Summer travel is heating up and many folks enjoy taking their pets with them on vacation. Recognizing that Baby Boomers are a much more mobile society and want their pets with them, airlines have improved their processes for transporting animals.
Here are 6 things to consider if you and your furry friend are planning to take to the skies:
- Air travel can be risky for some pets. Dogs with “pushed in” faces such as Bulldogs and Pugs, as well as Persian cats have short nasal passages that leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.
- If your pet is small enough, he can travel in the cabin with you for an additional fee. Different airlines have different restrictions so be sure to call in advance to find out what those limitations are. If you find it too overwhelming to navigate all the different regulations, contact a company that specializes in assisting owners through the process of flying with a pet.
- Bringing your pet through airport security can be stressful for the animal. Be sure your pet is securely harnessed so you can contain him outside of the carrier while it’s being x-rayed. You can also request a special secondary screening that won’t require you to take your pet out of the carrier at all.
- If your pet has to travel in the cargo hold, be sure to use direct flights and travel on the same flight with your pet. Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded. During the summer months, try and book early morning or late evening flights to accommodate the temperature extremes.
- Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian and do not feed your pet for 4-6 hours before the trip.
- Secure a travel label to the carrier that contains your contact information as well as the final destination of your trip. Fit your pet with a collar that has 2 pieces of identification: a permanent ID with your contact information and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached. Be sure to carry a current photograph of your pet. If your pet is lost during the trip, a photograph will make it easier for airline employees to search effectively.