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If you have travelled by airplane with your pet before, you'll know how much preparation is needed before the big day. If you haven't, know that there is a lot to consider before you travel, to make sure that you and your pet arrive safely in your destination. Use our 10 tips for travelling by airplane with your pet as a basis for planning your trip and get started today.
1. Make sure your know (and have met) the destination countries requirements
Some countries require that you have a pet health certificate along with a passport, proof of blood tests, vaccinations and a microchip for identification purposes. If you don't meet the destination countries requirements, your pet will not be able to enter and in some cases will be quarantined upon arrival. Make sure you check you have met all of the requirements before you travel.
2. Don't feed your pet 6 hours before you travel
You know your pet best, so if they are a frequent traveller the chances are you know how strong their stomach is when they fly! However, if you aren't sure, it's best to refrain from feeding them 6 hours before they travel, to reduce the chances of travel sickness. In most cases it's safe to feed a small amount before you travelling, just don't over do it or risk an unpleasant journey for both of you!
3. Double check you have your pets passport and any other important documents
When you travel between countries with your pet, you will need a pet passport. The first stop is a visit to your vet, they should guide you through the process if you haven't already done this. They'll also be able to organise any vaccinations your pet needs (which need to be logged in the passport). In most cases your pet will need a rabbies vaccination and proof of a clean bill of health before entering another country. Make sure that you have these documents before you travel and keep them safe! Your pet cannot travel without them.
4. Consider your departure and arrival times
When you fly with your pet, take in to consideration your departure and arrival times. Will you need to leave the house when the day is at it's hottest, or will you need to arrive in your new country during the blistering heat. The last thing your pet needs after a long journey is to step off the plane in to a brand new climate, hot and bothered. Consider your flight times as a factor for making your pets journey less stressful.
5. Book flights with less or zero transfers
If your flight is long haul or you need to transfer at some point, search for flights that could take you there in one flight. For most flights that require a transfer, there s usually an alternative direct flight (usually at a much higher price). If you're willing to part with a bit of extra cash, it could save you the stress of transferring flights.
6. Will the airline allow your pet to travel as hand luggage?
Sometimes, an airline will allow your small cat or dog to travel as hand luggage in the cabin with you. Less and less allow this these days but it's worth a phone call to check unless you're told via their website otherwise. Special requests can sometimes be met. Travelling with your in the cabin can be much less stressful for your pet as they get to stay with their owner. Consider if this option would be better for you and your pet. One way of ensuring that your pet is travelling safely with you is via Private Jet Charter.
7. Plan your arrival and departure
Research the airport that you are departing from and arriving to. Do you know where the pet relief area is, do they have one? Will you need to make sure your pet toilets before arriving through security? Do you know the security procedure and will your pet be stressed during this procedure or are they relatively friendly with strangers? You'll need to plan your departure and arrival strategy carefully!
8. Pack essentials
- Travel water bowls (see the 5 best travel water bowls for dogs here)
- Airline friendly pet crate
- Travel food bowls
- Food and water
- Leash and harness (even for cats!)
- Pet ID tag with address and your details.
9. Label your pets travel crate
It's a good idea to label your pets travel crate with your name, destination (departure destination and arrival destination), pets name and your address. Include your telephone numbers and an extra for someone that could take a call back home as a back up. You could also carry an up to date photo of your pet, in case they get separated from you.
10. Travelling with a pet that isn't a cat or a dog?
If your pet is not a cat or a dog, there may be a whole other set of rules and regulations you'll need to abide by. For example, reptiles can't travel to certain countries, and if they can, you'll have to organise their trip way in advance to get them there safely. Prepare your trip in advance to avoid any delays in travelling with your pet and research accordingly.
Remember that some pets just aren't suitable for travel. It's not recommended that dog breeds such as Pugs and Chow Chows travel by airplane due to their restrictive air passage. They are very vulnerable to heat stroke and oxygen deprivation when in pet holds and hot countries. Always check with your vet that your pet is in good health to travel, way before your planned journey.
Have you had any experience with flying with your pet? Share your experiences in the comments...