Tips for Flying with Your Dogs
Leaving your fur baby at home while you are away and travelling somewhere far from home could be hard for both of you. Your furry friend might be stressed and suffering from anxiety, while you could be drowned in longing. Hence, flying with dogs seems like an appealing alternative to leaving them behind.
Traveling with a dog on a plane is possible. Though, for starters, flying with dogs can be complicated and very expensive. Before booking your tickets and flying with your furry friend, you need to read the guidelines and the restrictions the airlines have thoroughly before flying with your dogs. You also need to check with the airlines to see which dog breeds they allow on planes.
Even though you already make sure flying with your dogs is convenient enough, traveling with a dog on a plane is a stressful experience for all dogs. Especially for elderly and puppy dogs with health or behavioral challenges. Your furry friends will be away from the surroundings they are most comfortable and familiar with. If the destination can be reached by road and air travel can be avoided, it is best to travel by car with your dogs so they won't be apart from you. Also, dogs who must fly in the cargo hold are away from you, leaving them in a very scary environment. If you are worried about your canine, there are other ways you can travel with your dog.
Where Your Dogs Will Fly?
There is a lot to consider before taking dogs on planes. Dogs can fly with you on a plane, either in the cabin or the cargo hold. Small dogs who can fit under the seat in front of you in a carrier can fly in the cabin. We call them carry-on pets. Some airlines allow travelers with pets to buy additional seats for bigger dogs. Meanwhile, larger dogs, except trained service animals, have to travel in the cargo hold. Adding on, most airlines allow you to fly with service or therapy dogs.
Picking the Right Airlines
So, which airline is the best to have your dogs on airplanes? It depends on the airline you are choosing. It is best to ask or read the flight regulation as they might follow different airline pet policies. Please contact the airline and confirm that you are flying with your pet, before booking your seat.
Taking his first flight can be a traumatic experience for a dog who’s used to sticking his head out the car window and enjoying the sights along the way. After all, his view won't be the same from underneath the seat in front of you, or even worse, from the cargo hold. But getting there can still be half the fun if you follow the 10 tips below.
In addition, make sure you're familiar with the airline’s pet policy, restrictions on pet travel, and any additional international pet travel restrictions at your destination.
Most airlines only allow one or two dogs on airplanes, so it's important to book your dog's ticket as soon as possible. Don't buy your ticket until you call the airline and ensure a “seat” is available for your dog on the flight. Once the agent has confirmed availability, reserve both of your seats on the same ticket while you're still on the phone with the agent.
Book a non-stop, direct flight whenever possible and try to fly on a weekday when airports are typically less hectic. If your pet will be traveling in the cargo hold, it's best to fly in the morning or evening during the summer, and midday during the winter to avoid extremely hot or cold temperatures.
Visit the Veterinarian
Make an appointment for a check-up with your pet's veterinarian to make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of departure.
Buy a Carrier
Whether your dog is a Chihuahua or a larger breed, there's a pet carrier to match for dogs to get into airplanes. Carriers are available in both hard-sided and soft-sided varieties. Soft-sided carriers are more suitable for carry-on and tend to fit better under the seat, but they're only permitted in the cabin. To make sure the carrier will fit under the seat on your flight, check the size restrictions of the airline. If your dog will be traveling in the cargo hold, purchase a hard-plastic carrier with holes for ventilation instead. Carriers must be big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably. If the carrier does not permit him to do this, the airline will refuse transport.
Secure Doggy Identification
After you've purchased an appropriate carrier, write your dog's name on it and include identification tags with your home address and phone number, as well as the address and phone number of someone who can be reached at your destination. Carry a current photograph of your pet as well. If he's lost during the trip, a photograph will make it much easier for airline employees or the local authorities to search effectively. You might also want to consider a permanent form of ID, such as a microchip or tattoo. This will increase the likelihood of reuniting with your dog if he gets lost during the trip.
Take a Test Drive
Dogs travel under less stress when they are accustomed to their carrier before they get into the airplanes. In the weeks before your trip, put your dog in his carrier as often as possible for trips around town.
Eat. Drink. Poop. Play.
Since a full stomach might be uncomfortable for your dog during travel, we recommend feeding him about four hours before the flight, if possible. Cesar Tray dog food is travel-friendly and makes a good refreshing meal for your pooch after a tiring journey. While it's best to refrain from feeding your dog right before the flight, you can (and should) continue to give him water right up to the time of travel. Just be sure to empty the dish before checking in so it doesn't spill during the flight. If you're checking your pooch, leave the dishes in the carrier so an airline employee can provide your pet with food and water in the event of an extended delay before or after your flight. You should also exercise your pet and let him use the facilities (i.e. grass) before heading to the airport.
Arrive at the airport early, but not too early, and have your dog's health certificate handy. You will not be allowed to check in with your pet more than four hours before the flight. Most airlines recommend arriving two hours before your flight when traveling with a pet. Passengers with pets must check in at the counter; curbside and self-service check-in is not allowed. And remember to account for the long security lines that are common in airports these days.
(Don’t) Take a Chill Pill
We don't mind if you take something to relax before the flight but don't give your pet tranquilizers just because you're nervous. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in most cases, dogs should not be given sedatives or tranquilizers before flying because they can create respiratory and cardiovascular problems as the dog is exposed to increased altitude pressures. They can also alter the animal's natural ability to balance and maintain equilibrium, which can be dangerous when the carrier is moved. While sedation is generally not advised, the decision on whether or not to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian. If he or she decides that tranquilizers are medically necessary for the trip, indicate the name of the drug taken and the dosage on the dog's carrier.
When you arrive at your destination, go for a long walk before you check in at the hotel. Your dog will feel more comfortable as soon as he sees (and smells) his new surroundings, and realizes that the same rules and boundaries apply here too. By the time you check into the hotel, your dog will already feel right at home and be ready for whatever adventures are in store for him that week.
Can I buy my dog a seat on a plane?
Some airlines allow travelers to buy their dogs a seat on a plane. Though, you might still have to pay the carry-on pet fee and keep your furry friend inside the crate. Then, you also must stow the crate under the seat during takeoff and landing. Otherwise, you can hold the carrier on your lap or put the carrier on the additional seat you purchased.
How stressful is flying for dogs?
Traveling with a dog on a plane is stressful for them, especially for elderly and puppy dogs with health and behavioral challenges. Flying will never be easy for dogs as they will be away from the surrounding they are familiar with.
How do dogs behave in planes?
Dogs could be very anxious, unsettled, and vocalize while flying in an airplane. Hence, it is very important to train them before flying with your dogs.
How do dogs go to the bathroom on a plane?
Of course, dogs on planes will not be able to go to the bathroom. They will be inside the crate or carried on in the cabin. It is natural for them to relieve themselves in the crate during the flight. Hence, you need to line the crate with an absorbent mat or pads to soak up the urine.