It is that time of year where families all over the country are traveling for vacation or relocating. If you find yourself in need of flying with your canine we urge you to consider these tips from American Kennel Club

Be Sure to Do Your Research
While there are general TSA and USDA guidelines for dog travel, each airline has their own regulations, recommendations and fees. Be sure to call the airline, and familiarize yourself with their particular rules so that you may prepare accordingly. Each airline will provide you with their guidelines that outline such items as; weight restrictions, crate, and temperature requirements and certain embargoes (due to the time of year, weather, or even certain breeds), among others. You may want to consider contacting multiple airlines before booking any flights to determine which one will work best for the needs of your dog. Give yourself plenty of time to do this.

Schedule a Visit to Your Veterinarian
Most airlines require a certificate of health within a specific period of flying. Be sure you are aware of the airline requirements prior to scheduling your veterinary visit.

  • In additon to following and discussing the necessary items from the airlines now would be a wonderful time to discuss any concerns or special issues your dog has.
  • With your veterinarian, consider whether or not your dog is healthy enough for air travel.
  • Consider whether or not your dog possesses the right temperament for the potential stress of air travel.
  • Decide with your veterinarian whether or not it is necessary to give your dog a sedative.
  • If your dog is not microchipped, we highly recommend having your dog  microchipped at this time. Microchipping can be an essential tool in reuniting lost dogs with their owners.
  • Verify that your dog’s rabies vaccination is up-to-date. If traveling internationally, be aware that some countries may require a specific type of rabies vaccination. Research the requirements before seeing your veterinarian.
  • Discuss any other testing that must be done before air travel.

Research Your Destination Country’s Pet Import Requirements
Research will be required for domestic and international dog travel. Be sure to look up requirements such as vaccinations, blood and parasite testing, licensing requirements, destination airport rules and regulations, quarantines, etc.

Help Your Dog Get Accustomed to the Crate
Purchase the crate well in advance of the travel date so that you have the time totrain your dog to stay in his crate before travel, using it as his “home” for a least one week before your planned travel. This will provide your dog with a sense security and make them less anxious during travel. This is very important, and sadly, many people skip this very important step. 

Confirm and Book Reservations
Contact your airline and tell them you are traveling with your dog before you book your ticket to be sure your airline has not met its limits on the number of pets they will carry on your flight. Most airlines restrict the number of pets — both in the cabin and underneath — allowed on each flight.

Additional Pet Travel Tips:

  • Nonstop flights are optimal to minimize the stress on your dog. We recommend trying to avoid layovers altogether, but if necessary, keep them as short as possible. 
  • Schedule a trip to the groomer. A clean pet makes for a more comfortable traveler. We recommend making sure their nails are trimmed so that they don’t get them caught on anything.
  • Consider booking your travel at the earliest time of the day or the latest, especially in warm temperatures to reduce the risk of overheating.
  • If your pet is traveling in the plane with you, you might want to consider booking a window seat to keep your pet safe from aisle traffic while in the carrier. Check with your airline to make certain your pet and its carrier meet the requirements for traveling in the cabin with you.

Essential Pet Travel Supplies:

  • Airline-approved pet carrier and bedding
  • Leash and collar
  • Name tag (with your cellphone number on it)
  • Photo of you and your pet (in case you should be separated)
  • Water and a portable water dish — follow TSA guidelines
  • Supply of sealed pet food, dish, and spoon
  • Dog treats
  • Toys — chew toys are recommended, rather than plush or squeak toys.
  • Medications sealed in a plastic bag with the proper name, directions, and labels attached to each.
  • Plastic bags for picking up after your pet

Helpful Links
U.S. Department of State Pets and International Travel
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

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