Before you even book a flight, it’s important to make sure your pet is ready for flying. First things first—have your pet examined by your veterinarian to ensure they’re in full health, and have essential vaccinations and pest-control medicines updated if necessary. Secondly, get your pet properly identified if they aren’t already. A microchip is recommended, as it is the most secure form of identification.
Generally speaking, it’s not advised to put senior pets, pets with disabilities or injuries, or pets with compromised immune systems on flights. The stress of flying may simply be too much for these pets, and it’s just not worth the risk!
It’s very important to check the policies of the airline you’re flying with to see what their regulations are in regard to pets. Plenty of airlines don’t allow pets at all, and even those that do may have strict guidelines and restrictions based on size, breed, and more. Some pets are allowed in the cabin with the human passengers (“carry-on” pets), while some must be transported alongside checked baggage under the cabin. Certain airlines have procedures in place—and even specialized teams in some cases—to safely transport pets, while others do not. Do your research before choosing an airline!
Whenever possible, don’t choose flights scheduled for the peak of summer or the coldest months of winter. Extreme temperatures won’t treat your pet kindly while flying, especially if they must be transported in the baggage area of the aircraft. It’s also best to book a direct flight with no layovers, helping to minimize the chance of a lost pet.
Remember to check your destination—whether it’s a hotel, rented house or apartment, or a family member or friend’s home—to make sure it’s pet-friendly. You don’t want to arrive at your destination only to find out that your pet isn’t welcome!
For more tips on air travel with pets, contact your vet’s office.
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