Blake and me have traveled quite a bit together. In just one year of life, this dog has seen more that some people did in the lifetime. All our travels has been done by car. We explored every corner on the West Coast in US, we lived on the back of my truck for more than a week, we drove cross-country through 8 states from Arizona to Toronto. He is a trooper! I cannot express how good he is in car. I am really proud of him as he never vines or causes any issues, he sits still for 7-8 hours of straight driving.
It’s time to expand our scope of travel and begin exploring Europe. We are heading to Kiev, Ukraine 🇺🇦
Unfortunately it would be quite a challenge to drive my truck across the ocean, so I need to make sure he is ready for a long plane flight. I don’t want to have him shipped in the cargo section, and looking to have him travel with me in the main cabin.
Choose the airlines wisely
First of all you need to make sure you choose the airlines that allow pets on board. Every airline have specific requirement regards weight of the pet, breed, size etc. Study all those requirements to prevent make sure there will be no surprises at the airport.
Ukrainian airlines FlyUIA had a direct flight from Toronto to Kiev that allowed pets onboard. In our case, maximum weight of an animal including a container for carriage in cabin should not exceed 8kg and size of container must not exceed 3 linear dimensions 115cm (55х40х20 сm). Otherwise your pet should be transported as animal in hold. I’ve got the pet carrier strictly due to the requirements, however Pooch seem to be a bit overweight for this trip. To be exact, 2 kg (4.5 lbs). I was really worried that after they weight him at the check in, he will be sent to travel in cargo section of the plane. Thank God! Besides the rabies certificate they haven’t requested any additional documentation or put him on scale. Lucky you – chubby boy!
Don’t hesitate to contact the airline customer support with any questions prior to the flight.
Prepare to pay extra
The cost of flying one way in this direction in the cabin is 100 EUR / 153 CAD. Respectively round trip for Blake costed me extra CAD 306.00. However at the check in I mentioned that he is an emotional support animal with proper documents, which saved me $306. Service animals travel for free.
Get your pet comfy
Traveling by plane is a new experience for my boy and I want to make sure he’s ready and comfortable. First of all you need to get a pet carrier.
The one I bought is made by Sherpa. It costed me $125 at PetSmart. It has 4 wheels underneath and plenty of ventilation.
Now you need to introduce your pet to his new travel vehicle. You have to familiarize him with bag and make sure he’s not afraid of it and is comfortable to spend extended periods of time inside. Like the astronauts are being trained to go out of space, I began training Blake with familiarizing him with his new spacecraft. After he got comfortable being a passenger in it, I moved forward and closed him inside in for 10-15-20 minutes at the time, so he is being ok spending prolonged periods of time inside. The final stage of training was the command to “hide”. Shit happens and in case of emergency 🚨, he hides inside and waits until I say it’s clear to stick his nose back outside. Every day, for about a month, I would spend some time training him, playing with his carrier. He now feels more than comfortable with the carrier, which will help us both to have less stressful flight. I think he’s ready!
Vaccinations & Paperwork
Study on required vaccinations and documents your pet need to enter the country you’re flying to. It’s really important your buddy is up to date on his shots and papers. My experience was really stressful and it took me almost two weeks to have everything ready. Don’t keep it for the last minute, as some of the vaccines has to be given 21 days or earlier before the flight.
1. Ukraine does not impose any restrictions or quarantines on the importation of pets.
2. I need to obtain the “International Health Certificate” issued by local government of Canada for exportations of pets. It needs to be completed by a local vet within seven days of travel and endorsed by the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA). If traveling from the USA then endorsement is by APHIS)
3) Ukraine requires a current rabies vaccination. Keep in mind that they don’t recognize the 3-year rabies vaccine.
The costs to take your pet to Ukraine will include the following:
- Pet carrier – $125
- Checkup and completion of health certificate by local Veterinary – $110
- Rabies Vaccination – $140
- Endorsement by CFIA – $20
(APHIS in the USA – $38)
- Pet on board fee from FlyUIA Airlines – $306
- Import fee in Ukraine – none
- Import fee in Canada – $35
The flight is almost 10 hours long. It’s hard for me and I can’t imagine for painful it cauldron be to an animal. As my friend suggested, I gave Blake a small dose of Benadryl to help him fall and stay asleep through the flight. 30 minutes before departure I gave him half the pill (1 mg per pound). If you’re going to try Benadryl with your pet, I suggest trying it at home first and see how he reacts to it, just to test it out.
Overall the trip went so much better that I expected. I am really proud of Blake as he behaved exceptionally well. I don’t know any other dog that will have so muck patience and trust in his owner as he does. All the trainings I’ve done with him well payed off, making this flight a breeze for both of us.