How to fly your dog on an airplane, experts provide helpful tips

Like traveling with a family member, bringing your beloved dog with you requires some preparation – especially when boarding a plane. An important element to consider when traveling with your pet is comfort. Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, holistic veterinary medicine director and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, says the first step in preparing for the flight is getting your dog used to being in a pet carrier. “Traveling will be a little stressful no matter what you do,” he explains. “If your pet is comfortable in its transport box, it will be much better on the day of travel.”

Another professional tip? Just practice beforehand. “Leave the crate open for a week or two before you travel and let the dog go in and out as you please,” says Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM and veterinary expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance, water bowls inside to make the crate a positive experience. “Also, practice closing the door and letting the dog start for a short time, then slowly increase the length of time. The goal is to get them used to staying in the box as long as they are out. ”Do you need more tips? To learn more about the basics of traveling with your dog on an airplane, we tapped our vets for even more of their advice.

Photo credit: Egor Gordeev / Unsplash

Confirm with the airline that your dog can board the flight before booking

“Before buying a ticket, the first step is either to call the airline or to find out on their website what options or rules they have for traveling with a dog,” says Dr. Wooten. Because each airline has slight differences in their pet practices, she explains that when planning your trip, contact customer service to ask yourself these questions: Can dogs travel in the cabin? Are there any size restrictions? Are there any restrictions on the formation of boxes? Are there any vaccination or parasite control requirements? What are the additional costs? Does a dog have to fit under the seat in front of you, in your lap, or can the dog sit at your feet? Do owners have to buy an additional ticket for their dog? Are there any other rules for animals for emotional support compared to registered service dogs? Also, if you have a larger dog, check to see if the front row or exit seats are available to sit next to your pet with more space.

Make sure your dog’s veterinary records are up to date

Regular veterinary checks are indispensable all year round, but also especially with flight plans. “Some airlines also require the veterinarian to fill out a document confirming that the animal is healthy and properly vaccinated,” says Dr. Judge. Note: The exam typically costs between $ 75 USD (2,477 THB) to 100 USD (3,303 THB) for this process. International travel (or Hawaii because of its strict non-rabies policy) requires even more paperwork to get to the destinations. “I suggest starting this process months in advance of the trip as the process can take several weeks to months depending on the travel destination, such as Hawaii, and all of the items need to be done in the right order and at the right time,” notes Dr Wooten. “Otherwise there is a risk that a dog will sit at customs for a few weeks on arrival or be turned around at the border.”

She says pet parents should expect to pay around $ 200 (THB 6,607) to $ 500 (THB 16,518) for international or Hawaiian pet travel certificates (including health, vaccination, and parasite control records). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keep an ongoing list of countries that may be at high risk for rabies. Also, due to COVID-19, you must be aware that USDA veterinary documents may take longer to access. The U.S. Department of State has stated that the office has suspended personal service because of the pandemic, which will cause delays in processing your requests (approximately two to three months from the date it was sent to the office).

Know where your dog is sitting on the plane

In the event that your dog cannot travel in the cabin, airlines will often carry your pet in the cargo. Dr. Wooten suggests inquiring about temperature control in this area as well. “The airline should know the minimum and maximum temperatures required for animals to be carried in the cargo,” she says. “Make sure that a dog can sit in a box on the asphalt for a long time. It is therefore important to know the outside temperature. ”If your dog is older, has health problems or has a short nose (brachycephalic canines), explains Dr. Wooten that he has to sit in the cabin. “Another alternative may be to find a company that only flies pets, as extreme temperatures or stress can have serious health consequences for these animals,” she adds.

Consider this day of counseling

“Pets get anxious on the day of travel and that’s fine,” says Dr. Judge. “If you are not in the cabin with the owner, you should definitely not be sedated. If they are in the cabin with the owner and can be watched, natural or pharmaceutical options can help reduce the spiciness. ”Common Veterinary Recommendations? Canine Calm and CBD for Anxiety Relief. However, always contact your veterinarian for suggestions on supplements or medications.

Another way to keep your dog calm is through the carrier himself. Wooten points out a soft carrycot when your dog is traveling with you in the cabin, as it can be folded up when your dog is not in it. Otherwise, a hard case is your recommendation when your dog is placed with the cargo. Also make sure that this box offers enough space for your four-legged companion to stand up, turn around and make yourself comfortable. “Placing a bath towel in the carrier bag used by the owner helps calm the animal because it carries the smell of its owner,” adds Dr. Judge added. “Pets also determine the behavior of their owner, so a calm owner often means a calmer pet. Always make sure the pet is healthy enough to travel safely. I suggest that you consult your vet to discuss this further before traveling with your pet. “

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