Let’s admit it, traveling is a hassle even for us humans, between airport security, parking and travel delays. Are you planning to fly with your pet in the near future? Fortunately, millions of dogs fly with their pet owners every year. The sooner you can let the airlines know you will be flying with a pet, the better. Just as there is a limited number of people that can fly on the plane, so too is there a limited number of dogs.
Traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your dog. But with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
If a pet is too large to fit in a crate under your seat, they are checked as personal luggage. Don’t fret – they are placed in a pressurized, temperature controlled compartment.
Here are some tips to make flying your pet as easy as possible:
- Pet reservations can’t be made online — they must be done by phone.
- The number of animals per aircraft is limited, so reserve ahead.
- Fly early in the day and non-stop if at all possible.
- Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and is wearing a collar and ID tag. Breakaway collars are best for cats. The collar should also include destination information in the unlikely event your pet escapes.
- No airline will guarantee acceptance of a dog it has not seen.
- “Airline Veterinary Health Certificates” must be signed by the vet within 7 to 10 days of travel. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
- Sedation is not allowed by some airlines, because pets lose their equilibrium when sedated. Natural calming tablets, however, are generally allowed. All medications must be declared upon check-in.
- Under-seat cargo crates must meet the size for federal and airline criteria. Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Shipping crates can be purchased from many pet supply stores and airlines. Affix a current photograph of your pet to the top of the crate for identification purposes.
For a list of all rules applying to pet travel, click here.
As always, if you need help with ANY of your dog’s behaviors, call your local Bark Busters dog trainer.