Dogs that travel by plane, especially those that are too large to travel in the plane’s cabin, can present several problems for the owner. The size of the dog is important, the size of the carrier is important and temperatures are important. The following tips should help make your next trip much less stressful and more enjoyable for your dog.
If your dog is too big to fit under the seat in front of you, the best solution is to send him/her as a REGISTERED CARGO.
Yes, I did say “checked baggage.” All you have to do is take the dog and crate to the reservations office and check it in, just like a suitcase or other luggage.
Most airlines do not require reservations for dogs traveling this way. I suggest you call your airline or go online to make sure of their policy.
There are a couple of things you can’t do with dogs checked as luggage. You can’t check in on the curb or check in yourself, you have to go through the reservation agent.
Be sure to choose a carrier that is the right size and made of the right material.
Always make sure the cage has a sign that says “ANIMAL LIVE”.
Remember that your dog will be traveling with suitcases and other luggage. Therefore, the maximum size of the carrier will be approximately 40 inches long X 27 inches wide X 30 inches high.
Since your dog will be with other items, you need to make sure they are safe. You should provide a sturdy plastic, wooden, or metal carrying crate, and the crate should have a hard, solid roof.
The carrier should have remotely viable wheels and handles on the outside, and it should close securely without a lock.
The combined weight of your dog and the crate should not exceed 100 pounds.
Put food and water in the crate for your dog. Food and water containers should be inside the crate but should be accessible to baggage handlers. Most large crates have containers that snap into small doors that baggage handlers can open.
To make your dog more comfortable, put some of his bedding in the crate with him. Familiar items, such as his bedding, will help your dog stay calm and less stressed. If there’s room in the crate, put paper towels or puppy pads in part of the crate in case your dog needs to go to the bathroom during the flight.
Make sure you have all your dog’s current medical records with you. It’s a good idea to visit the veterinarian a few days before your dog travels, so you can get an up-to-date record and make sure your dog is healthy. Most airlines will require a health certificate before you can board your dog.
Some breeds of dogs, such as snub-nosed or pug-nosed dogs, may be restricted and not allowed to fly. This is due to the dog’s inability to breathe at higher altitudes. Again, check with the airline as there may be other restrictions for this type of breed.
Always check the weather at your departure point and destination. Every airline has temperature restrictions, so be sure your dog will be safe. If temperatures are below freezing or above 85 degrees, your pet may not be able to leave. Never go to the airport without checking with your airline about their restrictions on carrying dogs.
Air travel with dogs doesn’t have to be a nightmare or even extremely stressful. By learning some of the basic rules and regulations, and following the guidelines and tips, the trip will be successful for you and comfortable for your dog.