Dog Air Travel Tips!
Planning on traveling across Europe? Moving across the globe? Or going on a quick cross-country jaunt to see the family for the holidays? How about making it even better and bringing your dog along for the ride?!
But, where do you start? Sure, booking air travel is getting easier and easier for us humans – but for our little furry companions, it’s mind boggling. Or is it?
In fact, prepping your dog for air travel, booking him in, and making sure he’s comfortable on the flight is as easy as following these six steps.
Then, pretty soon you’ll be holding up a “Welcome Fido” banner at arrivals, waiting to scoop him into your arms! Just kidding, dogs can’t read, silly.
1. Clean Bill of Health
For all small pets departing the US to travel internationally, they require an “Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals.”
Whereas, if you’re departing from Europe, small pets will likely require a “Pet Passport” issued by a national governing body, and stamped with up to date vaccination records from your veterinarian.
This is to prove that they are of no risk to the animal population in the destination country.
Contact your local veterinarian to ask whether they can provide you with the necessary documentation, or point you in the direction of someone who can!
2. When To Travel
We all prefer to fly direct, but it can be ever so tempting to book that flight with three stop overs and save 50% of the ticket cost. When traveling with pets, it’s never worth the saved money.
Flying is a stressful experience for us, and at least we know how long we’re going to be in the air, and that the destination is worth it!
For our pooches, as much as we try to prep in advance, flying is a stressful experience, and as loving owners, we owe it to them to make this as quick as possible.
Booking flight during off peak times, for example during the week, or first thing in the morning can also be a good option to make it aboard a quieter plane hopefully.
3. Crate Training
When you fly your pet, you have the option of using your own crate or renting one from the airline. I always suggest using your own. Having a little nest that smells like home will help to minimize your dog’s stress.
It’s essential to crate train your dog well before the date of departure. You want to create happy experiences so that in your dog’s mind – the crate is great!
Different airlines have different rules when it comes to the size allowed. Based on the size of your dog, you can check the exact dimensions when making your booking.
Playing airplane sounds, such as takeoff and landing. And gradually increasing the volume of these can help to desensitize your dog to the potentially scary sounds and prep him for a calm day of travel!
4. On The Day
On the day of travel, your dog should already be well accustomed to being in the crate, and the noise of air travel. Now all you need to do is keep your own energy calm. Taking deep breaths and avoiding caffeine on the day of the journey – at least until your fluffball in onboard.
Feed your dog four hours before travel; this will give him time to relieve himself before going into the crate and make for a more comfortable journey.
5. PREPPING FOR CABIN TRAVEL
- Clean your dog’s water resistant carrier but not so much that it loses the smell of home
- Put a good quality potty pad into the base of the bag and bring extras
- Bring a roll of diaper bags, and baby wipes so that you can quickly and discreetly change out potty pads if need be – your pup and row buddies will thank you!
- Bring a no spill water/food bowl combo
- Take along plenty of treats to help distract and calm your dog if he becomes nervous
- Be sure that you have all of your complete health certificates OR passport
- Have a collar tag with your contact info – accidents happen, and dogs do get loose
- Arrive at the airport an hour earlier than you would without your dog
- Bring along some doggy travel sickness tablets just in case
- Introduce yourself to your seat neighbors!
Don’t forget about doggie travel insurance!
No Excuse Now
Air travel with your dog is probably easier than you thought! There’s a whole world out there to discover. So hop to it! Still not sold on the idea? I understand. Traveling your pet is a significant, and expensive decision. And one that only you can make. Hearing from other people that have already gone through it is a great way to make your mind up. Hop on to a dog forum and ask for experienced travelers opinions!