For many families, the thought of leaving Fido behind during a family vacation is unthinkable. Pets are such important members of our families that they go wherever we go; this includes vacations and other travel destinations. When it comes to flying, however, there are specific concerns that complicate the usual journey.
To address some of your questions about air travel with a pet, the team at BEEVET has some recommendations and tips to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your fur friend.
Planning for Your Trip
Before jaunting away with your pet in tow, your first stop should be our veterinary clinic. Not all pets are travel-ready, so it’s important to ensure good health prior to planning any major trips.
Most airlines require a certificate of health to verify that your pet is healthy and vaccinated (this is required for all international flights). Your friends at BEEVET can help you acquire this document, as well as cover any pre-travel health needs. It’s also important to know your airline’s policies prior to booking, and be aware of how accommodating they will be to your best pal.
Some considerations when it comes to air travel with a pet include:
- Can your pet travel in the cabin or must he or she be in the cargo hold (we highly recommend in-cabin flights for safety)?
- Will your pet be stowed under a seat? What’s the under-seat space like? Will your pet’s carrier fit or do you need to consider a soft sided carrier or pet bag?
- Can you purchase a seat for your pet?
- Are there areas where your pet can relieve him/herself while at the airport or during layovers?
- What safety protocols do they have in place for pets who must be in cargo?
- What type of crate does the airline require?
Along with airline concerns, it’s essential to understand any requirements when it comes to your destination country (if traveling abroad). You’ll need to contact the U.S. consulate well in advance since some countries may require a quarantine period, even with a health certificate.
Packing for Your Trip
As with any trip, your pet will feel more relaxed if you maintain his or her routine, including packing all the comforts of home. This includes:
- Carrier or crate
- Regular food and bowls
- Grooming needs
- Collar, leash, ID tags
- Waste bags or litter box/litter
You’ll also need to carry any medical records or prescriptions that might need to be refilled while you’re on your journey.
Air Travel With a Pet: Tips for the Big Day
To help make the experience more pleasant for you and your pet, we recommend the following day-of travel tips:
- Exercise your pet before you leave for the airport (either by walking to the park or around the neighborhood or by playing an invigorating game).
- Pack plenty of water for the flight and the drive to the airport.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and has current ID tags.
- Notify airline staff of your pet’s presence and check in often.
- Feed a very small breakfast or other meal prior to the flight.
Some pet owners find pet travel agencies to be very helpful when navigating all the challenges of traveling with a pet. At BEEVET, we’re also here to assist, so don’t hesitate to call with any questions!