The pet travel season is right around the corner. The time to prepare is now. Here are some basics to travel with a pet by car or air.
Travel by Car: If this is Fido’s first car ride, don’t start with a long journey. Start off slow, particularly with an errand that doesn’t involve you leaving the car (Ex. Drive-up bank teller). Running errands with your dog in the car is also a good way to teach him/her every car ride doesn’t have to end up at the veterinarian, groomer, or boarding kennel. Always remember to keep your dog secure in the car with a pet safety harness or cargo crate. For longer journeys, plan to stop every 3-5 hours to let your dog stretch the legs and do its “business.”
Travel by Air: Let your pooch familiarize him/herself with an airline crate or in-cabin carrier on its own. Never force them into a crate or carrier. Also, it is very important NOT to use these travel tools as “scolding mechanisms.” Don’t give your dog the impression that this is where he/she will go for timeout.
If you’re pet is flying in a cargo crate: If you didn’t purchase metal hardware for your crate, this would be a wise investment. More and more airlines are requiring metal hardware over plastic fasteners. A small investment will give you assurance that your pet will not break through the crate and become missing. Although it rarely happens, nobody wants to lose their pet this way. Better safe than sorry.
Start off by leaving a favorite towel, toys, etc. in the open crate for your pooch to explore. In time, close the door and take Fido on various trips in the car. This will help simulate the air travel process as much as possible. Please remember, water is extremely important for a pet traveling by air. Since you won’t be able to check mid-flight, please make sure your pooch stays hydrated with spill-proof water, a crate water bottle, or a cage crock prior to take-off.
If you’re pet is flying in an in-cabin carrier: No matter what in-cabin pet carrier you choose, make sure your pet will fit in it. Your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. The number one reason pets get denied at the gate is improper sizing. Most airlines have an 8-9” maximum height requirement for under the seat, so consider a flexible carrier. If you’re pooch is over 11 inches and weighs over 15 pounds standing on all fours, he/she is more than likely traveling in a cargo crate. Also, however tempting it may be, do NOT remove your pet from its carrier. A loose pet in the cabin can be very unpleasant for everyone.
Following just a few common sense rules about traveling with a pet can make the trip safer and happier for you both. For more information on traveling with a pet, see our website, pettravel.com