What You Need to Know When Traveling With Your Pet


According to the Air Transport Association, more than 500,000 pets travel by plane each year in the United States of America alone. However, traveling is very stressful to a pet. Imagine the stress you’re under when you’re traveling and multiply that a thousand times and that’s how your pet feels. So, if you’re planning to take your pet on your next trip, this article will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly about traveling with your pet.

The Good

  • You do not have to go through the pain of trying to find a trustworthy pet sitter or try to find a reliable friend/family member who will remember to look after your pet
  • Being able to travel with your pet can set your mind at ease. This means no worrying about how your pet is doing back at home or with a pet sitter while you’re on your vacation.

The Bad

  • Not all airlines are pet-friendly. Some airlines don’t allow pets on their flight.
  • Depending on the airline but those that do allow pets on aboard, will often charge around $125 – $250 one way (this also depends on where you’re flying to as well).
  • Pets go under a great deal of stress when traveling. There are a great deal of environmental stressors that are present when pets travel on an airplane such as temperature changes, noise, and motion changes.

The Ugly

  • According to statistics presented by the Department of Transportation, 122 dogs died in cargo holds of United States airlines between May – July 2010.
  • In 2011, 35 pets died while on an airplane with more than half dying while aboard Delta flights.
  • Airlines are not required by law to report pet mishaps such as accidents, loss, and deaths.

Now that you have an idea of what traveling with your pet could be like, here are some things you must know when you do decide to take your pet traveling with you.

Pre-flight Preparations

  • Because traveling is already hard for your pet, consider other factors that might add more stress for them before making a decision about whether or not to take them with you. If your pet is too old or too young, consider leaving them to a neighbor or family member instead. Same goes if they’re in heat or pregnant.
  • Take your pet to the vet for a checkup. This is to make sure that your pet’s health is in good condition to travel. Also, get the required vaccinations for your pet before leaving for your trip. You can ask for a health certificate to present at the counter before boarding your flight.
  • Book your flight early. Because different airlines have different policies regarding taking your pets on board, it would be much better to make arrangements early. An easy way to do this is to make an online booking. That way you can learn more about your options not just with their pet policies, but with their prices as well.
  • Airlines have different policies about the size of carriers that they allow inside the cabin. Check with your airline about the size and make requirements before buying a carrier. Remember that a carrier is under the same regulations as that of a carry-on. You can check the FAA policies about rules for carry-ons for reference.
  • Some dog trainers recommend training your pet especially for travel before your flight. Some suggested techniques are putting them on the floor of your car while driving. This gets them used to motion changes which they will likely experience on a plane. Others also recommend using an association scent on your pet such as lavender oil. You can put a drop of the oil on your hands before feeding times or taking them for a walk. Doing so allows them to have a positive association with that smell. So if your pet will be separated from you, you can put a drop of lavender oil on their carrier for them to keep calm during the trip.

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