It is every dog owner’s wish to include their pets in their travel plans. Increasingly this also includes flying with dogs, which raises a number of new issues. While some airlines have begun implementing more pet-friendly policies, it remains unavoidable that in some circumstances, this may entail your dog having to be transported as cargo.
If travelling with your dog by plane, here are some things you need to consider.
1. Plan ahead
Most airlines allow only a limited number of dogs for in-cabin travel, so you need to call the airline company in advance and reserve a spot for your dog. American Airlines, for example, allows up to seven dogs in the cabin per flight. United allow four pets per flight in economy and two in premium cabins on all flights. Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, allocates eight spots per flight. Furthermore, since airplanes may come in different sizes, it is also necessary to confirm the dimensions where your dog will stay.
This usually has to be done by phone, separately to the online booking for your own seat, meaning you need to have your preparation done in terms of your own seat availability for your required dates.
Since your pets are passengers as well, expect to pay an extra fare for the flight. While Assistance Dogs are allowed in cabin, free of charge, there may still be a limit on number allowed per flight, so you still need to notify the airline at time of booking.
2. What documentation is required?
First stop is your Vet to ensure your pet and accompanying documentation is in compliance with the foreign health regulations and documentary requirements of your target destination.
For domestic travel within the USA you would typically need:
• Current Rabies Vaccination plus accompanying Rabies Vaccination Certificate.
• Domestic Health Certificate / Fit to Fly certificate from your Veterinarian.
Note: The precise requirements can vary by individual state. See additional resources below!
For international travel you need to contact the embassy or consulate of the destination country to determine the pet travel regulations and documentary requirements.
For travelling with a dog into / within the EU, the EU Pet Passport scheme applies - see below for details of regulatory authorities.
3. Health check for your dog.
It is important to make sure your dog has all the necessary paperwork for air travel, including vaccination documents.
Before booking a flight, you should have your dog checked by a veterinarian. Most airlines require a health certificate to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccinations.
Is your dog snub-nosed? In addition to dangerous breeds, some airlines will not transport snub-nosed dogs including Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers and some mastiffs, who can find it difficult to acclimatise to certain temperatures and may experience breathing difficulties. Please check with your both your airline and vet about flying with your snub-nosed dog before you travel.
Also, you should check your dog’s temperament. If your pet is too anxious or stressed, it is not recommended to fly with your dog.
4. Get your dog a suitable crate.
Check the requirements of the airline before purchasing a crate for your dog. On average, a crate should be between 16 to 19 inches long. If for in-cabin use it must fit under the seat. Be sure that the crate is strong to house your dog, yet it should be comfortable and allow room for movement. Attach signs including your dog’s name and a sticker stating that there is a live animal in the crate.
You should train your dog to stay put on the crate, otherwise he might cause a commotion when stressed. https://petdt.com/how-to-train-a-puppy/
5. Pack everything your dog will need.
It is vital to prepare all the things your dog will need before and during the travel – foods, and toys, among others. You can bring a bone to keep your dog busy throughout the flight.
6. Prepare your dog for the conditions on the plane.
Animals should only be kept in room temperatures ranging from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Since some airplanes may exceed such range, it is essential to prepare necessary things for your dogs to use when the temperature becomes too cold for him to handle. Bring extra blankets to keep your dog warm and relaxed throughout the flight.
7. Additional Resources - Regulatory Bodies
US Department of Agriculture - APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
EU Pet Passport scheme - Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
Marina is a 20-something college student who is a self-proclaimed dog-a-colic. She’s currently pursuing his/her master’s degree and writes a blog named Petdt http://petdt.com/ providing an extensive range of free resources covering Training – Health – Nutrition – Grooming – Breeds.
She plans on opening a dog shelter one day.