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There are several factors you need to keep in mind before flying with a dog. You need to ensure you have checked off all health requirements and completed the necessary paperwork.
Dogs typically need a great deal of love and attention, which is why traveling can be a daunting prospect for them. Here are some important considerations when deciding to fly with your pooch.
Not all dog breeds are fit to fly. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, flying is not recommended for short-nosed breeds. They are also prohibited in many airlines.
Short-nosed dogs are more susceptible to respiratory issues, even in daily life. Their nasal passages, sinuses, and hard palates are all present inside a small nose area. Short-nosed dogs consisted of more than 50% dog deaths on planes over a recent 5-year time period.
Dog breeds that are at risk include pugs, boxers, Pekingese, shih tzus, bulldogs, and some mastiffs. Some airlines do allow short-nosed breeds, but with some restrictions. For instance, Lufthansa only permits short-nosed dogs to fly if the temperature at the departure and arrival airports is not higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The size of your pet is a deciding factor when it comes to determining where they will spend their time inside the plane.
Usually, airline rules allow a dog to fly in the cabin only when they are small enough to be accommodated in a carrier beneath the seat in the front. If your pup is larger, he may have to be placed in the cargo hold along with luggage and freight.
Airlines claim to try their best to make your pet feel comfortable in the cargo hold, but it still may end up being a distressing experience for the dog. He may go through separation anxiety or get scared by items shifting and falling in the hold.
While there are several instances of pets travelling safely in cargo holds, there are still some factors that you have no control over. For instance, your pet may get injured while baggage handlers load luggage. Some people have even reported their pets becoming very ill, or even dying, after staying in the cargo during a flight.
Keep in mind that flying with a dog is expensive. Pets require attention during the flight, which is why some airlines charge more for carrying a pet than carrying a regular passenger. Most airlines calculate the ticket price based on the volume of the dog’s crate or the weight of the dog with the crate.
Making a reservation is necessary when you wish to take your pet on a plane with you. The fee is typically paid when you reach the airport, not when you make the booking.
Most airlines have limited spots for pets on board. Inform the airline about your pet as soon as possible. If all spots are full, you may be denied permission to take your pet along. However, if you are traveling with a guide dog or emotional support animal, this rule is not applicable.
If you want to travel internationally with your dog, in some countries you can book with the airline directly. However, other countries require you to make the registration through a pet shipping company with an airline account. This is to ensure correct and complete paperwork to avoid any penalties.
Before you travel, take an appointment with the vet to ensure that your pooch is all set for a flight. Discuss with your vet to make sure that your pet meets all health requirements.
Pre-requisites may include blood tests, vaccinations, or microchips for identification. Different airlines and countries may have varying requirements for pets. It is best to carefully go through specific requirements before deciding to travel with a pet.
Visit the vet to get your pet checked up and have his vaccinations updated. Ask your vet for a health certificate dated within 10 days before departure.
Some people require service animals to travel. For instance, blind passengers need a dog to guide them and find their seats. Airlines usually allow guide dogs inside the cabin as they perform a life-saving duty.
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) provide relief in the form of affection and comfort to people suffering from emotional or psychological conditions. These pets are allowed to travel with their owner in the cabin.
If you want to take an ESA along, you need a letter from a mental health professional stating that the dog performs an essential function for you. Recently, behavioral issues with ESAs have arisen. In the absence of formal training requirements and species restrictions, several animals such as ducks and pigs, have boarded planes and disturbed other passengers.
There have also been some instances where emotional support animals attacked service animals. This made people with disabilities call for limitations on untrained animals. As a result, some airlines now require owners to sign training verification.
Make sure you prepare a suitable carrier for your dog before your flight. In-cabin crates should be preferably soft-sided so that they can fit under the seat in front of you.
As for cargo crates, ensure that they are spacious enough for your pet to sit, stand, and turn around in. Close the crate door properly, but do not lock it.
It is crucial to label the crate so that people handling the baggage are aware of what’s inside. Mark it with a prominent “Live Animal” warning along with a photo of your pet. Layer the crate floor with towels to absorb any accidents, and tape some food to the outside of the crate so that the airline employees can feed your dog if required.
Scroll your name, phone number, and destination phone number on the crate in case it is misplaced by the airline staff. When you have a pet in the cargo hold, consider informing every airline employee you come across. You can request wellness checks when you feel concerned about your pup.
To fly with your canine companion, it is important to prepare him in advance. Introduce your pooch to a pet carrier beforehand to get him comfortable in it. Attract him positive reinforcements, such as keeping treats and toys inside the crate.
Make sure all health requirements are met before flying with a dog. Determine whether your pet can survive air travel, especially if he would be placed in the cargo hold. Being thoroughly prepared will ensure a smooth journey for both you and your pooch.
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