Tips: Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety When Traveling By Plane

There may come a time when you feel you have little alternative than to ship a dog by plane.  Perhaps you are a breeder or have just purchased a dog from a breeder in another state.  Perhaps you are making a long-distance or even overseas move.  Whatever your reason, the prospect of sending your dog by plane has raised some very legitimate concerns.

There are a few precautions you can take to hopefully ensure his safety while in the hands of the airlines.  The first, of course, is to communicate with the airline carrier.  Find out their policies regarding transporting animals and the precautions they take. In addition to that, there are a few things you can do on your end to help.

Before the Flight

Your pet will be traveling in a crate so you will want to be sure that crate is well labeled.  Include your name, address and phone number in case of any mishap or medical emergency.  Also make sure he has plenty of water available. This is especially important in warm weather as the dog will be traveling in the baggage compartment. A little kibble and his favorite toy would be a comfort to him as well.

If your dog tends to be anxious in new situations, you might also consider asking your vet for a tranquilizer of some sort to help him through what can’t help but be a traumatic experience for him.  Generally, the airline personnel are very good to their traveling canine guests.  It’s not unusual for them to visit and pet them en route.  Still, a little extra something to keep him calm may be in order.

The airlines have strict rules regarding traveling pets.  They will not, for instance, allow them to travel in conditions of extreme heat or cold.  So, don’t even think about shipping your pet in the extreme heat of the dog days of August / December!

Overseas Travel and Quarantine

There is even more to consider if you are taking you dog out of the country. Some countries impose a quarantine period to ensure an animal does not bring undesirable diseases or parasites into their country. This can be a trial for both you and your dog.  But in some cases it is also unavoidable.  Expect a lot of paperwork for international travel.

Pet Shipping Services

There are actually companies that specialize in shipping pets.  Their expertise and experience go far in ensuring your pet a safe journey.  But this expertise comes at a cost.  We’ll leave it to you to decide if your peace of mind and your pet’s comfort and well-being are worth such a cost.  You might also consider a pet chaperone.  If your dog is a smaller breed, he may be allowed to travel in the cabin with the other passengers in a crate, of course.  You will need to bone up on the rules for this option as well.

By paying attention to the things we have mentioned and doing your research ahead of time, the stress of shipping your dog can be kept at a minimum.

Mark Mansfield

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