Jack and Fido, please go to gate K9! Flying can be stressful for even the most laissez-faire folks. Add a dog into the mix and an otherwise uneventful journey can end up being the reason you never go anywhere again. But not if you follow these nine simple rules!
1. Book your journey early
Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight. Many airlines only allow a certain number of dogs on each flight, so confirm availability and reserve both seats on the same ticket.
2. Fly nonstop
Lower your stress (and your pup’s) by booking a nonstop flight. As a result you won’t have to worry about searching for a relief area at the connecting airport, and you won’t have to go through the boarding process again with your furry friend.
3. Research the airport
If you’re connecting, take note of where the “pet relief” area is at the layover airport, just in case you need to make a pit stop.
4. Visit the vet
Make sure your pup has a checkup prior to flying, as you’ll need to get a health certificate from your vet dated within 10 days of your departing flight. If you’re traveling outside the United States, contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to, for more information.
5. Buy a carrier
There are hard and soft carriers available in a variety of sizes. Soft-sided carriers are great if you have carry-on luggage that fits easily under the seat. If your dog is traveling in the cargo hold, you will need a hard-sided carrier with holes for ventilation. The carrier must also provide enough room for the dog to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably, or it won’t be accepted by the airline.
And remember to label and tag your carrier with your destination’s address, as well as your name and phone number. Also, it’s a good idea to carry a photo of your dog, so that you can find him more easily if he goes missing.
6. Have a practice run
Help your dog get comfy in his carrier before the flight by placing him in the carrier and taking him with you when you run errands, commute or go to the grocery store.
7. Feed four hours before the flight
Feeding your dog four hours before the flight will help ensure your dog handles his business before getting into the carrier.
If your dog is riding in the cargo hold, leave all food dishes inside the carrier so airline employees can feed your dog if there happens to be a delay.
8. Keep treats handy
Nothing makes a journey fly by faster than the occasional treat! So keep your dog’s favorite treats in your purse or in your carry-on.
9. Get there early
Get to the airport about two hours before your flight and check in at the counter. This is where you need to present your dog’s health certificate (see Tip 4).
Ladies, gentlemen and furry friends, we’re ready to fly! So grab your passport, pack an extra treat, and get ready to take on the world together.
Do you have any tips for traveling with your dog? Share them here with the community.
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