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Taking dog back to Canada

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Has anyone on the forum flown back to Canada with a dog?

 

I'm trying to find out if there's an official health certificate form to import a dog into Canada, or if the vet can just make one up based on the information required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (no worries, I don't plan to serve my pooch up on a platter). It's pretty clear that the European passport thing doesn't cut it. Does anyone know, before I take time off work to visit the Canadian consulate?

 

I also understand that Lufthansa has certain requirements as well, but it's impossible to get through to them by phone right now. So if anyone has any information to share based on personal experience, I would be grateful.

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Well this is interesting. I thought I'd share this with any other TT'ers who might, maybe, want to take a dog back to Canada someday.

 

I booked a direct flight to Toronto from Munich with Lufthansa on August 30th, and called customer service to arrange for the dog transport as directed. My dog is just a little too big (over 8kg) to go under the seat.

 

The Lufthansa rep did her thing on the computer and it spit back the message that I had to arrange for the dog directly through Air Canada. Strange, I thought. I hadn't paid attention to the fact that though I booked with Lufthansa, all the flights operated out of Munich are actually with Air Canada.

 

So I called Air Canada, and lovely (not) news: Air Canada will not take pets in the hold between June and September 10th. Embargo. The fellow at AC was helpful though, a fellow dog owner, and since changing my flight to after the embargo is not an option for me (I have to be out of my apartment on August 31st) he advised me to change my flight so it leaves out of Frankfurt. There are 3 flights a day to Toronto from Frankfurt, and one of them is with Lufthansa - which does NOT have an embargo on pets as cargo. So... it cost me 200 EUR, but I'm leaving from Frankfurt instead of Munich. I want to spare the poor dog two flights (and myself from the anxiety that the dog makes it on the second plane) so I'll get a ride to Frankfurt and leave from there instead of Munich.

 

Good to know. Saves a costly (200 EUR extra) change. And I'm actually happier having Lufthansa handle my dog - Air Canada can barely manage people. I wouldn't trust them with my pooch's life.

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You do realise that the same baggage handlers in Toronto deal with both Air Canada and Lufthansa flights? And that here in Germany the same handlers also deal with both AC and LH flights?

 

The difference is most likely that AC isn't using planes with air conditioned cargo spaces, and thus refuse to carry live animals in the hold when the weather is extremely hot.

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The embargo has nothing to do with air-condiitoned holds. The fellow at Air Canada customer service gave a long story about how how "hot it is on the tarmac" and how animals can "spend up to 4 hours" on the tarmac waiting to be loaded and boil to death, blah blah blah. I commented that the solution to that was not to leave live animals on the tarmac for 4 hours, and he didn't have an answer for that. I was left with the impression that Air Canada's embargo is a defense against their own incompetence, or more likely it's to make more room for baggage in the hold during the high travel season, especially since people check more luggage now due to the security regulations on carry-on items. Air Canada put an embargo on pet transportation for the Winter Olympics and also over Christmas, and refuse to take any dog/crate combination over 70 lbs at any time as checked baggage (they have to be sent separately on a cargo plane) which supports that argument.

 

Anyway, the lesson here for anyone from Munich taking a dog back to Canada between June and September is this: If you book with Lufthansa, make SURE you book a Lufthansa-operated flight out of Frankfurt. All of the flights from Munich to Toronto are operated by Air Canada, and only one of the 3 flights a day from Frankfurt to Toronto is operated by Lufthansa.

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Gills: just one piece of advice here, since I took both of my dogs (at that time two Airdale terrier) with me to Boston when I moved there in the late 90s: either rent or buy the transport box way before the flight date and have it at home to train the dog going in and out. It reduces your own stress level and that of the dog deeply if he doesn't see the box at the airport for the first time. I had my boxes with me 4 weeks before the due flight data and in the first days just left them stay open in the house with some goodies inside so that it became fun for the dogs to enter them. After a while I shut down the doors for the first time, just for a couple of minutes and then later for an hour, always with a great celebration afterwards and loads of goodies..

When I then arrived at Frankfurt Airport (same idea by me, not to have the dogs go thru two take-offs and landings) I really just snapped the fingers and they were in the box. Next to me a family of four struggled an hour with their dog (big black one , size like my dogs) who made it very clear from the first look at it that he would not enter this f---ing box, like "only over my dead body" etc.

