December 23, 2010

Air Travel with Dogs

Filed under: Traveling with Pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:34 pm

Although not always the most convenient way to travel with pets, from time to time some of us cannot avoid air travel with our dogs.  Most airlines make allowances for traveling with dogs but as an owner you should understand that it takes time to prepare to travel by plane with dogs.  There are special considerations to be made, such as how to travel with your dog, and also some extra steps for traveling by air with a dog.

First of all, owners must choose whether to travel with their dog as a carry on or as cargo.  Most airlines will allow small dogs in travel carriers to enter the plane.  In this case, your dog would be held in a small carry-on carrier and stowed under the seat in front of you.  Traveling with your dog on the flight is certainly the best option because you can regularly check on your dog and ensure he has food and water.

On the other hand, large dogs will need to travel in the cargo section of the plane.  There are a number of reasons why dogs as cargo is not ideal.  Firstly, if your dog becomes anxious there is nobody around to help him.  Furthermore, the air temperature in the cargo hold can be extreme.  Dogs have actually died of heat exhaustion and even hypothermia during transport; as a result, airlines will often restrict certain times of the year for dog cargo travel.  And finally, as luggage can sometimes disappear so can dogs and this can obviously be dangerous for your pet’s health.

Nevertheless, if you must travel by air with dogs be prepared.  You’ll need to purchase a USDA approved travel carrier and you must notify the airline when booking your flight that you plan to travel with a dog.  Always try to book direct flights to prevent mix-ups with transfers and to make the trip as simple as possible for your dog.  You will also need to acquire a health certificate that indicates your dog is in good health and properly vaccinated; this is required by all airlines.

Some final tips for air travel with your dog:

  • Do not feed your dog for 12 hours before a flight to reduce the risk of air sickness.
  • Make sure to provide water for your dog during the flight.
  • Line the bottom of the carrier with shredded paper as it will absorb urine.
  • Mark the travel carrier with all relevant information: your home address, airport of origin, and your destination.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing and ID collar.
  • If your dog is on medication, make sure you pack enough medication to last through the holiday because the medication may not be available at your destination.
  • If your dog is on medication, put half of the medications in your checked luggage and the other half in your carry on in case either gets lost.

August 31, 2010

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog

Filed under: Traveling with Pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:48 am

While traveling with your dog is by no means impossible, you will need to be more organized and make the necessary plans for you and your dog to travel comfortably.  Traveling with any pet can be a lot of fun but if you’re not properly prepared the stresses sometimes outweigh the rewards.  You’ll need not only to plan the travel arrangements but also to plan for any kind of emergencies that may come up along the way.

First and foremost, make sure that your dog has a collar with the most recent information so your dog can be returned to you safely if he manages to get away.  Some pet owners have already had a microchip implanted on their dog to make it even easier to be reunited with a lost dog.  While this technology isn’t always necessary, many pet owners find peace of mind knowing that their dog can be easily identified in case of an emergency.

Beyond proper identification, you’ll need to make the travel plans.  If you are travelling by air, you need to carefully consider the health and safety of your dog.  While small dogs are sometimes allowed to fly in a pet carrier that stows under your seat, not all airlines allow it.  Furthermore, larger dogs will usually have to travel as cargo which is not an enjoyable experience for even the most relaxed dogs.  As such, you may want to consider other transportation alternatives.

Traveling with your dog by car is a more comfortable experience for your dog.  Especially if your dog has been crate trained, he will usually be fine on a long car journey as long as you make frequent stops for toileting.  Also, bring plenty of food and water whenever you are traveling with your dog.  Finally, if your dog tends to get car sick, be sure to cover seats and surfaces so they can easily be cleaned.  Many dog owners find it’s beneficial to practice short trips to acclimatize their dogs to traveling.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.