What to Know Before Flying with Your Dog
Posted by Andie Missert on 16th March 2018
Air travel is different for every dog, breed, and owner. Knowing how to
prepare for your next trip and what to look for in an airline will be key in
having a safe and successful journey. Follow these tips and share your own experiences
below to help fellow dog owners and jet-setters have a great flying experience.
Consult Your Vet Before
Not all dog breeds travel well or can handle the stress and air
pressure changes when flying. Dog breeds with short noses or snub-noses, also called
brachycephalic breeds, struggle on airplanes. Their shorter snouts account for
common respiratory problems, compared to other breeds with longer snouts.
Because of this abnormality, it is important to take precautionary measures
before flying on an airplane. If you have a brachycephalic breed dog, such as a
Pug, Boxer, Boston Terrier, Shih tzu, or Bulldog, consult your vet before a
trip. Be sure to discuss how your pup will handle flying based on his or her
breed, age, and overall health.
Know Your Airline
For a nice extra fee, you can choose to have your dog fly with you. If
your dog is small enough, they may even be allowed in the cabin. Whiles
airlines will post size restrictions of dogs and carriers online, the most
important thing for you to do as a responsible
dog owner before purchasing a plane ticket is additional research. Check to
see if an airline is specific about carrier model and make, then call the
airline directly to confirm.
Airlines may say they are dog friendly and will take care of your pup, but
use intuition and a strong network of fellow dog-owners to verify this. Chances
are if you own a dog, you likely have a lot of friends with dogs, too. Plan a
dog walking date or dog-friendly gathering to discuss the best flying options
and best experiences everyone has had. If nothing comes of that, get in touch
with airlines on the phone and ask them what the flight will be like. Know the
airline and exactly what the experience will be like before selecting your
flight – your dog will thank you.
Back in 2011, United and other airlines actually banned brachycephalic
breeds from flying with them for a short period of time. Airlines are
constantly changing their breed, dog weight, and carrier policies. Stay in tune
with the latest changes. If you plan on venturing abroad, check out these tips
Through Europe with Your Dog.
Use A Proper ID
When you travel, you often have to juggle many things at once. From
checking your bag at the gate, to going through security, and handling luggage
as you wait – there is a lot for you and your dog to be distracted by. If you
dog is flying with you in the cabin, and will be with you at the airport the
whole time, make sure he or she is properly tagged and has a collar with an ID.
Dogs are required to go through security at the airport, either in their
owner’s arms or walking through the checkpoint on a leash. For large dogs, make
sure to use a harness
and a short lead, as this will allow for more control. In this new and exciting
environment, keep your dog close at all times. Not only will you be terrified
if your dog is lost in the airport, your dog will definitely be frightened by
the intimidating environment, too.
Bring the Right Accessories
If your dog is flying in the cabin with you, make sure that he or she
will be comfortable in their mode of transportation. Brining favorite toys is a
good idea for added comfort. However, be careful with items like a favorite
blanket or plush stuffed animal. If toys are too big, they could add extra
stress and anxiety to your dog in their carrier, since the space is
pretty small. Refrain from too many toys and comfort items, as you want your
dog to be able to move around without fear of suffocation.
Traveling with your dog is a great adventure and bonding experience.
Plan and research ahead of time to allow for a safe, fun, and dog-friendly
trip. If you’re staying in a hotel while traveling, read more about How
to Keep Your Dog Comfortable in Hotels.
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