How do I prepare my pet for air travel? Traveling with your pet can be nerve-wracking, but taking your pet on an airplane seems to add another level of stress. Planning ahead and doing your research will go a long ways in helping you and your pet feel more comfortable with air travel. Here are some helpful tips to help make flying with your pet go as smoothly as possible!
Flying With a Dog or Cat
- Make sure to do your research and choose an airline that allows pets and will ensure their safety. Some airlines don’t allow pets, and some may not be as trustworthy as others. Take the time to find an airline that will take good care of your pet and make you and your pet feel comfortable. When looking for an airline, look at their pet policy, read through their rules, and look at their background. Some allow small animals to travel in the cabin, while others will only allow pets to travel in the cargo area. Some won’t allow certain breeds (brachycephalic breeds) on board, and some require that the animal is a certain age. In addition, most airlines have a limited number of carry-on pets.
- Choosing the right flight can make a big difference in ensuring a smooth trip. It is best to choose a direct flight if possible, as these are safest and less stressful.
- You will need to get an airline-approved carrier if you don’t have one already. It’s best to check with airlines for their specific rules and regulations concerning pet carriers. Most airlines require that the carrier is properly ventilated, sturdy, and large enough for the pet to stand, turn around, and lie down. It also has to latch securely and not require special tools to open. The carrier must be labeled with the words “Live Animals” and your address, plus you need to have arrows to indicate the top and bottom of the carrier. It’s helpful if you allow your pet to become familiar with the carrier before the trip, allowing him to relax during the actual trip.
- Make sure your pet receives a health certificate exam from his veterinarian before the trip. Most airlines require you to obtain a health certificate before flying with dogs and cats. Please note that some airlines require that the certificate is issued within 10 days of outbound travel and 30 days of return travel.
- Make sure that your pet’s carrier is equipped with necessary items, including food bowls that attach to the cage and water bottles that can be filled without opening the carrier.
- Be aware of what city, town, or state you will be visiting. Also make sure that your lodging is pet-friendly and will be suitable for your pet.
- Be cautious about the weather, both in the area you are flying out of and the area you are flying to. Some airlines do not allow pets to fly in certain weather conditions (if it is too hot or cold).
- Ensure that your pet is up-to-date on his vaccinations. There is a good chance that he will encounter other animals while traveling and during your trip, especially if you plan on going to parks while you are away. Dog parks are known for the spreading of diseases, especially Kennel Cough, which is easily spread through the air from one dog to another.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and that their microchip is registered in your name. The BuddyID Complete Protection System is the best level of protection for your dog or cat. The BuddyID Complete Protection System includes a BuddyBadge™ QR code pet tag, a microchip and the lifetime registration for your pet. If your dog or cat does lose the QR pet tag while you’re traveling, you still have the permanent ID – the registered microchip!
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