Becker Animal Hospital | Flying With Pets – How Can You Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy on Airline Flights?
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Flying With Pets – How Can You Keep Your Pet Safe and Healthy on Airline Flights?

Author: Dorothy Yamich

If you have plans to fly with your pet, you are part of a growing trend that has been increasing for the last number of years. Most airlines will charge a nominal fee to allow your small pet to accompany you, if it will fit into a FAA approved pet carrier that is small enough to stow under your seat. The following important info can help you keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy on airplane flights

When booking a flight, it is a good idea to make reservations for yourself and your pet as early as possible. You must let the airline know that you want to bring your pet with you. It is very important to tell them, as they will only allow a limited number of pets on each flight. Some airlines do not allow pets at all, especially on international flights. Always confirm your flight the day before you leave on your trip. If you are traveling internationally you need to confirm your reservation seventy-two hours before you go.

Before you fly into the wide blue yonder with your furry travel companion, you need to take him or her to the veterinarian for a checkup, to make sure he or she is healthy enough to travel. You will also need to take its health certificate with you, showing that your pet is up-to-date on all its vaccinations, including rabies. Your pet must wear its current vaccination tag when traveling. As well, your pet must meet the health regulations of every country that you will be traveling to. Bring along a copy of your pet’s medical records listing its allergies, chronic medical conditions, and medications.

If you haven’t done this already, you should have your pet micro-chipped. That way, if your pet is lost and taken to an animal shelter or vet, where its chip can be scanned, both can be reunited. Keep in mind your pet’s identification tag will have both your home address and phone number on it. That won’t be of much help if your pet gets lost when you are on vacation. It may be a good idea to get another tag made up that has your destination address and phone number on it. What happens if you pet isn’t found until after you’ve returned from your holidays? It makes sense that you should leave both your home I.D. tag on your pet as well as attaching the new tag. That way you’ll have all the bases covered and stand a better chance of being reunited with your pet

You should carry a picture of you pet with you when you travel. It will help you prove that you are the pet’s owner if any problems of ownership occur. Also, the picture can be used to make some flyers up to post in the area where your pet was lost.

Flying with pets that are too large to fit into a FAA approved pet carrier is not a good idea as they will be stowed in the cargo hold. Putting your pet in the cargo hold of an aircraft is very traumatic and dangerous to its health. It makes far more sense to leave your pet with a friend, or a pet sitting service while you are vacation.

The American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend sedating or tranquilizing your pet when flying, especially dogs. Dogs regulate their body temperature when they pant, so when they are tranquilized or sedated, they may not be able to pant. If this happens, it may leave them defenseless against the fluctuation of air pressure and temperature that occurs in the cargo hold of every flight. Also, keep in mind that pets do not enjoy flying, or being locked up in a cramped kennel and left alone in a dark and desolate cargo hold. It must be very terrifying for them.

There are a lot of websites that give additional valuable information in regards to traveling with your pet. Two excellent sites are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at, and the Department of Agriculture at, which has a great article entitled, Traveling With Your Pet.

If you want a great travel carrier for your small pet, you may want to consider the popular, FAA approved pet carrier, Sherpa On Wheels. This Cadillac of pet carriers can be a luxurious and comfortable home for your pet while flying. It has the convenience of a front and top entry, mesh ventilation panels, recessed wheels, as well as a detachable pull handle and a shoulder strap. It is available on line at

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About the Author

Dorothy Yamich has a passion for travel. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe as well as traveled in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. She is a travel consultant and specializes in luxury cruises as well as vacation packages. To quickly find and book cheap airfares, at the best price possible, every time you feel like traveling, visit Travel Tips Guide, for more information.