Every day pet owners face the question of what to do with their pets when they travel. The options for boarding pets are extensive; from professional pet sitters to state-of-the-art, all-inclusive boarding facilities. However, some pet owners ultimately decide that bringing their pets with them is the best option. There are many things to consider when opting to travel with your pet. In general, air travel with your pet can be a complicated and stressful experience, so here are some helpful guidelines to keep your pet both happy and safe.
Plan Ahead and Schedule Early: Each airline has different policies regarding taking pets in the cabin. Some only allow a certain number of pets to fly on each flight and many require a health certificate from your veterinarian issued within ten days of travel. Call ahead for your airlines policies and requirements to ensure your travel goes smoothly.
Use the Right Carrier: Your pet is unable to leave the carrier while you are onboard the flight, so it is essential that you select one that is both functional and comfortable. Most travel carriers used to transport cats and small dogs to the veterinarian are not suitable for air travel. The USDA regulation states that animals must be able to stand up completely without touching the top of the kennel and be able to turn around comfortably. Also, make sure the carrier is approved for in-cabin travel.
Condition Your Pet to the Carrier: It is important to get your pet acclimated to the carrier before you travel. For a few weeks leading up to your departure, have the carrier in a place where your pet feels comfortable. Place food or treats inside the carrier. This will teach your pet that the carrier is a fun and safe environment.
Prevent Motion Sickness: Some pets may experience motion sickness during travel by car or by plane. It is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian about ways to prevent your pet from getting sick during the ride. Your veterinarian may suggest medication and/or withholding food for a few hours before travel. However, for longer travel periods it is important to provide water for your pet at least every 12 hours and food at least every 24 hours.
excerpts from Cat Fancy magazine