As it’s vacation season, we thought we’d share some of our most frequently asked questions about air travel with pets. From questions about preparing your pet for their first flight to having the proper paperwork, we’re sharing the information you and your four-legged loved ones need to have a safe and enjoyable journey. Here’s what you need to know:
What should I do to prepare my pet for plane travel?
The best way to prepare is to first gather information. Check with the airlines to make sure there aren’t any unforeseen restrictions, like breed and size, then look at the federal regulation requirements, especially if your pet is still young. Next, you’re going to want to see if the airline requires a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate), as these must be issued within 10 days of travel. And, finally, talk to your veterinarian. If you’re getting on a long flight, they can help you determine the best feeding schedules so that your pet is able to comfortably make it through the flight.
How do I choose an appropriate flight?
When choosing a suitable flight, make sure you book your reservations at the same time. Airlines often limit how many pets are allowed on each flight, so make sure they know right up front. It’s best to book non-stop flights whenever possible. This will help keep things as calm and chaos-free as possible so that your pet isn’t being passed around unnecessarily. And, since you’ll be flying in these warm summer temperatures, try to book your flight for either an early morning departure or a late evening departure to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Then, before you leave, be sure to reconfirm your flight arrangements for you and your pet to make sure there haven’t been any unexpected itinerary or accommodation changes.
Will I be able to travel with my pet’s crate?
Different airlines have different size regulations, so it’s best to purchase one that’s airline approved before you travel. This will also allow you time to acclimate your pet to their new crate environment for a more comfortable flight.
How should I prepare for the flight on the day of departure?
The day of the flight you don’t want to leave anything to chaos. Make sure that you arrive at the airport early so you have plenty of time to walk your pet around, get some energy out, and get them settled back down. If they’re going to be traveling in the main cabin with you, check in as late as possible so that they don’t get anxious waiting in the terminal for all of the other passengers to arrive. If your pet is going to be traveling in the cargo hold, be sure to notify the flight attendant that your pet is in cargo so that you can be reunited as early as possible once the plane lands.
Does my pet need to be sedated for longer flights?
You never want to tranquilize or sedate your pet when flying because it can actually make travel even more difficult and even put your pet at risk of heart and respiratory problems. For the best advice on how to make sure your pet is most comfortable for the duration of your journey, talk to your veterinarian.
What is an acclimation certificate, and do I need one?
Some airlines require these certificates in order to let your pet travel, so be sure to double check the requirements before you book your flight. The acclimation certificate is a form that your veterinarian must waive (based on the assessment of your pet’s health, of course) regarding the low temperature Federal regulation as stated in the Animal Welfare Act.