Pet owners may want to travel with their animals at some point, but they might not be sure how to make it happen.
While some pets can travel in an airplane cabin and others need to be shipped by cargo, there are additional considerations to make when flying with pets, especially if you’re planning on having them inside the cabin with you.
Make your pet’s trip as safe and stress-free as possible by following these simple tips before you leave your home, during car or air travel, and while you are at your new location.
Select The Right Pet Carrier
The carrier you select will be based on the size of your pet and the mode of transportation. A soft-sided carrier that can easily fit under an airplane seat is ideal for smaller pets. Larger pets will require a kennel that meets IATA standards for air travel. Be sure to clearly label the carrier with your contact information in case it is lost.
Be sure to check with your aviation company before traveling to verify their policies regarding live animals. Some flights have restrictions based on species or other distinctions, so it’s important that you understand all of their rules before heading out.
Get Your Pet Used to Confined Spaces
If your pet is going to be spending time in a carrier during their journey, it’s important to get them used to the space ahead of time. That way, they won’t be anxious or stressed when it comes time to travel. You can do this by placing their carrier in an area of the house where they spend a lot of time, like the living room or your bedroom.
Leave the door open so they can come and go as they please. You can also put some of their favorite toys or treats inside to make the space more inviting. After a few days, you can start closing the door for short periods, gradually increasing the amount of time your pet spends in the carrier.
Get Your Pet Used to Airports and The Sound of Airplanes
Start by visiting your local airport and letting your pet explore. Once your pet is comfortable with the airport, try taking them on short flights. Get them used to the sound of airplanes by playing recordings of takeoffs and landings. The key is to gradually expose your pet to the sights and sounds of travel, so they don’t get overwhelmed.
Don’t forget their favorite toy or blanket! If you have multiple pets, separate them, so they don’t get upset with each other during travel. The best way to avoid letting your pet out of their cage before landing is by giving them something else to do in there; chewing on toys or napping will help keep them occupied.
Try To Limit Access to Food and Water Before Your Flight When Flying with Pets
One of the best ways to ensure your pet has a safe and stress-free journey is to limit their access to food. You can, however, give them water before your flight. This will help keep them hydrated during your flight. If you must give them food, make sure it is in small, easily digestible pieces.
Also, avoid giving them fatty or sugary foods as these can upset their stomachs. It’s also important to get them used to traveling if they haven’t already. A good way to do this is by leaving for short periods and gradually increasing the time spent away from home.
Familiarize Yourself with Signs of Distress
Pets can’t tell us when they’re anxious or stressed, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs. Look for excessive panting, drooling, shaking, whining, or barking. If your pet exhibits any of these behaviors, take steps to help them feel more comfortable.
To make your pet more comfortable, consider making an improvised pet carrier for them to sit in at home. This could be as simple as an open cardboard box with air holes punched or as complex as a custom-made wooden crate. This will get them accustomed to staying in a carrier or crate during your flight.