A common dilemma for families that own pets is what to do with them during a vacation, or when a change of city is necessary?
For this reason most pet shipping companies have decided to invest in this market, offering transport of dogs and cats in the passenger cabin, or in the cargo compartment of the aircraft.
Flying with a pet is not a simple task. But today, it is fully viable. It requires a little planning, adaptation of the animal, fulfillment of some airline requirements, and of course, the payment of fees.
It is important to assess the condition of the animal before deciding to take it on the trip and consult a veterinarian. No matter how calm your dog or cat is, or how well accommodated they are during the trip, flying will always be a stressor. An initial suggestion is to plan direct flights and short routes, as far as possible. This decreases the anxiety of pussies and their owners, as well as the chance of dehydration, one of the health risks that animals suffer from, during an airplane trip.
Tips During Trips
Prep Yourself Up
Find out about the airline’s animal transport rules before purchasing a ticket. Some companies that do not allow the transport of animals in the cabin and have restrictions on transport in the hold;
Check your pet’s vaccination documentation. It is necessary to present the certificate of rabies vaccination (for animals over 3 months of age), applied between 30 days and 1 year before the date of shipment. If the vaccine is expired or it is not possible to prove the vaccination (as in public campaigns), it is necessary to reapply it at least 30 days before the flight.
Look for the most suitable bag or transport box in pet shops or specialty stores. The transport box must be sturdy, well ventilated, and of a size suitable for the animal. Take the airline’s specifications to measure and compare dimensions in the store. Remember that the animal needs space to move and that it will stay in that space throughout the trip. Your pet shipper will guide you all the way.
Familiarize Your Pet
About 15 days before the trip, start adapting the animal to a bag or transport box. It is a very important step because pets are confined in the cabin or the hold, so by doing this you are making your dog experience what it is like to be locked up in a cage. Some procedures suggested on airline websites can help a lot in this process:
- Make the shipping box a familiar place for the animal. Always leave it open, accessible and available at all times in the house where the animal usually stays;
- Make it a place for pleasant experiences, offering snacks inside, bones to chew (in case of dogs) and toys;
- Daily, offer at least one of your pet’s meals in the shipping box, and, as long as it is comfortable while eating inside, close the door. Open when the animal is finished.
- Gradually increase the time he stays in the box, even though he has finished the meal by supervising the process;
- Once it is used to the feeding scheme inside the transport box, start placing the animal inside it at other times, preferably when he is calm. Try to stay away, so that the animal will also get used to your absence while confined.
About a week before the flight, look for a vet, and ask for the health certificate for air travel for your pet. Each airline has its own rules, but certificates issued no more than 10 days before the flight, are accepted by all national companies. It is also a good opportunity to assess the animal’s health conditions before travel.