Traveling by air with your dog can be tricky. The first essential piece of equipment you’ll need is a suitable dog crate, but before you look at transport dog crates, you should make sure there are no alternatives to transporting your dog by air. Sometimes it is the only option, and if that is your situation, you should try to make the trip as worry free for your dog as possible.
An alarming number of dogs and other pets become injured, lost, or even die on board an airplane when traveling. Compared to the number of successful animals transported from one location to another via the airlines, this number is low, however, it only takes one incident to change your life forever when your dog becomes seriously injured or dies because of a lack of preparation on your part.
Before you do anything else, you should call the airline you intend to travel with and find out their current policies on pet transportation. If you have a choice of airlines, call each one, as the policies may vary slightly. If you intend to transport a young puppy, you also need to be aware that federal regulations require that a puppy be at least 8 weeks old before it is permitted to be carried by air, and it needs to have been weaned for a minimum of 5 days prior to transportation.
Large dogs have no choice but to travel in the cargo section of the airplane, in transport dog crates. The cargo section unfortunately has neither airconditioning nor heating, which can make for a pretty uncomfortable experience for dogs. Small dogs may be a litte luckier. If they’re under 15 pounds, they may be accepted in the passenger compartment of the airplane, traveling in transport dog crates or other types of pet carriers that will fit under your seat.
These are some steps you can take to ensure a less stressful trip for your pet if you need to transport them by airplane:
– stop-overs and transfers extend the journey for your dog, so opt for a direct flight wherever you can.
– confirm your flight before you leave home, to ensure that there have been no changes to your flight schedule.
– just prior to leaving for the airport, take your dog for a walk.
– check with your vet as to feeding recommendations for your dog. Most vets will recommend that your dog travel on an empty stomach. For long flights, your dog will need to be fed, and your vet will advise you what is appropriate, taking into account your dog’s age, size and regular diet.
– ensure that plenty of water will be available to your dog during the flight to prevent dehydration.
– arrive early for your flight, so you’re not stressing out which in turn will stress your dog. It also gives you time to deal with any unexpected hiccup in the checkin process.
– toilet your dog just before you place him in the transport dog crate if at all possible. Enquire in advance whether there are facilities for your dog to toilet at the airport. If not, get your dog to go immediately prior to leaving for the airport, or stop enroute to the airport just before you get there.
– stay with your dog for as long as possible prior to the flight, and personally deliver the transport dog crate to the gate. (This may not be possible for an international flight).
– notify the flight staff once you board the plane that your dog is flying with you and that he is traveling in the cargo compartment (unless he’s with you in the passenger compartment, that is).
– when you land, disembark from the plane as promptly as you can, and go directly to the baggage claim area to claim your dog as soon as he is taken off the plane.
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