Air Travel Tips for Dog Owners
Many travelers hate leaving their furry friends behind while they travel. If you intend to take your dog with you on a flight, then it’s important to plan beforehand to ensure things go smoothly. Follow these tips to be adequately prepared.
First, if you have a very young puppy, you should probably avoid taking him on a flight. The cargo hold is pressurized and isn’t the best place for dog with a developing respiratory system to be. At a minimum, puppies should be at least two months old for domestic flights and about four months old for international flights. Make sure that you check with the airline regarding minimum ages if you have a young puppy.
You won’t be able to take your dog on just any airline. Make sure that they allow animals first of all. Then, make sure that you review their policies regarding pets thoroughly. It’s important to note that it can be a bit expensive bringing your pet along, and every airline’s policies and prices vary.
It’s also a good idea to take your vet for a checkup to ensure he’s healthy enough for travel. While you’re there, you may want to obtain a health certificate, especially if the airline requires one. The certificate will ensure your pet has had all of its required shots and doesn’t have any harmful diseases. The health certificate should be relatively recent, ideally no more than a couple of weeks from when your flight leaves.
Certain breeds have difficulty breathing well under certain circumstances. Bulldogs, Pugs, and other snub-nosed dogs are especially known for this. Some airlines may have an issue transporting these breeds, even if they’re in the best of health.
Having your dog fitted with a microchip is a good idea even if you don’t intend to travel. When going overseas though, it’s especially a good idea o have one. The health certificate you obtain from the vet should also reference the microchip number. Make sure that the chip design meets ISO standards, or you may have to bring along a suitable scanner yourself.
Size plays an important factor with where your dog will travel during the flight. If he’s small enough, then you may be able to bring him along in the cabin. You will need a pet carrier that complies with the airline’s policies that’s small enough to fit beneath the seat. Your dog should have plenty of ventilation and comfortable enough to stand up and turn around.
If you’ll get a travel carrier just for the upcoming flight, then try to get your dog acclimated to it well before the flight. Start slowly a couple of weeks before your departure. This will help hopefully keep him settled down during the experience.
When making plans for your trip, try to keep temperature extremes in mind. You’ll ideally want to avoid traveling with a dog during periods of extreme cold or heat. During the summer months, flights that leave in the morning or evening will help minimize the hotter temperatures your dog faces.
Dogs that are overly anxious may not be good candidates to fly at all. However, giving them sedatives can help them relax for the trip. This definitely shouldn’t be the first option though. Check with your veterinarian to see if sedatives should be used, especially if your dog is also taking other medications.