do. As a result, I've been asked to review specific products that I find work best for my cavaliers, and I will start with... Flying/Airline carriers!

First let me say, my dogs are 16 and 19lbs. They are on the "edge" of being too heavy to fit under the seat, yet we always seem to squeeze them in. I've flown with them both underneath the plane and under the seat. I recommend taking them under the seat as opposed to underneath any day. I remember when I picked up Kosmo in B.C. and I could hear him clear through the airport. He was a stressed/anxious/nervous MESS! :( Poor baby!! I will only ever fly them underneath ever again if we don't have the option (we didn't have the option that flight as Air Canada didn't accept dogs on the plane and we were going home in a hurry - funeral :( )

The most stressful part of the trip for us is in the airport. You will have to take your dog out and carry them through the metal detector while their carrier goes through the bag inspection thing. This might sound like a great idea, but when you have shoes, a belt, a laptop and a dog to take care of, it gets pretty stressful. Oh, I should add that they can't have their leash/collar/harness on at this time either because they contain metal.. so don't drop the dog! lol. I have never had a problem with this, thank goodness, but it sure is stressful shoving them back in the bag, getting your laptop, and reorganizing your things before catching the plane.

For flying, make sure you take your dog out in the morning and give them a HUGE long walk or a run before you go on the plane. They are going to be anxious going through the airport and can even be on the plane depending on the dog, so I would suggest tiring them out beforehand. Bring a travel water bowl to give them water before/during the flight if you think it's necessary. The airline people will say NEVER to open the carrier during the flight, but realistically, sometimes it's extremely hot in the cabin of the planes. In such instances, I've put the carrier on top of my lap and put a little water in the bowl for poochy to drink while waiting to take off. If your dog is a houdini I might advise against this, but I've been able to manage. Obviously regulate the amount of water, because if they are anything like my dogs, going potty anywhere other than a nice plush lawn is out of the question. I have brought things to chew on during the flight, but my dogs are rarely ever interested in chewing on anything.

I would advise against medicating your dog before flight, and if you do, please do a trial run before your actual flying day. Why? If they have some kind of a reaction to any sort of medication, you really don't want it to be while you're up in the air. One of my dogs HATES being in airline carriers and one loves it. For the one that hates it, I found that taking a small $1 store fleece blanket and covering the carrier so he couldn't see out was somewhat therapeutic for him. I find that once they settle, it's almost easier to "forget" about them and just check on them periodically. For Faith, she snores loud enough that I never have to check on her ;)

When it comes to airline carriers, I have tried a ton. I tried a large sherpa, a celltei back pack o pet, a celltei pet on the go and sturdibag. This is what we found:


We used the large one. The dimensions are
Dim: 19" D x 11.75" W x 11.5" H, Weight: 3.01 lbs

Truthfully, this one doesn't fit under the seat very well. Many people have used this one with no problems. The pros for this are the fact that you can easily slide the dog into the top and you can easily get access to them through the top. There are also a lot of air vents. The negative that I found was that there is some kind of a PVC piping or something within the large panels (the square things on each end) and it really doesn't compress down at all. The only way you can make the carrier shorter is to partially collapse it. This was with the regular carrier, anyways.

Celltei Back Pack O Pet:


This carrier is awesome!
The problem with this one?? It weighs.. 6lbs6oz. When you have a dog that is already close to the weight limit, it's really hard to be able to use this bag. I really like this one though, and especially the fact that it has some detachable wheels that we can use. It was definitely worth the money - to be able to roll your pet through the airport vs carry them is absolutely priceless. A great thing about this one is that you can take the plastic dimension holders from inside out and the carrier will still hold its shape. This is important, because with the plastic in, there is no way this will fit under the seat. It is just way too tall. Without the plastic inside, it's flexible and can flex down to flat. This is incredibly helpful because you can morph the dimensions to fit under any size seat. Additionally, as you can see with Faith, there is a LOT of extra room inside. There are also lots of places to stuff things like treats, travel water bowls and leashes. The downside to this carrier is the price. It was $150! It also doesn't have too many places for ventilation.

Celltei Pet On The Go:

Dimensions: 16.5" L x 10.5" W x 11.75" H Weight: 3lbs 11oz

This bag was great!!.. When Faith was a puppy. As she grew, 16.5" just wasn't realistic for us anymore. We had to sell it and upgrade. I really liked this bag when we had it. It was all camouflage and even the breathing parts were camo-- this means that NOBODY knew we had a dog inside the bag. It was fantastic for being discreet, and that was absolutely awesome. The worst part about this b
ag was the length. It's supposed to be worn as a messenger style bag - which is nice, but every time you take a step throughout the air port, it comes back and hits your hip, which really ends up hurting when you have to trek it for a while. I wish this bag was made in a bit longer though, because I might just use it. It's also very flexible and can fit underneath any size seat. I miss this bag!


Dimensions: 18"L x 12"H x 12"W
Weight: 2lbs, 10oz

I used this one most recently on a trip back to WA state. I at first looked at Faith in this bag and said no way!! It's so small looking and she's never going to fit. She proved me wrong! It is sure small inside, but she fits quite nicely. I would say that this is very close to the maximum dimensions you can get away with on an airplane. Faith was almost sticking out in the aisle with the bag underneath the seat! The best things about this bag are that you can completely squish this one flat if you want, there is a place for doggy's head to pop out (which I used while I was walking through the airport - she got to pop her head out and I just held onto her so she could look around too), the ventilation on this bag is AWESOME, and the fact that you can clip the zipper openers together. After you've zippered the openings together, you can clip one on the other so houdini doesn't get out, which I think is a brilliant invention. This bag is also light, which was what sold us for our trip to WA (with Faith being 19lbs I didn't have much of a choice since the max airline would allow was 23lbs with pet and carrier combined). This bag comes with a bottom board thing that's zipped in underneath the bag and a fleece top for doggy to lay on during the flight. It's not too expensive, either, with the large size selling for $89.95. I picked up mine from Petsmart, so I didn't have to pay shipping. The downsides of the Sturdibag are that it doesn't have any place to put things, except for one little teeny small zippered compartment that I stuffed my passport in as well as Faith's travel documents. I did like how you can "close it up" so it doesn't look like there's a dog in the bag at all, too.

Alright, that's all for us folks! I hope some of you found this blog to be helpful. I have also looked into other bags, but these are the ones that appealed to me, for the reasons mentioned. Safe travels!

PS - I copied and pasted some of the dimensions - I will admit and have before that I am a complete rookie when it comes to blogging. Why can't I fix my font size on part of the post even when I highlight and change it? I can't fix it.. anyways, I hope you guys can still read!

Posted on 9:45 AM by sara | 3 comments

It's been forever since we've updated here - oops!!

It turns out that Faithey was in fact having a bad reaction to the Burrow's ear solution! As soon as we stopped it, it took about 3 days and her hearing came back completely! :) Yay! She is still back and forth to the dermatologist and it's been determined that she does need to continuously have prednisone for her issues. Our next appointment is November 3, so wish us luck!

I plan to take the doggies out this weekend for some hiking! Pictures to follow :)