Traveling with pets is never easy, check out these tips for flying with a dog.
To bring Spot or not to bring Spot, that is the question on minds of dog owners every time they plan a vacation–especially when planes are involved. Whether you’re traveling near or far, flying with a dog comes with many hoops to jump through and obstacles to overcome. But the alternative is to leave your dog behind, which causes stress for them and for you. Here are a few tips to make sure tails stay wagging during your next trip:
Before booking a trip or buying a ticket, know the pet policies for the airline.
The FAA gives airlines the freedom to decide their own policies regarding pets in the aircraft cabin, so find out where yours stands. Some airlines allow pets in planes and others only allow Service Animals, which are not technically considered pets, so do your research carefully. If your airline does allow pets on airplanes, be aware that there may be additional fees and costs.
Be prepared to address certain pet irritants.
The cramped spaces and loud noises of an airplane are not only confusing to dogs (especially first-time travelers), but can also be very scary. You understand exactly what is happening when you’re in a plane, but your dog will only notice that they’re in an unfamiliar, unstable environment with many strangers. Familiar toys and chews can be great distractions, especially longer lasting ones such as Bones and Braided Bully Sticks. Also, place training before your trip can help your dog learn to self-soothe in these kinds of situations.
Consider what’s best for your dog specifically.
Is your dog an anxiety-ridden traveler or does he act out more while left with a pet sitter? You might even realize that your pet actually loves their sitter, but you are the one that finds it difficult to leave him behind. If this is the case, remember that your options aren’t limited to a caged facility with an hour of playtime; in fact, these days there are tons of pet lovers dog boarding from their homes who’d love to be a temporary caretaker for your beloved pet!
Ensure that your dog and their carrier are properly ID’d and airline approved.
In deciding what crate or carrier to use, ensure that it meets the airline’s requirements for how your dog is flying, whether in the cargo hold or in the plane cabin. At the very least, mark your crate or carrier with “Live Animal” and your name, cell phone number, and destination phone number. It also helps to have a photo of your dog on you and to include one in the crate, in the unfortunate event of a crate escape. Be sure to check if the airline you’re flying with has more identification requirements.
Pack a travel bag just for your dog.
If you need specific items when you go on holiday, your dog is no different! It saves space in your luggage and makes it easier while you travel to have a bag specifically dedicated to your dog. Your dog’s airplane travel bag should at least include: a food dish, familiar toys, a pillow or bed, bottled water, and any necessary medication. Be careful with food and water on a potentially bumpy airplane flight, no dog wants a full bladder before flying!
When driving to and from the airport, equip your vehicle with the proper restraints.
There are specially-made pet car restraints to make your trip safe for your four-legged companion. And don’t forget to consider air bags; while they keep you safe, they can actually be dangerous to pets. If your car has passenger-side airbags, be sure to restrict Spot to the backseat.
Know how to handle potty time.
As you’re driving, allow time for pit stops. Not everyone lives a stone’s throw away from the airport they need and your dog may not be able to hold their bladder well if they’re nervous. When you arrive at the airport or even beforehand, take a look at the details of the airports you’ll be traveling through. There are some pet-friendly airports that have designated pet relief areas!
Whether you decide to bring your dog with you or send him on his own vacation with a pet sitter, make the choice that’s right for both of you. If flying with a dog is only going to stress both of you out, it might not be worth it. Keep in mind that if you’re worried about leaving your dog behind, technology can allow for daily photo updates and even video visits to keep you in the loop. You might even find that he needed a vacation almost as much as you did!