It is not ideal to travel by air with your dog, but sometimes there is no other option. You’ll need to consider transport dog crates, and the key is to make the trip as stress free for your dog as you can.
You’ve probably heard about dogs becoming injured, lost or even of dogs dying when traveling by airplane. The majority of dog air trips are free from complications of any kind, but you do not want to take any risks when transporting your dog by airplane. Preparation is therefore very important.
Before you do anything else, you should call the airline you intend to travel with and find out their current policies on pet transportation. If you have a choice of airlines, call each one, as the policies may vary slightly. If you intend to transport a young puppy, you also need to be aware that federal regulations require that a puppy be at least 8 weeks old before it is permitted to be carried by air, and it needs to have been weaned for a minimum of 5 days prior to transportation.
Puppies and small dogs (usually less than 15 pounds in weight) can sometimes travel with you, in transport dog crates or other pet carriers, underneath your seat. If traveling with a small dog in this way, then, it is imperative that you ensure that the transport dog crate or other pet carrier’s dimensions are such that the crate or carrier will fit underneath the seat. Large dogs obviously cannot be slid under seats, and need to go in the cargo compartment of the airplane. It is still essential that the transport dog crates are of a suitable size for the dog, so as to minimize any distress caused to the dog. They need to be big enough so the dog is not completely confined, but not so big that the dog can be injured if the crate is handled carelessly.
These are some steps you can take to ensure a less stressful trip for your pet if you need to transport them by airplane:
– stop-overs and transfers extend the journey for your dog, so opt for a direct flight wherever you can.
– find out about any delays in your flight schedule before you leave for the airport. You can confirm your flight the day before but it’s also a good idea to call the airport just before you are due to leave as well, to double check whether the flight is scheduled to take off on time.
– just prior to leaving for the airport, take your dog for a walk.
– check with your vet as to feeding recommendations for your dog. Most vets will recommend that your dog travel on an empty stomach. For long flights, your dog will need to be fed, and your vet will advise you what is appropriate, taking into account your dog’s age, size and regular diet.
– make sure your dog will have a good supply of water during the flight in order to keep him properly hydrated.
– it’s good practise to plan to arrive early at the airport. This is especially important when you’re traveling with a pet, as there are more things that can hold you up.
– if you are leaving from a destination that’s close to the airport, make sure your dog is given an opportunity to toilet just before you leave. If you are a distance from the airport, wait until you arrive at the airport before toileting your dog. Either way, it’s important that your dog has a toilet opportunity to avoid accidents in the transport dog crate during the trip.
– stay with your dog for as long as possible prior to the flight, and personally deliver the transport dog crate to the gate. (This may not be possible for an international flight).
– tell your flight attendant as soon as you board the plane that you have a dog in the cargo area.
– upon arrival at your destination, go immediately to the baggage area to welcome your dog.