Air Travel Tips: How to Fly with a Dog
Flying can be a hassle when it is just you and your travel partners to worry about so bringing a pet along adds a whole new dimension to air travel. But fret not, there are a few hard and fast rules that once you follow you will be able to fly anywhere with your dog.
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First things first, is it actually safe and healthy to bring your dog on a flight at the sort of altitudes it involves? Rest assured that it is safe for pets to fly with you but since they will clearly be out of their comfort zone, a smart rule of thumb to go by is not to take your dog on a flight unless completely necessary.
Another absolute must that your dog will have to meet is being comfortable around people and in crowded spaces. The last thing you want is for your dog to be running around barking at all the other flyers that you will soon have to share a plane with. This applies to dogs that will be flying in the cabin with you rather than those that will be kept in cargo.
Now that you have carefully considered these two important things, onto the logistics of actually flying with your dog. Many airlines have a limit on how many pets they will cater for on a flight so it is vital to book a flight as early as possible. This will guarantee your dog a spot in the cargo hold of the plane.
Also, many airlines allow you to carry a small dog into the cabin if it is able to fit in a suitable pet travel bag or kennel. This bag/ kennel must be able to fit under the seat in front of you as there is no other place you are allowed to place your pet during a flight.
For a dog to be accepted onto a flight, you will have to have up-to-date vaccination records, you are not allowed to feed your dog for 4 hours before a flight or give it anything to drink and do not tranquilize your dog as this is risky due to the pressurised cabin on board.
When it comes time to fly, you will have to arrive for check in as early as possible (3 hours is recommended) to allow the airline staff to get your pet on board. There are special rules in place for travellers flying with dogs which have been trained to assist passengers. For these type of dogs, it is best to contact your airline in advance of booking and inform them of the situation.