Looking to fly the (pet) friendly skies with your furry sidekick? As we all know flying can be a bit stressful even when we are going it alone – add your four-legged kid to the mix and now there’s more for you to worry about.
Whether your pet is flying in-cabin (which is preferred) or below-cabin – with a little bit of planning and heeding some helpful tips, your flying experience with your pet doesn’t need to be anxiety ridden. So, sit back,relax, and enjoy the flight.
1) Book non-peak flights
To help ease the stress for both you and your pet, book a non-peak flight. Non-peak flights usually equate to fewer passengers, more cabin room, and less commotion.
2) Find a direct flight
No one likes having to change flights. Adding a pet to the mix makes connecting flights that much more hectic - particularly if the layover time is not long enough for potty breaks. A straight through flight will save your pet from any undue stress caused by changing planes.
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3) Book your flights at same time
When reserving your flight, be sure to book your flight and your pet’s at the same time as the number of pets allowed on each flight is limited.
4) Get a pet health certificate
Airlines require a health certificate from your vet – typically issued within 10 days of departure. Be sure to have this readily available as you will need to provide this proof to airline personnel.
5) Ensure your pet is ID’d
Make sure an identification tag is attached to your pet’s collar. A non-dangling tag is recommended. In addition, his travel carrier/crate should also be labeled with your pet’s identification.
6) Get a pet-icure
To help ensure the safety and well being of your pet, make sure your pet’s nails are trimmed prior to travel. This will help prevent him from hooking his nails in the carrier door or other crevices.
7) Take a break from food
It’s recommended to keep from feeding your pet for four to six hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip.
8) Pet sedatives?
Refrain from administering pet tranquilizers or sedatives unless your veterinarian prescribes them. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for air travel.
9) Arrive early
Be sure to pack well in advance so that you can leave early for the airport. This will allow you plenty of time for you and your pet to check in. The more rushed you are, the more stressed you and your pet will be.
10) Heed pet travel embargoes
Choose flights that will accommodate temperature extremes. When traveling in winter or summer months, most airlines institute embargoes which restrict below cabin pet travel based on extreme temperatures of departure and destination cities – as well as temps of layover cities.
11) Choose the right pet travel carrier
Be sure to get an airline approved pet travel carrier. Options include both soft-sided and hard-sided. Since in-cabin carriers must be stored under the seat in front of you, soft-sided carriers are typically best suited. Below-cabin pet carriers need to be hard-sided. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations as far as the proper size carrier for your pet. The appropriate size carrier should allow your pet to be able to lie down comfortably, stand up and turn around. Ensure for proper ventilation and comfort. Double check that your pet is secure in the carrier and he can't escape.
12) Have leash handy
Ensure you have a leash on hand so that you can readily walk your pet prior to departure and after your arrival. Be sure not to store it in the pet carrier with your pet or attach it to the pet carrier.
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