If you are planning to fly with your pet, you are part of a growing trend that has been increasing for the last number of years. Most airlines, for a nominal fee, will allow your small pet to fly with you if it will fit in a FAA approved pet carrier that can be stowed under your seat. The following important information can help you keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy on airline flights.
When booking a flight, it is a good idea to make reservations for yourself and your pet as early as possible. You must let the airline know that you want to bring your pet with you. It is very important to tell them, as they will only allow a limited number of pets on each flight. Some airlines do not allow pets at all, especially on international flights. Always confirm your flight the day before you leave on your trip. If you are traveling internationally you need to confirm your reservation seventy-two hours before you go.
Before you fly into the wide blue yonder with your furry travel companion, you need to take him or her to the veterinarian for a checkup, to make sure he or she is healthy enough to travel. You will also need to take its health certificate with you, showing that your pet is up-to-date on all its vaccinations, including rabies. Your pet must wear its current vaccination tag when traveling. As well, your pet must meet the health regulations of every country that you will be traveling to. Bring along a copy of your pet’s medical records listing its allergies, chronic medical conditions, and medications.
If you haven’t done this already, you should get your pet micro-chipped. That way, if your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or vet, where its chip can be scanned, you both can be reunited. Keep in mind that your pet’s identification tag will have your home address and phone number on it. That won’t be of much help if your pet is lost while you are on vacation. It may be a good idea to get another tag made up with your destination address and phone number on it. What happens if you pet isn’t found until after you have returned from your vacation? 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 have all bases covered and stand a better chance of being reunited with your pet.
You should carry a photo of you pet with you when you’re traveling. It will help you prove that you are the rightful owner if any problems of ownership occur. Also, the photo can be used to make up flyers to post in the area where your pet was lost.
Flying with pets that are too large to fit into a FAA approved pet carrier is not advisable as they will have to be stowed in the cargo hold. Putting your pet in the cargo hold can be traumatic and dangerous to your pet’s health. It would make far more sense to leave your pet with friends,
or a pet sitting service for the duration of your vacation.
The American Veterinary Medical Association advises against sedating or tranquilizing your pet when flying, especially dogs. Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting, so if they are tranquilized, they may not be able to pant. If this happens, it can leave them defenseless against the fluctuation of temperature and air pressure that occurs in the cargo hold of every flight. Also, keep in mind that pets don’t enjoy flying, or being stuffed into a cramped kennel and left alone in a dark and desolate cargo hold. It must 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 want a great travel carrier for your small pet, you may want to consider the popular, FAA approved pet carrier, Sherpa On Wheels. This Cadillac of pet carriers can be a luxurious and comfortable home for your pet while flying. It has the convenience of a front and top entry, mesh ventilation panels, recessed wheels, as well as a detachable pull handle and a shoulder strap. It is available on line at SherpaPet.com.