Travelling with your pet can add more headaches to your flying woes, but that needn’t be the case. Below are simple tips to ensure everyone arrives safely, without going barking mad.
Book ahead and fly direct
Book your flight early, direct if possible, and preferably during off-peak times. This will give airlines more time to consider your pet’s needs, it’ll shorten your pet’s flying time, and hopefully allow your pet to receive more attention from airline attendants in the hold.
Carriers and scents
Finding the right sized carrier is essential for your pet’s comfort, and the requirements of the airline. Buy it ahead of time so your pet can get used to it. Pack familiar items in the carrier, such as a blanket or toy. Including an article of your clothing with your scent can help with their comfort.
Consider your breed
Some dogs and cats, especially those with short nasal passages such as Bulldogs, Pekingese and Persians, should not be kept in the cargo hold for a flight. Thinner air can accentuate their breathing issues and make it dangerously difficult for them to breathe.
Visit the vet
To get your pet on some flights, you’ll need a health certificate and a vaccination certificate issued no more than ten days prior to departure. Vets can also provide any last-minute hints regarding the care of your pet, and warn you if they think the pet is not suitable for flying.
Don’t feed or tranquilize
Feeding or drugging your pet immediately before a flight can lead to sickness or even be fatal, especially if they’re in the hold and will not be attended to. Pheromone collars or sprays have been recommended to calm or pacify your pet.
Identify your pet
Make sure your carrier and your pet are clearly tagged with information such as your name, home address, destination, home phone number, cell phone number, and medical needs. It’s also worth carrying a current photo of your pet, which will help identify them should you get separated.
Freeze water ahead of time, so it slowly thaws and provides a constant source of water through the flight. Leave food dishes in the carrier in the case of a long flight, where your pet may need to be fed or given additional water.
Tire them out
Give your pet plenty of play and exercise immediately before the flight. This should tire them out, and help keep them calm through the flight.
The more of a fuss you make over parting, the more likely your pet will be overexcited. If you stay calm and act as normal, your pet will likely follow suite, allowing the flight to go smoothly for both of you.