When they saw my two dogs just wagging their tails and entering their boxes with delight, I got some really nasty looks from the family and could not prevent me from grinning...

 

Cheerio

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Good post Starshollow, but I'd take it a bit further. I can't find the darned post now, but a few years ago I remember suggesting that a person not only properly crate train their dog but also go to a grocery or drinks store and do some advanced training to get the dog used to the noise of squeaking wheels and the crate being moved and jostled. Easiest way to do that is to have the dog in the crate on a shopping cart or flat trolley and push it around a parking lot a few times. For bigger dogs you can use those large flat carts found at building supply stores. Start with short sessions, and gradually increase so that the dog doesn't freak out when his crate is being loaded into the plane and later unloaded.

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Thanks to both of you, good advice. In fact the crate arrived yesterday, and as soon as Turbo saw it she fled. She knows what it is, she was flown in from Spain by a rescue group after being caged in a killing station, and I guess it was all very traumatic. Crate training started last night, I went through a big slice of cheese and some expensive sausage but she's now at least sticking her head inside voluntarily. I'm going to need every day of the next few months to get her used to the thing!

 

The vet has also suggested some kind of hormone spray that makes the crate smell like mom or something. I'll go see her tomorrow to find out what that is. And drugs, I plan on plently of sedatives. For her and for me!

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Yes, some dogs respond well to "Rescue Remedy" (English, German) and other similar scented sprays, but not all. As for sedatives, they are usually not such a great idea for dogs except in really extreme cases.

 

To get crate training going a bit easier, take off the door and start feeding her by placing the bowl about a foot or two away from the opening. (However far the dog needs so that she isn't refusing to eat. You'll see what her personal comfort zone is.) Then very very slowly start nudging her food bowl closer and closer to the crate. Eventually move the bowl just inside the crate, and end up with the bowl way inside as far as it will go. Keep the door off the whole time until she's no longer even noticing that the crate is there at mealtimes.

 

It tends to work very well when a person has the extra time, and will save you a bit of money because you won't need as much of that expensive sausage. ;)

 

edit: Just in case I didn't make it clear, you give the bowl one nudge and leave it there for a few mealtimes. Then another nudge and wait a few days before yet another. Don't want anyone to think it can be done in one session. This is a long, slow process with the advantage that the dog shouldn't get stressed out at all. It is especially good for dogs who already have had a bad experience with crates. Obviously puppies and curious dogs with no bad experiences will usually have no trouble going at a faster pace.

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I'm new to TT and moving the other way - from Canada to Berlin. My husband is already working there and I will be joining him with our dog.

Thank you so much for these tips. They make sense and will help a lot to get her used to the big trip. Are the approved crates those plastic ones that say airline-approved? She will be flying YYZ - FRA on Lufti.

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Does anyone know where to get a water dish for this crate, one that attaches to the inside of the door? I tried zooplus.de, but no luck. Apparently the dish has to be there so attendants can fill it from the outside if necessary, I guess without opening the door. I hope they don't open the cage door -- goodbye dog!

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my German vet was totally opposed to giving the dogs some sedative medication. What he did recommend and what I did use in the end was some kind of psycho-drug that worked on both humans and dogs and that just made sure they were relaxed and would not panic. Must have been like smoking pot in a way because both of my dogs arrived a Logan airport in their crates (while I was chewing my nails til they bled) like: Hey dude, cool, so this is the US of A, alright, but why do they have so many pink elefants moving around, funny that...

There really was no stress level appearant to them, which proved to be true because 2 years later when moving back they had no fear or problems moving into the crates again at all.

the one thing truly funny was the first walkies in the US. For just maybe 100-200 yards we needed like an hour because everything smelled new and different and they had to analyze and categorize every new plant and smell... and when they met their first skunk and thought it was a cat - thank god for my landlord and his tomato juice :D

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Thanks Bipa, that's exactly what I need.

 

Starshollow -- skunks!! Oh my lord, I'm gonna need a vat of tomato juice for sure. She will be SO clued out. The critters here that she attempts to harrass, like hedgehogs and rabbits and squirrels, are pretty harmless. Can't wait until she gets acquainted with skunks and raccoons and coyotes. Oh man.

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Our dog travelled from Australia to Singapore, and then on to Germany two years later.

I think I was more stressed than she was for both moves! Lufthansa were very good on the second move.

