A life filled with frequent travel is exciting, but it can get a little lonely on the road or flying the friendly skies, particularly if you’re doing so often for business. More and more travelers are bringing their beloved pooches with them, 37% of travelers travel or have travelled long distances with pets as of 2016, and this means knowing what to do to make travel most comfortable for you and your pet. 5 tips for air travel with your dog are:
1. Book your trip as early as possible
If you plan to fly with your dog in a seat, make sure to book as early as possible. Many airlines will only allow a couple of dogs to sit in the cabin, so call the airline first and make sure your dog will be allowed to join you. While you’re on the phone with the agent from the airline, book both of your tickets at the same time.
2. Choose your flight wisely
If you’re flying with your pup, especially if the pup is going to be flying in the cargo hold, make sure to choose your flight with your pup in mind. Fly direct to your destination and whenever possible, book your flight for a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday when airports are typically a little less hectic. Also account for the potential temperature in the cargo hold, and choose early morning or nighttime flights during the summer, or midday flights in the winter.
3. Pay a visit to your vet first
Shortly before your flight, make sure to pay a visit to your vet to make sure your dog is in good health, has all his or her shots, and you have a health certificate that proves both. For international travel, additional checkups and documentation may be needed, so be sure to check regulations and restrictions for your destination.
4. Choose your carrier wisely
In order to fly with your pet, you’ll need to invest in a carrier. If you have a small dog that you plan to fit under your airplane seat, which are typically dogs of 20 pounds or less, soft sided crates will usually fit a little better when compared to hard crates. If your larger dog is flying in the cargo hold, opt for a sturdy hard sided crate to keep your pooch safe and comfortable.
5. Make your pup comfortable for the trip
Lastly, you’ll want to make your dog comfortable for the trip itself. While it may seem like a good idea to give your dog a tranquilizer or sedative pre-flight like you may take for yourself, this can actually cause respiratory or cardiac distress for your dog due to pressure changes and is not recommended. The best way to keep your dog comfortable pre-flight is to feed them around 4 hours before you’re due to take off, give them plenty of water, exercise them before you leave for the airport, and make sure you’ve given them ample opportunity to relieve themselves before getting on board.
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