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Air Travel With Pets
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AIR TRAVEL TIPS
Traveling with pets does not have to be a nightmare.
Here are some thoughts from our staff (who have shipped a LOT of pets both internationally as well as domestically).
Buy an adequate, airline-approved carrier.
The Vari Kennels
are all airline approved although some international carriers will require that you drill
holes in the back side of the carrier as well as have the usual ventilation on the front
and sides. It's not hard to do.
Pets cannot ship in see-through metal kennels. They'd feel more
anxiety in those, anyway. The less they see the better they like it.
Many airlines require that the crate be tall enough for your dog to stand
up in a natural manner ie: the total height of the kennel be equal to or taller
than the total height of the dog. However, if it is too large, he can
be thrown from side to side and possibly injured more easily than if he is
in a crate that is just right.
Purchase your carrier at least two weeks before travel so your pet has
time to get used to it.
Give him chew treats and positive experiences at
home so he enjoys his time in the crate.
Have youre rabies certificate prepared in advance.
Most travel requires a valid rabies certificate (within 1 month to 1
years depending on your destination) and a veterinary health certificate within the past
10-30 days (again depending on the destination). The airlines should
be able to give you this information. If you can't get it from them, call the
consulate of the receiving country.
Some countries and US States have long, arduous, and expensive quarantine.
Hawaii, Great Britain, Australia, and other countries have up to 1 year.
Pets do not travel well on a full stomach.
Take away all food at least
12 hours prior to travel and water 4 hours before travel. (If you'd like
him to have a small amount of liquid to 'wet his whistle', fill his water
cup with water and freeze it. It will melt over travel time and give
him a small drink without spilling.)
He can also have a natural bone or rawhide chew to keep him busy
during the flight. Send a snugly toy with a young or particularly social pup.
Calmatives can help ease air travel.
If your pets are high strung or nervous, there are a couple of
all-natural calmatives or tranquilizers
that might help. You want him to be just drowsy, not asleep. Cats don't travel
as well as dogs sometimes. However, if you are going to use a calmative or tranquilizer,
experiment with it BEFORE you travel to be sure what the effect willl be. Cats
sometimes react just the opposite of the way you would expect.
Exercise with your pet if possible.
If your pet willl be traveling in the airline cabin with you, try to exercise
outside the airport before check-in and between flights. Don't feed
during the trip although a SMALL amount of water may be OK if the pet
willl be allowed to relieve himself at least every 3-4 hours. Take
paper towels or other clean-up materials in case he has an
"accident" inside the airport. Take a bottle of his home-bottled water.
Know where your pet is.
If the pet is Traveling in the cargo section, it is best if you
arrange for counter-to-counter service so you can check him in and pick him
up at the ticket counter with your luggage. If he is
Traveling without you, you willl probably have to leave him at the
Cargo area, but you should ask if you can drop him off at the luggage counter.
Expect that you willl need extra time for drop off or check in and
You can also expect that he may be sitting on the tarmac for an hour
or more before he is loaded into the belly of the plane and after he is unloaded.
The airline personnel will NOT open your dogs crate for any reason. If
you want them to water him during the flight (not much we hope), then
use the cups that come in the air travel package purchased at the same
time you purchase the crate. They can stick the snout of a water can
through the door mesh and fill his bowl.
We feel it is better to affix a water bottle to the inside of the crate
door with a few ounces of home water for your pet to lap during the flight.
That way you can give him a little moisture
but can control that he doesn't get so much that it fills his bladder and
makes him uncomfortable.
Your pet will be comfortable.
The cargo area of the plane where you pet travels is
temperature and pressure controlled, much like the cabin. He will be
fairly comfortable. It's the beginning and end of the trip
or during changes of planes that are the most stressful.
Choose a direct flight if at all possible! We can't stress this enough.
Especially if he is Traveling without you, changing planes can
be fraught with disaster--especially in airports as large as Dallas-Ft Worth.
Try to avoid any changes.
Anticipate weather conditions before planning your flight.
Pets are not allowed to travel when the temperature at either end of
their journey is too high or too low. This makes travel safer, but can
be inconvenient in Summer or Winter in some parts of the world. Plan
Be fully prepared.
Most airlines don't seem to like to handle pets, no matter what they say.
You must have your "ducks in a row" and do most of the work for them. If
you're prepared, both you and your pets willl be more comfortable, and
you'll minimize anxiety, frustration, and airline mistakes.
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