Are you planning on taking a trip with your dog? Flying might seem like a good option, but sadly, not all airlines allow dogs on airplanes.
Always do research before booking a flight because even airlines that do allow dogs on airplanes have significant restrictions. It helps to create a checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything. Being prepared can save you a lot of anxiety when it comes to putting your pup on a plane. When making your checklist, don’t forget to include these questions:
- Does the airline only allow service dogs or emotional support animals to fly with their owners?
- Can you fly with multiple pets? Airlines that do allow dogs on airplanes have limited spots available for animals so you may not be able to take more than one with you.
- Are there any breed, size or age limitations? Most airlines require that the weight of the dog, with the carrier included, is no larger than 20lbs. Also, keep in mind that certain breeds have flying limitations. Short-nosed dogs are known for breathing problems, and the difference in air pressure can exacerbate them.
- What kind of carrier is required, and where is it expected to be stored when on the plane? Advocate for your pet and fully understand your airline’s guidelines when it comes to flying accommodations. Unfortunately, 24 animals died just last year due to problems with where and how they were forced to travel. Most airlines require your dog to stay in a carrier under the seat in front of you, but you want to check your airline’s policy before you purchase your tickets.
- What are the fees associated with flying with your dog? Every airline is different, so research the costs ahead of time to avoid any surprises.
- Is there any extra paperwork required by the airline or your travel destination?
- Are there direct flights available? The less time spent on a plane, the better.
Once you find an airline that allows dogs on airplanes, visit your veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough to travel by air.
Not all dogs handle air travel the same way, and it’s always safest when you can watch your dog yourself. If you have a larger dog, consider making alternative travel arrangements such as a road trip. Most airlines require large animals to be checked, and the conditions in which checked pets have to fly aren’t always reliable. Temperatures can be extreme, ventilation is poor, and there’s a higher risk your dog could end up misplaced. That can be traumatic for both you and your dog.
If you and your vet decide it’s okay for your dog to fly, address any concerns about their anxiety. Medicine seems like a quick fix, but keep in mind that the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that you DO NOT give tranquilizers to your pet. Sedatives can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems, and they’re not always safe to take with other medications. If your dog has anxiety, you may want to consider a different mode of transportation.
Now that you’re sure your dog is healthy enough to fly, it’s time to get packing. Don’t forget all the essential items your dog is going to need for their big adventure!
- Food and treats: It’s better to be prepared than to have to switch your dog’s food unexpectedly because you couldn’t find their brand.
- Bottled water: You will probably have to buy this in the terminal after the security checkpoint, but you want to make sure your dog doesn’t become dehydrated.
- Playthings: Toys not only keep your dog entertained, but they’re a great security item when you’re staying in an unfamiliar environment. Remember to pack your dog’s favorite toy or blanket to help them feel more comfortable while traveling.
- Medications and grooming necessities: Bring enough for your trip, but pack a little extra just in case of emergency.
- Required documentation needed to fly with your dog:
- A health certificate is almost always required by airlines and must be obtained within ten days before flying.
- An acclimation certificate is required by some airlines.
- a copy of your dog’s medical records.
- A reliable leash and harness.
- Waste bags and puppy pads.
- ID tags: Your dog should always wear identification just in case they get lost. It’s also a good idea to make sure their microchip data is accurate. It’s also important to clearly label your dog’s travel crate with a name, address, and live animal sticker.
All your bags are packed, but there are a few things to consider before you board your flight.
Make sure your dog is fed and exercised before you fly. It’s important to give your dog enough time to digest his food, go to the bathroom, and get a little exercise. Physical activity is essential and will help him be more relaxed on the plane.
While on and off the plane, check your pet to make sure they are acting normally. If you notice any abnormal symptoms such as vomiting, fever, lethargy or problems breathing get your dog checked out immediately.
Flying isn’t the ideal form of travel for every dog, but with research and preparation dogs on airplanes can stay safe and happy.
Is your dog a world traveler? Share your tips for putting dogs on airplanes in the comments.
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