Visit Your Veterinarian First:
One of the first things you’ll need to do before taking off is visit your veterinarian, especially if your pet has never traveled or if he or she has any health concerns. If you’re flying with your pet, you’ll need this checkup to make sure your furry companion is healthy and good to go.
If you suspect your pet may become afraid, anxious or uncomfortable mid-flight, this would be a good time to talk with your veterinarian about ways to keep him or her relaxed.
Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure.
You may also need to obtain your pet’s health and vaccination records. If you're traveling outside the country, find out what vaccinations your pet will need and if quarantine is required.
Some airlines will require an acclimation certificate in order to allow your pet travel. This is a statement signed by your veterinarian that will waive the low temperature Federal Regulation as stated in the Animal Welfare Act. If the airline cannot guarantee the animal will not be in temperatures lower than 45°F (7.2°C) for more than 45 minutes when the animal is moved between the terminal and the plane, or for more than 4 hours when the pet is in a holding facility, and you don't have an acclimation certificate, the airline will not let your pet fly. Acclimation certificates are written at the discretion of the veterinarian, and are based on the veterinarian's assessment of the pet's health.
When flying with your pet consider all your airline options and book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
Regulations and fees vary depending on airlines and whether your pet flies in the cabin or as checked baggage.
Purchase a kennel that has room for your pet to turn around and stand without hitting its head. If your pet hasn't traveled before, spend some time getting the animal used to being in the carrier. Airlines have different crate dimension requirements, but the USDA requires the following: food and water dishes, "Live Animal" stickers, upright arrows and bedding. It’s a great idea to freeze a small dish of water to place in the kennel in order to help prevent spills and keep your furry bud hydrated.
Exercise! Before the flight, play with your cat or take your dog for a walk. The more tired your pet is, the more likely he or she is to sleep during the trip.
Update their ID tags and attach contact information to both your pet's collar and its carrier.
Tell every airline employee you encounter—on the ground and in the air—that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they'll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed.
Hiring a Pet Sitter:
For some pet parents, a trip isn’t nearly as fun if their four-legged family members can’t come along. However, some breeds don't travel well in cargo, such as snub-nosed dogs like pugs, which are prone to breathing difficulties. If your pet is very young, very old or not in good health, it may be best to leave them at home and in the care of a trusted pet sitter. These days, there are several credible companies that can help you find a friend for your pet while you’re gone.
It’s still a good idea to visit your veterinarian before you go to ensure everything is in order with your pet’s health. If your pet is on regular medications, or has prescription diet needs, we suggest you place those items on AutoShip through your veterinarian’s online store in order for them to be delivered to your home while you’re traveling. You can also set your flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives to be shipped directly to your house in single doses, so they arrive on the day your sitter needs to apply them. This way, you can rest assured knowing your pet’s medications and dietary needs are taken care of while you’re away.
Download our Petsitter W.A.G. information and contact sheet to have everything in one place for your sitter.
Remember, you’re your pet's advocate. Always choose what’s best for them in the long run. Take the time with your veterinarian to discuss the best option.
From us to you, happy trails!