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Tips for Air Travel With Pets

If you’re like most pet owners, your dog or cat is part of the family. Since they’re accustomed to the spoiled life at home, it’s only logical you’d consider taking them with you on the family holiday. In our last article, we covered how to prepare for a road trip with your pet. This time, we’re going to explore the essentials for air travel with your furry friend. While it might be a bit more complicated than driving, a little preparation and planning will make it all worth it in the end.

Research requirements in advance.

If you’re traveling to another country, you’ll need to check with your end destination to review their policies on bringing an animal in via plane. Most countries require an updated rabies vaccine, a veterinarian’s approval for your pet to fly, and a health certificate dated within 10 days of your flight. However, some countries are more stringent than others, so it’s best to do your research to give yourself plenty of time to gather the documents and the necessary approvals.

Ensure your pet is eligible to fly.

According to Go Pet Friendly, airlines are putting restrictions on dog and cat breeds, namely Brachycephalic or “short-nosed” breed like Boston terriers, boxers, and bulldogs, among several others. These breeds are more risky to fly, which means it’s best for them to fly in the cabin if they fit the size and weight requirements to ensure proper ventilation and air pressure control. Each airline has different policies, so be sure to check with them before booking your flights.

Bring the proper travel gear.

When flying with a pet in the cabin, you’ll need to acclimate them to a kennel or carrier that fits under your seat. You could choose a hard kennel or a pet travel backpack, depending on your preferences. Before your flight, ensure your dog or cat is familiar with it and is comfortable hanging out there for the length of the flight. Some other recommended items include:

  • Treats
  • CBD or other calming agents if your pet is prone to anxiety during travel
  • Toys to keep your pet occupied
  • Potty pads in case of an accident during flight

Board early.

While it’s not required, boarding early with your pet can help ease some anxiety and help get both of you situated before the swarms of people join the plane. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you’re eligible for early boarding.

Locate pet relief areas.

Most airports have pet relief stations in the terminal. Before your flight, it’s a good idea to locate where they are so you can give your pet one last chance to relieve himself before takeoff. It’s also helpful to locate the pet relief stations, if applicable, at your destination.

Keep health forms handy.

Keeping a copy of your pet’s health certificate is recommended. This is especially helpful for checking in, when airline staff might ask you for proof of specific documents and eligibility.

Flying with a pet might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation and the right travel gear, you can enjoy vacationing with your furry family member without the hassle you might anticipate. 



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