 

Sedatives are apparently a big no no as it might affect their breathing and also ability to brace themselves when their crate is being moved around... As suggested by others, crate training really helped. So much so that the crate now lives in a corner of a room which she likes to escape to in bad weather (Jack Russells and thunder storms do not go well together).

I also put one of my old shirts in the crate for the move so she could smell "mum".

 

Anyhow, good luck and I'm sure it will be fine!

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Since I have travelled with our Dogs two times to Germany and one time back to Canada, here are my experences...

 

In my case I can not fly with Air Canada as one of my Bulldoggies is over their weight limit. Providing your dog is under 250lbs. Luftansa will accept the dog (unless that changed sine last year?).

To come to germay we had to have the forms filled out and certified by the food inspection agency in Canada before we left. When we returned to Canada via Toronto, a Vet at the baggage area stoped us and asked to see the records of rabies, I just showed him the form that was certified for us to enter Germany with and he was happy and sorry that he had to take the 4 cups of dog food we brought back.

 

I crossed the US/Canadain border frequently with the dogs before coming over here, all that was required for the land crossing is proof of rabies.

 

Traveling with a dog is not normal I recomend you add 1 hour to your check in time as you will have to check-in as normal then cart the dog over to an other area, check the dog in and pay for its flight next in the case of Canada have the crate x-rayed.

 

For the trip, I would not give food, feed in the moring before departing for the airport. I recomend getting a hamtster cage style water botle for the crate.

 

Be nice to the dog dont go cheap on the crate, get a good sized crate (enough room to allow the dog to enter, turn around and laydown), you are required to have also a blanket in the bottom, to help absorb any mishaps.

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gills, I was browsing through old posts and found this one which you might also find helpful:

 

 

Two other products to consider are D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheremone) and RELAXAN. Both will help relieve stress without actually sedating your dog and you can get them online or else through your vet.

 

For travel, RELAXAN is probably the better of the two. Essentially a multi-vitamin pill that can be given to dogs and cats, it relies on the principle that L-Tryptophan is a naturally occuring amino acid which is a chemical precursor to serotonin. It helps keep animals (and us!) calm and better able to handle stress. Also available as other brands like Nutricalm. Or you can just feed your dog lots of turkey for a few days prior to travel, which also contains higher amounts of tryptophan.

 

 

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Thanks Bipa. On Saturday I was in to see the vet and she told me about D.A.P., so I bought a small bottle. When I got home I sprayed it around the inside of the crate and then (after about 15 minutes) I threw a treat in and she went for it. Turbo was interested - she paused for a few minutes to have a big investigative sniff before making an exit. It was the longest she stayed inside voluntarily.

 

Crate training is coming along, I don't give my little Spanish street princess enough credit. I'm feeding her in the crate now, with the bowl pushed right to the back. Today she went in and stright to the bowl all by herself without any encouragement. When I first got her she was afraid to go through doorways so it's no surprise that the crate freaked her out, but the right incentive (food!) helps. I think by the time August rolls around she'll be pretty cool with it.

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Here's if an official answer to my original question, for posterity. It's from an email I received from someone at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. (Food Inspection? I'm not going to China!!):

 

 

Yes, the EU pet passport will be accepted since it should have all the information concerning the rabies vaccination as follows:

 

should identify the animal as in breed, color, weight, etc., and indicate the name of the licensed rabies vaccine used (trade name), including serial number and duration of validity (up to three years). Please note that if the duration of validity is not indicated on the certificate, it will be considered valid for one year.

 

Dogs imported into Canada will have a documentary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure the rabies vaccination is current and the animal description matches. The fee is $30.00 + tax.

 

Contact the airline carrier you will be travelling with to establish their requirements. They often require a health certificate which would be issued by your local veterinarian or an official government veterinarian of Germany.

 

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Thanks for posting that. Always good to have the newest info, even if it doesn't seem like it has changed much.

 

One thing to really pay attention about is that airlines will sometimes have MORE STRINGENT requirements than countries. Just as an example, some airlines will require that the rabies shot be given at least 30 days prior to travel, while some countries only require 21 days for entry. Don't think you'll have to worry about it, but anyone else should double check, especially if they prefer to rely on titration rather than regular immunisation.

 

edit: and excellent news about your Spanish princess! I'm very happy for you that crate training is turning out so well. I was expecting a much longer time before she started eating so comfortably inside the crate.

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