If you have plans to fly with your pet, you are part of a growing trend that has been increasing for the last number of years. Most airlines will charge a nominal fee to allow your small pet to accompany you, if it will fit into a FAA approved pet carrier that is small enough to stow under your seat. The following important info can help you keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy on airplane flights.
When you book a flight, it is a good idea to make reservations for yourself and your pet as early as you can. You must inform the airline that you want to bring your pet with you. It is extremely important to tell them, as they will only allow a limited number of pets on each flight. Some airlines don’t allow pets at all, particularly on international flights. Always confirm your flight the day before you’re trip. If you’re traveling internationally you need to confirm your trip seventy-two hours before you fly.
Before you fly into the wide blue yonder with your furry travel companion, you need to take him or her a checkup at the vet, to make sure he or she is healthy enough to travel. You will need to take its health certificate with you, showing that your pet’s up-to-date on all vaccinations, including rabies. When traveling, your pet must wear its current vaccination tag. As well, your pet must meet health regulations of the country you’ll be traveling to. Bring a copy of your pet’s medical records along that lists its chronic medical conditions, allergies, and medications.
If you haven’t done this already, you should have your pet micro-chipped. That way, if your pet is lost and taken to an animal shelter or vet, where its chip can be scanned, both can be reunited. Keep in mind your pet’s identification tag will have both your home address and phone number on it. That won’t be of much help if your pet gets lost when you are on vacation. It may be a good idea to get another tag made up that has your destination address and phone number on it. What happens if you pet isn’t found until after you’ve returned from your holidays? It makes sense that you should leave both your home I.D. tag on your pet as well as attaching the new tag. That way you’ll have all the bases covered and stand a better chance of being reunited with your pet.
You should bring a photo of you pet with you when you travel. It will help you to prove you’re the rightful owner if any problems of ownership arise. Also, the photo can be used to make up a number of flyers that can be posted in the area where your pet was lost.
Flying with a pet that is too large to fit in a FAA approved pet carrier isn’t advisable as it will have to be stowed in the cargo hold. Putting your pet in the cargo hold can be very traumatic and dangerous to your pet’s health. It would make a lot more sense to leave your pet with friends, or a reliable pet sitting service when you’re on vacation.
The American Veterinary Medical Association advises against tranquilizing or sedating your pet when flying, particularly dogs. Dogs regulate the temperature of their bodies by panting, so if they are sedated, they may not be able to pant. If this should happen, it can leave them defenseless against any fluctuation of temperature and air pressure that occurs in the cargo holds of every flight. Keep in mind that pets don’t like flying, or being stuffed into a cramped kennel and left alone in a dark and desolate cargo compartment. It has to be terrifying for them.
There are a number of websites that give additional valuable information regarding traveling with your pet. Two outstanding sites are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at aspca.org, and the Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture at aphis.usda.gov, which has an excellent article entitled, Traveling With Your Pet.
If you are considering purchasing a travel carrier for your small pet, you may want to look at the popular, FAA approved pet carrier, Sherpa On Wheels. This Cadillac of pet carriers can be a comfortable, luxurious home for your pet when flying. It has the convenience of front and top entries, mesh vent panels, wheels that are recessed, as well as a detachable pull handle and shoulder strap. It can be seen at SherpaPet.com.