There is nothing better than traveling with your pet, going globe-trotting with your best friend. But, there can be a great deal of stress involved in traveling with an animal, especially if you’re not prepared. Safety, documentation, your dog’s anxiety levels, all of this needs to be accounted for. Here we’ll provide some solid tips and tricks on how to make flying with your dog as easy as possible.
Speak with the professionals
First things first, you need to talk to your vet. The professionals know what they are doing, and they are much more qualified than even the best, highest quality website (unless other vets and professionals are running the said website). Your vet will do a check-up, he or she will confirm whether your dog can fly or not. Furthermore, some airlines, or countries, might require a health certificate and a clean bill of health for your dog, if it is to travel.
See if you can board early
You might be able to board early if you are traveling with your dog. Since it takes time to get onto the aircraft, and since your goal is all about keeping your pet safe, there is no good reason why you can’t simply ask. Most airlines will accommodate you, and some might even require this.
Is your breed restricted?
For reasons that some would call unfair or unscientific, certain airlines place restrictions on specific dog breeds. Boston terriers, bulldogs, and boxers are the most likely targets. However, some of these restrictive airlines might let your dog fly if it meets certain weight and size restrictions.
Get it used to its carrier
If you haven’t already, we suggest you buy a comfy carrier for your dog as soon as possible. You want to acclimate your dog to the said carrier, and you want to get it used to the thing as quickly as possible. The point here is that your dog needs to look at the carrier as a safe place, a den. And this goes for any pet that might be flying with you – getting a suitable rabbit carrier for your pet bunny, a nice transporter for your cat, etc. Acclimate your pets by feeding them in the carrier or crate for days and weeks up to your flight. Put their beds in the carrier, their favorite toys and maybe something that smells familiar or comforting.
Keep an eye on pet relief areas
A nice addition to airlines and airports in recent years are pet relief areas. A pet relief area is a place where your dog can stretch its legs, relax, get some energy out of its system, and get ready for the remainder of the trip.
Try to lower your pet’s anxiety
Never give your pets medication that hasn’t previously been approved of by your vet. That means over the counter tranquilizers, pills, and supplements. Calming drops and CBD treats might be what you need, but even these should be brought up to your vet first.
Put toys and your dog’s favorite blanket in the carrier, when you’re traveling. Toys aren’t there just for fun. They are great stress relievers, and let your dogs get some extra energy and anxiety out during a trip. You also want to line your carrier to be as soft as possible, and to even place some puppy pads (just in case an accident happens).
Keep all your pet’s documents at hand
Airlines vary in their demands when it comes to flying with your pet. Still, most of them will ask for your pet’s passport or at least some kind of proof it got the vaccines it needs. We suggest you check with your airline, as well as to keep all relevant documents with you at all times. It’s best if you keep them at hand, to not slow down the boarding process.
Flying with your pet can be stressful, but keep your eyes on the prize and the destination. Everything will go much more smoothly if you work on lowering your pet’s anxiety through a comfy carrier and some toys. Always keep your documents at hand and listen to your vet. Do your homework – see if your dog can fly, if your dog’s breed is restricted, and if you can board early. Stay safe, don’t give your dog anything that hasn’t been prescribed by your vet, and you should be good to go.
Author: Jackie Brown
Pet expert Jackie Brown has spent 20 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is contributing writer for National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care (April 2019) and author of the book It’s Raining Cats and Dogs: Making Sense of Animal Phrases (Lumina Press, 2006). Jackie is a regular contributor to pet and veterinary industry media and is the former editor of numerous pet magazines, including Dog World, Natural Dog, Puppies 101, Kittens 101 and the Popular Cats Series. Prior to starting her career in publishing, Jackie spent eight years working in veterinary hospitals where she assisted veterinarians as they treated dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, birds and one memorable lion cub. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons and miniature poodle Jäger. Reach her at jackiebrownwriter.wordpress.com.