Guide on Traveling with Your Dog
I don’t know about you, but I consider pets to be full-fledged members of the family. I know that I’m not alone in this, due to the rising amount of doggy spas and specialized vacations designed for both humans and their canine companions.
Once you arrive in one of these dog-friendly hotels, the fun begins, although there could be problems along the way when traveling with the furry members of your family. Namely, issues with airline flights. There are numerous regulations to adhere to, as well as safety concerns that you need to be aware of.
Traveling by Crate
It isn’t safe or recommended to travel with your pet in the cargo hold, since the air pressure in that part of the plane is not the same as it is in the cabin. Instead, choose an airline (you’ll have to ask when booking your tickets, since pet policies can change frequently) that lets you keep your pet with you in the cabin.
If placing your pet in the cargo hold can’t be avoided, purchase a crate that has been approved by the USDA. It should be large enough that your dog can turn around fully, and have space for food and water dishes.
Check With Your Veterinarian
Before you travel with your dog, schedule a wellness appointment with your veterinarian. Dogs that are very old, very young, or in bad health shouldn’t fly, even in the cabin. However, as long as your vet gives your pet a clean bill of health and the “okay” to fly, then everything should be fine.
If you’re going to a foreign country with your dog, you may need special documentation from your vet stating that your pet has had all of the necessary inoculations. This is something that you should check out before you travel, by using this handy website: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/export/ct_animal_and_animal_product_export_information/
Identification and Other Requirements
Your dog should have a sturdy collar with a clearly written tag stating who he or she belongs to. Plus, the crate that he or she is in should have “LIVE ANIMAL” tags on it. You may want to microchip your dog, just in case something should happen with its collar.
Make sure that your flight is a direct one, since you want to minimize its impact on your pet, and don’t want him or her getting lost in transit while changing flights.
Lastly, consider using a service like PetAir (http://www.flypets.com/) to ensure that your dog arrives at your vacation destination safely. PetAir has over 30 years of experience in shipping pets, and use only airplanes with pressurized cargo holds in order to ensure that your pet arrives safely. They even sell USDA approved crates and collars, just in case you arrive at your airport without them.