As Melanie will discuss below, there are many factors during dog air travel that can lead to loss, injury -- and even death -- of your precious pooch if he is shipped in the belly of a plane. If you have absolutely no alternative form of getting your dog where you need to go, follow the dog air travel advice below by Melanie Monteiro. A lifelong dog lover, Melanie has been a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence, the national organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities.
In her continued quest to help dogs lead safe, healthy lives, Melanie went on to earn certificates in canine nutrition and pet first aid. She currently teaches pet first aid and disaster response courses for the Emergency Care and Safety Institute to pet owners throughout Southern California. Can you elaborate on this aspect of dog air travel?
If you make it past this hurdle, the airline must also assure you that their below-cabin area for dogs will be climate-controlled and pressurized. If not—find another airline. If, however, you have a small dog that passes muster to fly in the main cabin with you, congratulations!
Your only real concern is to make sure he has a reservation. What do you tell people on how to successfully prepare the crate for dog air travel? Next, type up instructions on a sheet of paper listing your name, flight number s , cell phone, emergency contact numbers and final destination.
Tape this to the top of the crate. If it will be a long flight, securely attach a small pack containing a baggie of kibble, small bottle of water, poop bags and leash to the back of the crate with duct tape in case of delay. Prepare the inside of the crate by making sure there are sturdy water and for longer flights food dishes attached. Line the crate with a kennel pad or other soft bedding, and place an old shirt with your scent on it inside to help comfort your dog.
Also prepare a couple of treat-stuffed Kongs or other durable treat-dispensing toys. No matter how well prepared the crate is, the dog must still feel safe and secure in it. What should pet parents do to acclimate their dogs to their crate prior to the day of flight in order to cut down on the anxiety level associated with dog air travel? This will help prepare him for being lifted, loaded, and transported on the plane.
Never use the crate as punishment! To get started, be sure the crate is appropriately sized, which is large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down in. Position it in an area of the house with a lot of activity, such as the kitchen, so that he still feels like part of the family, and place him favorite toy and an old shirt with your scent inside.
Sit on the floor next to the open crate and play with him, tossing his toys inside. Praise him whenever he enters the crate on his own.
Allow him to sleep in the crate in your room at night leaving the door open if he chooses. When introduced properly, most dogs love their crate and think of it as a safe, cozy den. What is your opinion on sedating dogs for dog air travel? This is quite a controversial topic! Also keep in mind that some airlines will not accept sedated pets. What, if any, health and medical certificates will the dog require during dog air travel? Each airline has different requirements, which may vary based on your final destination.
Being prepared will help prevent any unnecessary delays. The safety of our canine companion is the primary concern of any caring pet parent. Can you share some specific safety tips for dog air travel? Do not attach any tags or plan to use a chain or prong collar the day of the flight — these can get snagged on the wire door of the kennel, causing severe injury and even strangulation.
Bring a photo of you with your dog and keep it with you on the off chance the dog becomes lost, or you need to prove ownership. Bring an extra leash and keep it in your purse or carry-on. Have a back-up plan in place if, for any reason, your dog is refused at the airport due to a reservation snafu, extreme weather, etc. Be sure your dog is well exercised the day of the flight to help release pent up energy and anxiety. Allow extra time in your schedule for him to hydrate and eliminate before entering the airport.
Airport personal are key in ensuring a safe, comfortable flight for our beloved dogs. Suck up to everyone! Seriously, a smile, friendly attitude and good eye contact can go a long way towards making your concerns heard and motivating others to go out of their way for your dog. Bring two packets of goodies such as a sealed box of chocolates wrapped in cellophane on board, a few photos of your dog, and a note that says: Please know that on this flight you are carrying the most precious cargo in the world—my beloved dog insert name.
Please confirm that he is on board and that his area is safely pressurized and climate controlled. He means the world to our family and we appreciate your kindness. If you have time to chat with your flight attendant without disrupting her duties, ask her about any pets she has, and whether she has photos to share. Make yourself stand out in a positive way. That way if there are any delays or complications with the flight, your concerns for the well being of your dog may be addressed more quickly.
Small dogs, of course, can fly in the cabin. What special considerations should be given when carrying a dog on board an airplane? As you would with a larger dog flying below cabin, arrive at the airport early and give him a long walk to stretch his legs and relieve himself before heading inside.
Do not feed him within two hours of departure. If your little pooch is prone to anxiousness, consider a natural calming remedy such as Ultra-Calm Valerian cookies available at Drs. Foster and Smith or Rescue Remedy for pets alcohol-free formula.
Are there particular breeds that require extra caution when flying, or that perhaps should not fly at all? Any breed prone to breathing difficulties such as brachycephalic short head, snub nose breeds or those prone to stenotic nares pinched nostrils should not fly below cabin, as they are at risk for life-threatening heatstroke, respiratory and cardiovascular emergencies. Luckily, some of these dogs are small enough to fly in the main cabin.
A major concern would also be with elderly dogs, dogs with heart or lung conditions, and dogs with extreme anxiety. Understand that there may be instances e. This could potentially harm any dog, regardless or breed, age or state of health. What final advice would you like to leave people with when it comes to dog air travel? Unless, of course, you really have to. Fantastic Dog Air Travel Alternative: Pet Airways Pet-Only Airline Pet Airways offers a great dog air travel alternative to getting your precious canine where he or she needs to go -- without the risks of flying them in cargo.
Pet Airways is a "pet-only airline" no people allowed except the staff! For more information on Pet Airways' dog air travel services, including pricing and a complete list of locations serviced, visit the Pet Airways Web site. Your furry friend is relying on you, so when it comes to dog air travel, please remember that the safest alternative is always to keep your pet off of a commercial airline carrier and out of cargo completely.
There are far too many tragic losses that occur. Be sure that your pet is not one of them.