Pet tips: Traveling by air with a furry friend
Summer is here and many of us will be traveling to visit friends and family. If you plan to bring your dog or cat along on the flight, keep these helpful tips in mind:
• Call the airline directly to make the reservation and confirm that there is space available for your pet on the flight.
• Book a nonstop flight and take temperatures into consideration. During the summer, fly at night when it’s often cooler. In the winter, fly during the day when it’s warmer.
• Airlines require advanced reservations and separate tickets to travel with your pet.
• Very small dogs can travel in the cabin, IF they’ll go in a soft-sided carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. They’ll also have to stay in the carrier the entire flight, so a doggie diaper is a good idea.
• Carriers must be big enough to allow the animal to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably.
• Mark the carrier with your pet’s name and include identification tags with your contact information.
• A health certificate is required when your pet travels as air cargo. The certificate must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel.
• Some airlines will not accept pets traveling in bigger crates during extreme weather conditions.
• According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in most cases, dogs should not be given sedatives or tranquilizers prior to flying. While sedation is generally not advised, the decision on whether or not to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian.
• Exercise your pet before leaving for the airport. This will help your dog calm down prior to and after the flight.
• Animals travel under less stress when they are accustomed to their carrier before they travel. In the weeks prior to your trip, put your dog into his carrier as often as possible for trips around town.
Additional restrictions for short-nosed pets:
• Pets with shorter noses, like bulldogs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heatstroke than breeds with longer noses as there is less area for heat to evaporate.
• As a precaution, airways might not accept them as checked-in travelers if the temperature on any part of their trip exceeds 75 degrees F or during the summer months.