guest post by Carol Bryant of FIDO Friendly
Ready for liftoff? With this handy info, now Fido is, too.
Suitcases? Check. Identification? Check. Boarding pass? Check. Room for Fido? Really?
These days, flying can be daunting for even the most well-traveled passenger; airport security screening alone is, understandably, time consuming. Can Fido pass security? How will he get there? With some pre-planning, careful thought and exploration of options and restrictions, you need not leave neither leash nor best friend behind.
First and foremost, be certain that Fido is accustomed to travel. How does Fido handle a car ride? Has he flown before? Is he a nervous Ned or cool as a cucumber? If Fido doesn’t do well with strangers, new situations, being handled and/or travel in general, it’s best to not have him fly.
Make his kennel a home away from home. Include a blanket with his and your scent on it for warmth and cozying up. Familiarize Fido with the transport kennel well in advance, as dogs are creatures of habit and territory.
Provide food and water hours before the flight. Never fly a pet on a full stomach. It may be a while before they can properly relieve themselves and a full tummy doesn’t bode well for many canine travelers.
Avoid sedatives. While initially calming Fido’s nerves, they can also do harm to internal body temperature and cause unexpected side effects when mixed with higher altitudes. A sedated dog is also unable to brace himself during transport or turbulence, increasing his chance of injury. Brachiocephalic (flat-faced) breeds (e.g., pugs and bulldogs) would probably do best not flying due to respiratory issues that escalate in the air.
Safety is of utmost concern when deciding if and how to fly your trusted canine companion. Some items of consideration to guide in your travel decision making include finding out:
Are pets allowed in the cabin? If so, is there a weight/size restriction?
If pets are to travel as cargo, will they be checked on? Provided water? How many times will they be handled? Are there any layovers or transfers where cargo will be placed in an environment that is not climate controlled?
Is my pet’s crate IATA compliant? Is my dog up-to-date on vaccines, examinations and any healthcare issues? Do I have proper documentation to prove this?
Additionally, try to avoid excursions during hotter months where flying occurs midday, when temperatures are at their peak. In the event of delays, traveling on the same flight as Fido prevents problems.
Airline policies vary, so be sure and check ahead for restrictions, limitations and safety concerns. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is clear that pets will not be placed through an x-ray machine, but carriers may be screened.
Other last-minute precautions include trimming Fido’s nails to avoid them hooking on the kennel/crate door. A sturdy collar and two identification tags should be visible. Why two tags? One should have home information and the other should include information on Fido’s destination. He can’t speak for himself, after all.
Last but not least, talk to Fido’s veterinarian before flying. Plan ahead and find out where emergency clinics are located at your chosen destination. Keep a log of this information in your carry-on bag. The right attitude will keep both Fido and guardian soaring to high altitudes and touching down safely in no time.
The March/April issue of FIDO Friendly magazine tackles airport dog parks and the who’s who and what’s what of FIDO Friendly airline travel in depth. Be sure to check it out. BlogPaws readers get 20% off their one-year subscription with coupon code DEXTER at checkout.