Thus begins a series of blog posts devoted to moving a dog. Part 1 looks at some travel options.
The fastest way to transport a dog is to fly him. In flying, there are 3 main methods:
- As carry-on luggage
- As checked luggage
- As cargo
As a 1.5 year old shiba inu, Loki passes all of the the airline breed and age restrictions. Most restrict typically aggressive breeds (Pit Bills) as well as breeds with short noses. Also, senior dogs (over 7.5 years old) may require additional vet papers documenting good health. (Note: All dogs are required to have basic vet papers stating good health, it's just that you may need additional papers for an older dog.)
Most airlines have some sort of summer embargo, in which they will not transport a pet if any city on your itinerary is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. For instance, Northwest Airlines specifies that it won't transport a pet to Las Vegas, NV and all cities in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, between June 1st and September 15th. I hope that Washington DC will be acceptable. I'm not sure yet and will have to call each airline to double-check. However, it looks like if they won't ship as checked luggage during the summer, they will ship as cargo. My guess is that they already have temperature controlling equipment in their cargo planes.
How much will it cost? For in-cabin pets, the fee tends to be around $100-$150 for most airlines. For checked luggage, the cost varies depending on the airline. For instance, Alaskan Airlines charges $100 regardless of size or weight, while Northwest Airlines charges from $139 for a small dog (25 lbs) up to $359 for a giant dog (150 lbs). Lastly, for cargo, the cost again varies depending on the airline. For instance, Continental charges anywhere from $149 for a small dog (below 25 lbs) to $659 for a ridiculously gigantic dog (over 200 lbs.).
Here's my compilation of airlines that transport pets:
Another option is to drive Loki across country. Having driven across country once before, I know first-hand that it's not fun. It might look fun in the movies, and some crazy people might insist that it's fun. But, really, it's not. Who wants to spend a week in their car?
There exist some services that will drive your dog for you. I'm not convinced that this is better than flying. The advantage is that the dog will not be subject to the airplane environment with all of its strange smells and sounds. The disadvantage is obviously time. And in either case, you have to trust your dog with strangers, whether it be airline handlers or a driver. I didn't research this option much, but it seems that the cost varies between $600 - $1000+.