Air travel can be difficult on everyone, but especially so on pets. Sadly, pets die each year in cargo areas on planes because the trip causes too much stress on our little furry friends. Factoring in wild temperature changes, loud noises and air pressure drops, the entire environment can be very detrimental to your pet’s health. If you have to travel with your pets, here are a few tips to make the trip easier for them.
Make an Appointment
Before you leave, get your pet checked out by your veterinarian, and get a health certificate. It’s best if the certificate is dated within 10 days of the trip. Making sure your pet has a clean bill of health will ensure their ability to withstand the stressful environment. Your vet will also provide you with some traveling tips specific to your pet’s individual needs.
While you’re at the veterinarian’s, if you haven’t done so already, make sure your pet has been microchipped. This usually only applies to dogs or cats. Airlines lose luggage on a constant basis, and the same goes with pets. Getting microchipped can help to return your pet to you if something goes wrong and your pet gets sent elsewhere on accident.
Book a Direct Flight
If at all possible, booking a direct flight is the best option for traveling with a pet. It decreases the chance of your pet spending any amount of time on a tarmac with possibly bad weather conditions. The fewer times your pet has to exit and re-enter a plane’s cargo area, the less stressful it is.
Having the Right Crate
Be sure to purchase a USDA-approved crate that is large enough for your pet to move around comfortably in. If your dog or cat can stand, sit and turn around in it without any problems, the stress on your pet will lessen. These can be purchased at pet stores or airlines.
Mark Your Crate
ASPCA.org suggests marking your crate with the words “live animal” with letters that are at least one inch tall. They also suggests marking it with arrows that show which end is up. You should also write the name, address and phone number of the destination on top of the crate. Be sure to pad the bottom of the crate for your pet’s comfort.
Attach the Pet’s Picture
By attaching the pet’s picture to its crate, you ensure that even if your cunning pet escapes, airport personnel can correctly identify it, and place it back in the correct crate. You should also carry a picture of your pet with you just in case the worst happens and it gets lost.
Don’t Forget the Food
To ensure that your pet gets the food and water it needs, strap a pouch of food to the crate so that the airline attendants can feed your pet if there’s a long layover or if the flight is especially long. It’s suggested that you also freeze a bowl of water so that it defrosts while your pet is on the plane and won’t be splashing your pet while it’s being loaded.
Communicate with the Staff
Let everyone know that you have a pet in the cargo bay. Alerting them to this information could mean that they will be more mindful towards your pet. If there are any delays, be sure and have them check on your pet when they can. The more communication there is, the more at ease you will feel, and your pet will have a better chance at getting to your destination safely.
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