Flying with your dog? Read this first.
Are you going to travel oversea with your dogs? Try reading these tips. You may find things that you will need
Your guide to airline travel with pets
It's simple, really - you can't live without your dog and your dog can't live without you.
Now, you have managed to plan the perfect vacation getaway together. Why, you even found an airline that allows you to keep your best buddy in the cabin with you and not locked away in the cargo hold. Now that you have done your happy dance, it's time to plan and prepare so both you and your buddy have the smoothest and most hassle-free vacation ever.
Rules and Regulations
First and foremost, read and become familiar with the airline's pet policy. Plan your trip around them. Not only do the regulations vary by airline, their respective policies are constantly being updated. If there is a dispute, your perfect holiday might not even get off the ground.
In this respect, try as much as possible to stick with the same airline if you have a connecting flight. The only thing worse than not starting your long-awaited holiday is having to turn back after you have traveled halfway there!
Restrictions on certain breeds, very young (normally under 8 weeks), and pregnant and un-weaned animals are very common and it will be difficult to get approval to travel with them on a commercial flight. Small charter flights are more expensive but without many of these conditions.
Not all countries and airlines require veterinary certification for your pet to fly. Still, visit your vet before you travel and have medical records and vaccination lists on hand in case the need arises.
Cabin and Carrier
Keep in mind that almost all airlines which allow pets in their cabins will count your pet and carrier as carry-on luggage. As there is a one-piece limit to carry-on luggage per passenger, you will not be able to bring any other bags on board with you (ladies are still allowed a small handbag).
Weight and size restrictions are the next hurdle. Airlines expect your little buddy to be confined to the carrier for the bulk of the journey. This carrier has to be able to fit under the seat in front of you
If you don't believe they will be able to handle being confined in the designated small space for the duration of the journey, perhaps taking him this way might not be the best idea. It isn't about just making them fit inside; they have to have room to stretch during what must be an incredibly strange experience for them.
It would be great if you have a carrier your dog is already comfortable in. Try taking them on longer trips in the carrier until it approaches the flight duration to gauge whether it is something you want to put them through.
Food, Drink and Bathroom Breaks
Many people have just a light meal before taking a flight. It is a good idea to follow the same routine with your dog. An upset stomach in a confined carrier would be a very uncomfortable experience. Try also not to give them water for about two hours before the flight's departure time.
Line the carrier well with absorbent material. You can take your dog to the on-board bathroom to get them to go more comfortably. It will also be a good opportunity for them to stretch their legs and get some personal time with you. Just be careful because they might not want to get back in the carrier!
It might be a good idea to place an old shirt of yours in the carrier to give your furry buddy a sense of the familiar when physical contact with you is limited.
Take your dog's favorite foods. Although they might not have the best appetite, the smell of familiar, loved things can only help. We are not allowed to carry bottles of liquid onto flights because of the terrorist threat, but the cabin crew will give you all the water you need. Perhaps you could even ask them for ice cubes for a bit of hydration and entertainment combined.
It does get cold on flights, though. Besides ample insulation within the carrier, it might be wise to carry a blanket with you that you can use to cover it with. Just remember to make space for ventilation and check back often.
Making the Decision
You should not take the decision to travel with your dog lightly. Just like with small children (and many adults!), the experience is uncomfortable, stressful and frightening for your canine friend. Some pet owners resort to sedatives to ensure the best travel experience.
However, the use of drugs should not be regarded lightly either. They can lead to side-effects like vomiting or worse, which might end up doing your buddies vacation more harm than good.