Bringing your furry buddy with you on an airplane trip can either be a walk in the park or one of the most unforgettable trips you have ever had–in a bad way. Unless your pet is a service animal, it’ll have to stay in the plane’s cargo area during the entire trip while locked inside a cage. As most pet owners know, dogs and cats don’t really like being cooped up in a cage for a long time. You’ll probably stress yourself out thinking about how your pet’s doing inside the cargo area. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make the trip less stressful for both you and your pet.
Give your pet the required shots
When travelling to certain countries, you’re required to take vaccine shots to make sure you don’t get diseases and bring them back home. The same goes for your pet, although in this case, it’s more of a recommendation than a requirement. If you’re travelling abroad, check with your local embassy if your destination country requires vaccines for pets. While at the vet, also have your pet checked for any medical condition that might cause problems during and after air travel. You don’t want your holiday to be cut short because your best buddy requires emergency medical attention. So for your peace of mind and your pet’s safety, make sure they have a clean bill of health before flying.
Get the right crate
Your pet will mostly be sleeping during the trip, so you need to get the right type of crate. Each airline will have its own set of crate size and requirements, but all of them follow the International Airline Travel Association (IATA) guidelines. The right type and size of cage should allow your pet to move around a bit and sleep snugly in its natural sleeping position. The crate doesn’t contain seat belts or restraints, so it shouldn’t be too big to prevent your pet from getting tossed around–you don’t want to end up with an injured animal on your way to a holiday. The crate’s material should also be strong enough to handle your pet’s size and weight. Pet stores do sell travel crates, but make sure that you get one that complies with the IATA regulations. Your best bet is to buy one directly from the airline or a pet travel company.
Make your pet cosy and comfy
While inside the crate, the last thing you want to happen is for your pet to panic and try to get out of the cage. On the day of the flight, take your pet for a walk to get rid of excess energy. It’ll get tired and just sleep most of the trip. Hours before flying, give your buddy a light snack and some water. Then let it go to the bathroom before getting inside the cage. This way, your pet is less likely to make a mess while inside the cage. Pets want security and familiarity, so line the crate with a clean rag that has your scent or throw in its favourite toy. Never put a muzzle, choke collar, or any tight-fitting accessory on your pet because this will prevent it from being able to stand, sleep, or sit comfortably inside the crate.
Make sure you’ve booked your pet’s flight along with yours well ahead of your date of departure. With enough preparation, you’ll be able to bring your pet with you without much fuss. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s all worth it when you see your buddy smiling and enjoying the holiday like there’s no tomorrow.