Air Travel With Dogs

Posted on January 8th, 2013 in Dogs, Pet Travel

I’m a traveler myself. I can’t seem to be able to stay put in one place. That has prevented me from getting a pet and it has been tough. I grew up with dogs and moving around without one felt quite lonely. I decided to investigate this whole situation  and I learned that there are many things I can do to be able to travel with a dog so I can finally add one to my ever-moving life!

If you think about it, a lot of people are scared of flying. Can you imagine how stressed and scared a dog can get if you put him on a plane? Yet sometimes you don’t have a choice! There are several things you can do to provide a better environment for your dog during the flight and it won’t be too bad.

I will get you through the necessary steps for air travelling with your pet and that extra mile you can take to make it easier for our furry friends.

Airline policies and fares

Each airline will have different ways of dealing with this situation, but they will most certainly be well written somewhere. Check out their website or even give them a call to ask them as many questions as you need.

Sometimes you will even need a reservation for your dog, apart from yours! Cargo charges will also apply even if your dog is small enough to travel in the main cabin with you. It’s more about the fare applied to the responsibility of caring for a selfless being.

Make sure you get to the airport well ahead of your flight time because the check in process won’t be a fast one!

A certified healthy pet

You probably already know that your dog is healthy because if you’re going through the whole process of making these arrangements, it probably means that you take great care of him! I know you do. So, getting him to the vet will probably be something you do on a regular basis.

In order to fly, the airline demands a health certificate. You need to have a licensed veterinarian do the examination and sign off on it. You can check with the airline as far as how soon can you give this to them from the moment you make your reservation. They won’t let your dog on the plane if the certificate is not there, so you can keep it with your travel information and show it when you’re checking in, but some people prefer getting it to the airline even days before the flight, as soon as they get it.

Another thing you need to ask the vet is if you’re dog is in a –high risk- category. Heart and lung diseases are of course a no-go for the trip, since chances are the pup won’t make it, so you would need other choices. However, he may be generally healthy but be a short-nosed breed. These tend to overheat easily. It doesn’t mean they can’t travel, it just means you have to take extra measures to keep them cool. The dog’s age is also something to take into account too, because if he’s too young or too old, they are prone to being extra fearful and nervous. At the end of the day, as far as risk issues, it’s your call.

Getting him there

The airline will demand certain aspects to comply for the carrier that the dog is travelling in.

If the flight is short and the dog is small enough to fit in a flexible pet-bag that can go underneath the seat in front of you, you can take him with you in the cabin. At times, you are allowed to take him out for a little bit, but you definitely can’t let him roam the halls by himself.

If the flight is longer or if the dog is larger, you need to take other measures. The airlines will demand a crate of a certain size. It needs to be tall enough for the dog to be able to stand up and not hit its head. It also needs to be wide enough for the dog to be able to stand up and comfortably turn.

Some airlines have restrictions and demands as far as food and water. Of course you know you have to give your dog a healthy and stable food and water supply; however, the airline sometimes needs to know that there’s extra, in case the flight is delayed or the route is changed and you end up on the plane for a few more hours.

A good way to ensure the water supply is to freeze in the dish the night before. This way, on your way to the airport and by the time the dog gets put on the plane, the water will be nice and fresh.

Getting the dog ready

You should feed the dog as little as possible before you travel. You can feed him a little more the day before maybe, but not too much before the actual flight.

Another thing to consider is the dog’s ability to handle being on the crate. To ensure that, you can make him sleep there for a few nights before you travel. Also, you can simulate the movement, since the crate will be handled in the airport (handled with care! but handled nonetheless).

And the last thing you can do is put a piece of your clothing inside of it. This way, the dog will feel a bit more comfortable with your scent there.

I hope that was useful and you get to travel with your furry friend! I know it was for me!

About the author:

Eugenia Sincovich is an Argentinean writer that can’t seem to stay in one place! She loves everything that reminds her that she’s alive and does her best to convey those feelings into her texts. She currently writes for iNetGiant.

One Response to “Air Travel With Dogs”

  1. Fisher says:

    I have seen dogs out of their crates at the Tampa airport. I know people take cats on airlines, but I have yet to see any. On a recent trip to New York, I noticed JFK even has a place where dogs can go outside to relieve themselves. How cool is that! It is a pet world after all.

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