Flying with Pets: Everything You Need to Know Before Taking to the Skies

While taking to the skies is always a thrilling experience, traveling with your pet requires extra planning to make sure everyone has a safe and comfortable trip.

close up of a black dog

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Don’t worry if you’re planning to take your pet on a flight, as this detailed guide will teach you all the important things you need to know before taking to the skies.

Get a quote

Some countries take a long time to have everything ready, so it is crucial to finish this stage quickly. Get a free quote by filling out an online form if you need assistance flying your pet securely. To complete the form, you will need to provide information about the destination you are flying to as well as the size of your pet. Thanks to this, you can get all the necessary information at no cost and avoid any pushy salespeople.

Visit a vet

Following the airline and destination regulations, make sure your pet has up-to-date immunizations. Also, microchipping is a smart practice if you want to make it easier to find your pet if you get separated. Before you go to Europe, check that the microchip complies with ISO standards. Gather all medical records, immunization records, and other relevant paperwork. Before you go, make sure you know what the local regulations are. Give yourself some time to complete all the tasks, as you probably need to do many tests and examinations of your pet before you can enter the country.

Book the flight

Make sure to let the airline know you will be traveling with your pet. Reserving your pet’s space as early as possible is crucial since many airlines have limited spots available for them in the cabin. You should also prepare size, weight, and other relevant paperwork, as well as a health certificate when you bring your pet in. If the airline does not allow animals in the cabin, then you can go for domestic pet transport services that can ensure your furry friend is as comfortable as you are. They will help you through all the regulations, from booking your flight to reuniting with your little one. 

Prepare your pet

In the days before your departure, do your best to get your pet used to their travel box or carrier. Take their time introducing them to the carrier so they can explore it and feel comfortable and relaxed while using it. Bring along some comfort items like their favorite blankets and toys to make the journey even more relaxing and smooth. Also, make sure your pet has lots of exercise and mental stimulation before the flight as this will help them relax and enjoy the trip. Let them have access to water, but don’t give them a big meal just before the trip if you want to prevent getting motion sickness. 

Should you sedate your pet?

Consult your vet about the possibility of giving your pet a sedative. When it comes to alleviating stress and anxiety, there are some pharmaceutical and natural solutions. Your goal should be to make your pet relaxed and calm without putting them to sleep. This is because sedation makes it harder to assess your pet’s health during travel, and airport staff cannot distinguish between an emergency and a sedative. 

If your vet recommends some medication, make sure to take it exactly as directed to avoid side effects like drowsiness. 

Travel at the right time

You can book a non-stop flight to avoid hassles with delays and missing connections. Also, well-planned layovers can give you welcome relief from otherwise lengthy flights. To escape hectic times, such as holiday crowds and mid-week flights, plan your trips during off-peak times. 

Be sure to check the weather before your trip. If it’s going to be too hot, try to travel early in the morning. If it is chilly, go mid-day, especially if your pet is not going in the cabin with you. Also, be prepared to spend more time at check-in, boarding, and the TSA. Make sure they have enough time to relieve themselves and stretch before you go off, and have a safety net in case something goes wrong.

Follow security procedures

When going through security checks, you may have to take your pet out of their carrier and run them through the metal detector separately from the X-ray machine. You must follow all the rules that security guards give you. 

The cabin or cargo

Before you book your flight, check whether you can take your pet to the cabin with you. Some airlines allow them on board, while others have strict regulations on where they may go. The size restriction for most airlines is that pets must fit beneath the seat in front of you if you want to bring them to a cabin. This is why you cannot bring any larger pets, so you should check the regulations regarding this. Some airlines will need you to bring your pet to a different facility where you can prepare it for transportation in the cargo hold. 

Cost

Air travel with your pets is usually not so expensive. The price could vary depending on the airline and the specific ticket. You will pay almost the same price whether you choose to transport them in the cabin or the cargo area. Also, different airlines have different price lists, so it is a good idea to check beforehand. There are some exceptions as well. For example, service dogs can come with you on a flight at no extra cost. In this case, you will need a letter from a licensed mental health practitioner to prove that your pet qualifies as an emotional support animal.

It takes some forethought to book a flight with your pet, but if you follow these steps, this can be an incredible experience for both of you. You can make sure that the trip goes as smoothly as possible if you check the airline rules, get your pet ready for travel, and be there to support and soothe them if they feel uncomfortable. We wish you a nice and safe trip for both you and your pet.

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