Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling by Plane

Air travel is not suitable for animals and should only be used if there are no alternatives and it is absolutely necessary. It is particularly dangerous for breeds with brachycephalic faces. This includes bulldogs, Persian cats and pugs. These breeds have an increased risk of heat stroke and oxygen deprivation due to having shortened nasal passages.

If possible you should always take your pet in the cabin with you. Most airlines will allow this for an additional fee, but there may be restrictions on pet size and the type of carrier allowed to be used. Ensure that you make all the necessary arrangements well in advance of your flight as there are also limitations as to how many animals can be taken in the cabin at one time. Speak to your airline to find out what their policy is on transporting pets.

Be prepared for security checks. Your pets’ carrier will still have to pass through security x-rays and you should be prepared to adequately restrain your pet whilst this happens.

If your pet is unable to fly in the cabin and you have no option to transport them in the cargo hold then you should be aware that many animals are lost, injured or killed when traveling this way. This is largely due to insecure crates, turbulence and rough handling, poor ventilation and extreme temperature fluctuations.

There are a number of steps that you can take to increase the chances of your pet having a safe flight in the cargo hold.

  • Always use direct flights where possible.

  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet where possible.

  • Carry a picture of your pet with you. If anything does happen it makes it easier to look for your pet and easier to prove that he is yours.

  • Do not feed your pet 4-6 hours before the trip to try and ensure that they do not need to evacuate their bowels mid-flight. Small amounts of water should be given to avoid dehydration.

  • Ensure that the captain and flight attendants are aware that there is at least one animal traveling in the cargo hold.

  • Ensure that your pet has identification, either by securing him with a collar and identity tag, or preferably a microchip.

  • Give your pet a thorough examination as soon as you arrive at your destination, and take him straight to a veterinarian if you are at all concerned.

  • Let your pet explore and get used to the carrier or crate in the weeks leading up to the journey.

  • Put your travel information along with your contact details on the side of the carrier or crate.

  • Try and choose flight times that will accommodate extreme temperature fluctuations. For example if traveling in summer when the weather is hot, try and travel in the evening when the temperatures decrease to a more comfortable level. If traveling in winter try and fly during the day when the temperatures are warmer.

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