Should You Fly with Your Dog?

Tips for dog owners traveling during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and for many people, travelling is more of their holiday tradition. Going to see family and friends? Good, but will you be taking the dog along for the ride? While there are many ways to travel, flying presents a unique situation for dogs, especially with the tightened security and regulations around airports.

So, if you’re planning to do travel by plane, there are a few things to consider before your dog sets paw near the airport. Most importantly, many airlines require recent documentation that your dog is in good health before they will allow them on the flight, so you’ll need to take them to the vet prior to including them in any air travel plans.

What are the requirements?

Some dogs are permitted while others aren’t. Limitations are sometimes based on the size of the dog. Other airlines allow you to bring your dog into the cabin as long as their crate can be kept under the seat in front of you.. But, while some pets can be kept in the cabin, most dogs will have to reside in the cargo area.

There are also breed discrimination restrictions as well e.g. pit bull dogs aren’t allowed on board, as are Dobermans, or any other naturally aggressive type. Additionally, airlines may hold at their discretion whether your dog can board, even if they meet all the requirements. Be sure that all your destinations (even temporary) are pet friendly. And keep in mind that the airline can designate your dog as unacceptable at any time, especially if they show signs of aggression.

If you’re hopping flights or have long layovers, your dog is going to be moving around as well. They will be transferred over from one cargo hold to the next, which can present a problem. After a long flight, they may be scared or intimidated, which can cause issues with the airport personnel. Some airports may have different regulations regarding dog travelers, so be sure to examine each facility and airline prior to making any arrangements.

Coping with the flying experience

The flying experience is different for every dog. Some may be fine as long as they’re secure in their crate, while others may feel uneasy, anxious, or even scared. Will your pet be able to handle the experience? Many dogs get anxious, especially if they’re going to spend time away from you in a new place with strangers handling them.

With increased security translating to more time spent waiting in lines, a long flight can be a tough affair for your pet. They’re going to be cramped in a small crate or isolated in the cargo bay, where the common amenities, such as food, water, and available potty location are not easily available.

As a dog owner, your primary task is to keep them comfortable – especially when it comes to sustenance. Don’t over-feed them though, since pets can get airsick, and puppy vomit might not be comfortable to travel in. Then there are a dog’s potty needs. Potty train them beforehand if you have to, or have a container for them in the crate to do their business.

There is always the option of using sedatives to keep your dog at ease during the flight, especially if they have aggressive tendencies when intimidated or scared. But, not every owner is willing to sedate their dog with drugs, so do this only if you are comfortable with the results.

Have a fun trip

Travel by air can be a great way to save time, especially if you are only travelling a short distance. Long, enduring flights that involve airport-hopping are not going to be in your dog’s best interests, and can become more of a hassle than anything else.

Of course, the costs for traveling with your pet may not be as expensive as leaving them in a kennel or doggy hotel for long periods of time. One of the best benefits of bringing your dog along for the ride is that you’ll still be with each other when you get there. And that will make the both of you happy.

If you’re planning to travel by air, be sure that you weigh the benefits of bringing the pup along. Before departure, prepare your pooch for the journey ahead and make sure they have a safe trip to your holiday destination.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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