How to Fly with your Dog

Vacationing with your dog may be fun, but the same is not necessarily applicable to traveling. Humans often find traveling by air disconcerting, even though we are used to it. Therefore, it is understandable why our dogs find traveling so distressing. Dogs find traveling, especially air travel, extremely stressful. Traveling by flight is the opposite of everything they are used to. There are too many people, too many smells, loud noises, and an unfamiliar space for your dog to handle. However, there are a few ways you can make the experience for your dog a little less overwhelming.

Before we get into the details, you must know that there are ways that your dog can travel on an airplane. The first method allows you to take your dog into the cabin with you, the other requires your dog to travel in the cargo hold. Both of these methods can be stressful for your dog in a different manner, which is why multiple precautionary measures need to be taken for both. Here is how to fly with your dog:

1) While booking an airline, you must check its rules and regulations for traveling with pets.

Some might only allow your pet to travel in cargo holds. You must also check if they require any certification or documents for your pets that are not among those that you are already carrying. Another detail that you must check is if the airline charges any additional fees for traveling with a pet or if they have put any restrictions in place that might cause you problems. For example, certain airlines refuse to allow pets if the ground temperature of the destination is above or below a certain limit, or if they are traveling during certain months. These restrictions are to ensure that a pet does not have to deal with extreme weather conditions.

2) Some airlines also have restrictions regarding age, wherein they do not allow dogs who are below four months of age to travel with them.

You will also have to get a certificate of health from a vet for your dog. If your dog is traveling with you in the cabin, then you must confirm from the airlines if they have any particular vaccination requirements for dogs.

 3) If the airline only allows your dog to travel via cargo hold, you will have to put him or her in a carrier.

However, there is a chance that your pet has never stayed in a carrier for long periods. Therefore, you must get him or her acclimated to the carrier before you travel. The acclimatizing must be done for at least a month before the actual date of travel. Habit will reduce some of the stress of staying in a confined space. While purchasing a carrier, you must ensure that it is wide enough for your dog to sit comfortably and leave some room to stretch. You must also ensure that he or she can stand in the carrier without any problems.

4) Some airlines might require you to drop off your dog in his or her carrier while checking in your luggage.

Yet, others might need you to drop off your dog at a separate cargo hold. Either way, you must try and check-in early. This is because cargo holds are warm, ventilated, and quiet, which will ensure that your dog is comfortable and does not have to deal with a noisy, overwhelming airport lounge.

5) If you want your pet to travel with you in the cabin, you must make sure he or she is small enough to do so.

In such cases, your pet will have to be placed under the seat in front of you, which can only be done with smaller dogs. Since some airlines only allow dogs to travel in the cabin, you must be extremely careful while booking tickets. Another factor that you must keep in mind is that some airlines have a weight limit and your hand luggage combined with your dog’s weight must fall within the limit.

6) While air travel is safe for pets, certain things need to be noted.

There are certain breeds such as bulldogs, for whom air travel is not safe, due to their face structure. Dogs with short noses are usually advised against traveling via air. There are other similar concerns for different breeds. Therefore, it is not advisable to travel via air with such dogs. If you do not have another option, we suggest that you consult your vet before traveling. In such cases, it is better that your dog travels with you in the cabin.

7) If your dog is traveling in the cargo hold, it is better that you travel on the same flight.

You must also avoid traveling to places with extreme weather conditions. If this is not possible, then book flights where they adjust extreme temperatures. You must also not give your pet tranquilizers under any circumstances. It is inadvisable to feed your dog food or for at least 4-6 hours before traveling. If the flight is long, then you can put a small amount of water or ice cubes, to avoid spillage. You must trim your dog’s nails before traveling to ensure they do not get caught in anything.

8) We suggest that you book a flight that allows your dog to travel with you in your cabin.

While he or she should be alright, it is always better to have your pet by your side so that you can keep an eye on them. Once you land and have reached a safe, open area, you must examine your dog carefully.

These are all the factors that you need to keep in mind while flying with your dog. It is good to be cautious while doing so so that your dog can remain safe and healthy. Apart from this, your dog should be fine. We hope that you and your dog have a happy and fun trip together.