Traveling with Pets - A Step by Step Guide
With trendsetter celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears bringing pint-sized pups everywhere they go, pet travel has become common.
While you don’t need a Louis Vuitton travel crate for your own little Tinkerbell, there are also few other things to note the next time you fly with your canine (or feline) friend.
How to Fly With Pets?
Here is the ultimate checklist before booking your flight ticket:
Before traveling, ensure you have all of the proper identification for your buddy. Buy an ID tag for your pet’s collar. You can get a temporary tag with the phone number and location of the hotel you plan to stay at to reduce confusion.
You can even consider microchipping your pet. It is a safe form of identification. It is mainly beneficial in case your pet escapes free from his/her collar. If your buddy is already microchipped, confirm that all the details are right and up-to-date.
Fit for Flying
Before traveling with your pet, it's better to determine whether he is fit to fly. Some pet breeds with short muzzles (like pugs) typically face breathing issues if left in the cargo hold. If he is looking too weak, consider leaving him at your home.
Moreover, even airlines with pet-friendly policies do not permit pregnant pets and those with suckling offspring. Besides, few cat breeds, short-snout dog breeds, and cross-bred animals are not allowed either. We recommend you to check with your airline about these cases in advance to avoid any last-minute surprises.
Cargo or Carry-On?
Most importantly, what kind of pet do you have and how big is he? It may be an important factor in deciding whether or not you bring them.
Remember, where your pet will rest in the flight will depend on their size. Although rules differ from one airline to another, most airlines will accept small dogs, cats, and domestic birds as carry-on luggage.
Your pet will have to fit in an airline-approved travel crate. It must also fit under the seat (generally about 10x15x20 inches and weighing less than 40 pounds).
He’ll need to be at least eight weeks old, fully weaned, and calm. If the pet is larger, he will need to travel in the cargo hold with the luggage. Most airlines describe it as a shipping pet.
Vaccination of your pet is another vital factor to consider when traveling via plane. There is a set of vaccines offered in a series when your pet is young. You need to update them every three years. Your veterinary doctor may advise you of additional vaccines depending on your location and other factors. We advise you to let your vet know about your travel plans as soon as possible so that he or she examines the health well.
The vet will also offer a ‘Health Certificate’ This document is mainly essential for international travel. You can show it at the checking time when entering a new state and/or country. In a few cases, you need a notary stamp on the certificate, and it must be vetted by a USDA-accredited veterinarian.
Carrying an animal with you does not mean they can escape all the paperwork. Most airlines also require your pet’s current health certificates and special documentation such as an Official Health Certificate, Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, or proof of rabies vaccines. So make sure that all shots are up to date. If you plan on traveling with your little buddy on a regular basis within Europe, it’s worth getting an EU Pet Passport.
If your pet shows any signs of violence, illness, or physical distress, airlines do not permit you to board with him or her. Try to schedule an appointment with an experienced veterinarian about one week or so before your flight.
Cross-check that you have all the necessary paperwork for each destination. Also, collect knowledge about which countries allow pets and which don’t.
Once you’ve determined that your pet meets all of your airline’s requirements, it's time to make sure he’s comfortable with his newfound jet-setter status.
How to Keep Things Calm?
While traveling, you must ensure that your furry buddy behaves well and does not create a nuisance for your fellow passengers. To make him or her calm and happy, consider the following things:
- Make sure his crate should be large enough for him to lie down comfortably, turn around, and stand freely.
- Trim any long nails so that they don’t snag on the crate door.
- Bring his favorite chewies. But avoid feeding your pet the morning of your travel day to get rid of nausea.
- If your little companion is a nervous flyer, you will need to get him used to his crate before your big trip.
- Be extra careful about using any puppy Prozac. The ASPCA and numerous veterinarians recommend against sedatives use on pets. In fact, some airlines will not allow your pet to board if they know he has been sedated.
Charges and Restrictions
You’ll most likely need to travel domestically with your pet. Many countries have strict quarantine requirements for animals arriving internationally. For example, few airlines are not permitted pets as cargo. That means they might not be safe for large-sized animals.
Also, in the Bahamas, you’ll need a special certificate. Be prepared to pay for your pooch. Airlines will charge $30 to $150 (each way) for letting your Fluffy/Fido sit under the seat. It’s always good to double-check the website of the airline so that you get the most up-to-date information before flying!
Also, note that some airlines will consider your pet a part of your carry-on allowance. In most cases, each traveler is allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item such as a purse or a briefcase).
Once you decide to bring your little buddy along, try to reserve his space as far in advance as possible. Most airlines allow only one kennel in first or business class and two kennels in the main cabin.
Arrangements Upon Arrival
Once you arrive at your destination, collect checked baggage, and your pet immediately. You must pick them up within four hours. Else, they will be taken to a vet or boarding facility.
Also, ensure you have booked a pet-friendly hotel and informed your dear one in advance of your arrival. Resorts with beaches and lawns are the best idea.
It's worth planning your itinerary in advance so that you and your pet don’t have to face any surprises and you arrive safe and sound.
A Word About Shipping
Larger animals can also be shipped in the cargo hold. But be very careful when deciding to have your pet travel anywhere other than the cabin of the plane. Shipping an animal can be dangerous and frightening for a pet.
Dogs too young or old are more prone to getting stress. It may be due to air quality change, cabin pressure, temperature, and other environmental problems.
Animals exposed to extreme heat and cold while being shipped can cause illness or death. In fact, many airlines that don’t have a temperature-controlled cargo hold won’t allow the shipment of animals. If you must ship your pet, look for a pet-friendly airline, such as Continental, with specific guidelines for animal shipping.
One more important thing to consider when traveling with your pet is the people around you. We’ve all experienced the close quarters of airline cabins.
We all know how uncomfortable it can be to have a seat next to the person who is talkative, practices poor hygiene, or had too much perfume. Imagine your seatmate’s discomfort if he or she is allergic to pets. So below are the Petiquette you can take into account:
- Make sure your pet is free of odors before traveling. Think twice about bringing him if he barks.
- Keep him inside his crate at all times during the trip.
- Place a favorite blanket or toy in the crate to make him feel at home.
Specifics - Domestic Airlines that Allow Pets
When your pet is traveling with you via air, it doesn't relieve you of the responsibilities as an owner. You must maintain extreme caution about his or her comfort and health throughout the journey. Pets are like your family.
But flying with your pet does not have to be tough. It just requires as much preparation as flying via air with children. Many domestic airlines go the extra mile to make the entire process quick and easy – you just need to be aware of where to book.
Whether you are flying with a napping kitten, playful puppy, or a service animal, below are a few of the best pet-friendly domestic airlines that you can pick:
Comparing Airline Pet Policies
All of the domestic airlines provide great accommodation so that you will enjoy your next trip without having to leave your furry friend at home.
Each of our domestic airlines has different policies for traveling with a pet. Almost every airline requires the carrier to ensure your pet gets sufficient space to stand and lie down. If flying in checked luggage, the airline ensures that the carrier has proper ventilation on both sides.
Plenty of airlines even limit the number of pets flying per flight. For example - in-cabin, just two pets are allowed at a time. Moreover, airlines usually adhere to safety procedures and government regulations. These policies can change at any time with respect to your pet’s safety and well-being.
Thus, make sure you follow each airline’s policy strictly. We advise you to call the Airline one day before your travel date.
You may be charged a flat fee by the airline, or it could vary according to your pet’s weight. Book your best domestic airlines for traveling with a pet today!