Whether you’re taking a long vacation or you’re moving out of the country, traveling with pets in tow can be stressful and emotional for you and your pet. It takes a lot of planning and research to know what to expect before the big day.
Firstly, it’s important to find out the policies regarding animals. Some countries have a mandated quarantine period while others do not. However, you will need to make sure that your dog or cat is fully vaccinated a few days before flight. Again, these policies change from time to time. Some airlines require the vaccinations to be done within 30 days of the flight, while some say 10 days.
Once your vet gives your four-legged friend a clean bill of health and documentation to prove that he’s rabies-free, you’ll need to keep these in a safe place. These documents are now your pet’s passport to travel. This is especially important when you travel internationally because you don’t want to carry any diseases across the border.
Booking the Ticket
When you’re booking your ticket, you need to inform the airline company that they can expect an animal to be accompanying you. It’s best to do this as early as possible, before the cargo area becomes fully booked. If you’re too late, you may have to try to get the pet into the cabin with you, or even leave him behind.
There are even exclusive flights that are fully equipped to transport animals. This sometimes works out cheaper than taking your pet in cargo. And the best part is, he can fly in the cabin instead. Always remember that it’s better to book your pet’s flight with your own instead of getting surprised at the ticket counter of the airport.
Rules to Follow in the Cabin
If you do decide to take your pet in the cabin when you travel, there are a lot of restrictions and rules to follow. There are specific cage dimensions that will need to be complied with. The cage will need to fit under the seat in front of you, so it’s important to check the specifications of the airline. However, this doesn’t mean that you can squeeze your animal into a little cage; most airlines mandate that the animal should be able to stand up and turn around in their cage for it to be allowed. Soft-shell carriers are preferred over cages if you’re taking your pet in-flight.
Rules to Follow in Cargo
If you decide to send your pet to the cargo hold, make sure that he can handle it. Some dog breeds are prone to shortness of breath and oxygen-deprivation could occur in the hold during travel. The cargo isn’t temperature controlled and may be unsuitable for some animals. If you still decide to send him in cargo, make sure that there is some food in the cage. A handler will be arranged to feed your pet at a designated time, and you can always ask an airhostess to check on your pet for you if you’re anxious. Hard cages are best suited for the cargo-hold.
Try to clip your pet’s nails before the trip so he doesn’t get caught anywhere during the journey. Also, make sure that he’s had something to eat and drink before the trip, but don’t overfeed him. Many animals tend to get sick from fatigue or stress when they travel, so overfeeding could create discomfort. Ensure that your dog or cat has a proper tag and ID in case of emergencies. It’s a good idea to carry a current photo of your pet so that it’s easier to find him if he gets separated from you.