Essential Info while Traveling with Pets
Whether you are flying for an extended vacation, or taking the plunge and moving to a new city flying can be stressful. This stress is amplified for your pet. With loud noises, altitude changes and a lot of movement your pet is going to experience a lot of stress, especially if they travel as cargo. It is highly unadvisable to fly with pets if there is an accessible alternative for traveling we recommend doing it. Every year animals die due to the rough conditions on board an airline. Not always controllable by the airline, flights are simply an unideal place for pets. From rough handling to extreme weather conditions your pet is bound to experience a stressful or life threatening experience. If you must fly with your pets we recommend you take as much precaution as possible.
Whether your pet travels at your feet or as cargo depends on their weight and size. If your pet, plus their crate, is below 20 lbs* they will likely be able to fly at your feet. This will still be very stressful for your pet as they will still be experiencing sensory overload, but with you not far away their fears will be drastically reduced. If they are lucky enough to be with you try to add to their experience by petting them and giving treats. There is quite a few things you can do to help your pet to ensure his safe arrival.
Here we have compiled a few things you should know before you fly with your furry friend.
Buying your ticket:
When buying your ticket make sure to weigh and measure your pet along with their crate so you can ensure you don’t have any surprises at the airport. Check with your airline as different companies have different regulations.
When booking, pick the most direct flight possible. While not often, there has been cases where animals have been lost between layovers. Avoid this by picking the flight with the shortest duration and the most direct.
Ensure when booking your flight that your pet is on the same flight as you. This will reduce the chances of your pet getting lost in a foreign land.
Lastly, keep in mind the time of year you travel in. Cargo bays notoriously have extreme temperatures, either cold or cripplingly hot. This can lead to your pet falling extremely ill or worse, death. Enquire with your airline to see if the temperature is controlled in the cargo area.
When buying your crate, test to ensure your dog can stand up tall and turn around. Dogs notoriously like to do this before lying down in bed. It will also help them from getting hurt when handled roughly on a flight.
From the moment you get your crate, make sure you find a permanent way to write as much contact information as you can on it. This includes your name, contact information, and in case of emergency contact information. Writing your final destination helps as well.
Getting your pup ready:
Most importantly, make sure you buy your crate with enough time to get your pet comfortable with it. The first time your pet is in the crate should not be at the airport. Try feeding your pet in the crate on the days leading up to your tip. Show them that it isn’t meant to be a scary thing. If your dog feels comfortable in the crate, they will be comfortable during their trip.
Check with your airline, and destination country, if there are any immunizations required for your trip. We always recommend keeping your pets up to date on immunizations, especially kennel cough and flea treatments.
Shortly before you go, try trimming your pet’s nails. This will give them added traction and avoid a potential nail loss due to getting caught in their crate.
Before getting to the airport tire your pup out. This will help to make him tired for the flight.
Packing for your trip:
When packing make sure you fill your pets crate with familiar things including their bed, a blanket that smells like you, a toy that they love. These will go a long way to helping your pet feel more secure. Leaving you is scary for a pet. Having things that are familiar will help them feel like they belong.
Make sure that your pet has enough water in the crate to last them the duration of the flight.
Test your pet’s collar by ensuring that it is up to date and that there is no way that it can get hooked into the crate. When possible attach a harness to your pet, instead of a collar, so that it doesn’t go around its neck.
Getting to the airport:
Try to make this experience as positive as possible offering treats and extra attention. Ensure you give your pet a chance to relieve themselves at the last second.
Allow for added time at the airport for delays in passing through security and any special handling your pet may need.
When boarding your plane be sure to let your captain and your flight attendants know that your pet is on board. This knowledge can only help when trying to ensure your animals safety.
When you land:
No matter how the flight was for you keep in mind that it was stressful for your pet. The noises and unfamiliarities can be traumatizing. The loud noise combined with the altitude changes and rough handling add negativity to your pets experience. The moment you get your pet back give them some love and reassurance immediately.
Check your pet thoroughly for any injuries and decide if your pet needs any veterinary attention.
Taking them out of their crate and allowing them to go to the bathroom will be a necessity. Spend some quality time with them.Even though they may not take it due to stress, offer them some food and water.
You’re not going to be able to make this a stress-free trip for your pet. If you can make it a bit more comfortable, you’ve done your job. It is possible that through an online application you can apply for your dog to be an emotional support dog. They will receive documentation and are then given the rights of any other service dog. This means they will be able to travel by your side, no matter their size. For more information about flying with your animal check here.
It is highly unadvisable to fly with these pets if they experience breathing difficulties or is breed with sinus issues such as bulldogs and pugs. From the stress to altitude changes to extreme weather possibilities, it is likely very unsafe for these types of dogs to be on a flight.
Have you traveled with your pet recently? Let us know what worked for you in the comments.
*Weight allowances are airline dependent and you should always check with your airline for their restrictions