Flying With Your Pet

If you are moving or just planning a vacation, taking your pet along could mean added enjoyment. In this article I will discuss those precautions a pet owner should take to make their pet’s plain flight as safe and uneventful as their own. When flying with your pet it is important to plan ahead and avoid last minute problems in order to make sure your friend stays safe and healthy. The following is a list of basic tips:

  • Check with your airline to make sure that the baggage compartment they will travel in is heated and pressurized.
  • Check with your airline regarding health and vaccination certificates they may require in order accept your pet for travel.
  • Check with your airline to find out if the city that you will be flying into has any special requirements regarding pet entry. Many foreign countries have special quarantine laws to protect against Rabies and other public health problems.
  • To avoid the possibility of baggage mix-ups take direct flights only.
  • If your pet is small and quiet and can be placed in a cage that will fit under your seat many airlines will allow will allow at least one animal in coach and one in first class.
  • All pets except birds should not be fed for 4 hours prior to the flight. You can allow water up until flight time but remove the dish before handing over your pet to the airline.

If possible avoid the busiest travel times so that airline personnel will have additional time to care for your pet.

Make sure identification labels are securely fastened to your pets carrier. Writing your address directly on the cage in addition to tying on a label makes good sense.

If you are sending an economically valuable pet speak to the airlines about their baggage liability limits. You may want to purchase additional insurance

If you are concerned the trip may be too upsetting for your pet discuss tranquilization procedures with your veterinarian. Some pets are good candidates for tranquilization while others, such as many cats, may become even more anxious when given a tranquilizer. In any case, owners should test the tranquilizers by giving a pill to their pet several days before the actual trip. On the day of the trip the tranquilizer should be given approximately 1 hour before boarding time in order to give the medication time to act.

It is very important that you obtain the proper cage to fly your pet in. Don’t try to save money by buying a cheap traveling cage. The proper cage will help reduce your pets anxiety and increase your pets safety during the plain flight. You will most likely be able to use the carrier for future flights or as a bedding area at your home or your vacation site. These are the features you should be concerned with when purchasing a traveling cage:

  • The cage should be large enough for the pet to stand and turn around easily.
  • The cage should have floors and walls that are water proof and that can withstand biting and clawing. The door should have a secure latch and be strong enough so that the animal can not bend the bars.
  • Make sure there is adequate ventilation on at least 3 sides.

You can purchase a good traveling cage from most pet stores or from most airlines. Check with the airlines to see if they have any additional requirements. Finally, get your pet use to his or her traveling cage before the trip by letting your pet stay inside the cage with the door both open and closed. Finally, make sure your pet wears a collar with an identification tag. Remember, advanced planning is necessary to make your pets flight a safe and uneventful one.

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