Some may think it is absolutely insane to fly with a dog, but to a dedicated pet owner it would be out of the question to leave a companion behind. Whether visiting an ailing relative or taking in some scenic views on a much needed vacation, it is important to take the whole family, including your pet pooch.
Flying to your destination is a popular and often cost effective means of travel. But where do you get information on how to fly with a dog and is it safe? Researching this topic and how it suits your dog’s breed, personality and health will help you decide.
How to Prepare to Fly with Your Dog
The first step is to have your dog checked by a veterinarian to determine if he or she is medically suited for the trip. In addition to the veterinarian’s opinion, take into account your own knowledge of how the dog responds to new environments, traveling in the car and being confined in a carrier.
Some breeds are prone to breathing problems and are not well suited for airline travel. Some dogs will get too stressed to make the trip safely. Sometimes the better option may be to drive to your destination or get a dependable pet sitter.
Do Your Research to Find the Right Airline and Method of Transport
Find airlines that take dogs and read over their policies to find the best fit for you and your pet. Some airlines that allow dogs will permit you to carry the dog into the cabin area in an airline approved dog carrier and place the carrier under the seat. This is usually the best option for traveling with a dog on a plane.
The other option for commercial airline travel is to have the dog travel in the cargo area. The cargo area is not maintained at the same temperature as the cabin. This means you should not travel in extreme temperature conditions with your dog.
After you confirm your dog is capable of making the flight and you are prepared to buy one of the dog carriers for airlines, you need to select one of the pet friendly airlines to accommodate your travel. If your dog is small enough to travel in the cabin area, find the airlines that allow pets in cabin space.
If your dog is too big to travel in a carrier that will fit underneath your seat, you will need to prepare for the dog to travel in the cargo area. There are a variety of kennels available for air travel. The Petmate Vari Kennel is a durable plastic kennel option, and the Kennel Aire dog crate is a good wire crate option.
Whether you opt for a Varikennel or a wire crate, confirm it is in compliance with airline pet carrier dimensions and is an airline approved dog crate before you buy it. Now you are ready to take your favorite companion in flight with you.
Safety Concerns When Flying with a Dog
While the vast majority of dogs land safely at their designation, there have been instances where dogs have died, been injured or even lost. Many websites offer great tips on traveling the skies with your pet.
The ASPCA offers advice including making sure your dog has permanent identification, such as a microchip or even a tattoo. They also recommend non-stop flights and give other suggestions regarding safe travel.
It is commonly agreed upon by veterinarians, dog owners and airline personnel that animals should never be sedated before a flight. This is primarily a matter to discuss with your veterinarian.
Tips for Flying with Dogs
Can dogs fly on airplanes or not really is a dog specific question. Make sure they are medically prepared for the journey. Beyond that, being the owner and knowing your dog is the best way for you to know if he can fly comfortably or not.
Flying with a dog is stressful on the dog and the owner, particularly if the dog is in the cargo area separated from the owner. Being fully prepared and knowing what to expect will help you and your dog cope better.
If you are uncomfortable you can always look into booking a separate flight for your dog on Pet Airways, an animal only airline. However, they have limited airport coverage at this time.
While it is wonderful to have your dog with you on vacation and other trips away from home, it may not be worth the stress on you or the dog. It takes a great deal of planning and effort to fly with a dog, and each owner needs to determine what is best for him or her and the dog.