Lemme tell ya, if I hear just one horror story about a pet being lost on a plane, or dying of heat stroke on a hot day in a car without the windows rolled down, I’m the first person to have a total conniption!
Traveling with pets isn’t much different than traveling with children — you have to do a bit of research, understand the rules surrounding your method of travel, perhaps get them a few extra shots, etc.
This infograph offers a few great tips for traveling via air or ground with your pet. Particularly useful is the airplane tips, as I know some of you may not realize you can take Fluffy with you when traveling overseas, while still others might be shocked to learn that you won’t be able to have her sitting beside you or on your lap during the flight.
So yes, air travel is the biggest concern many of us have. Few pet owners I know have any reservations about car travel — though the pet car seat is something I’ve never considered (my fella likes to ride up front, sans-restrictions, but that can definitely be dangerous if you’re traveling busy roadways with the wacky last-minute-stopping, cut-anyone-off-they-please types that exist everywhere in the world.)
Airlines are a different matter. You want to include the airline’s pet-travel policies in your decision making process before settling on a set flight.
- All require a valid health certificate from your vet.
- You have to consider the shots required for entry to the city, state or country you’re heading to.
- Smaller airlines don’t allow pets on international flights.
- Most require you “check” your pet, which is akin to baggage to them, up to four hours in advance! This means plenty of prep time with your pet to make sure they’re comfy and that their bladder and bowels are empty.
- Then there’s the travel kennel. The pet has to be able to sit, stand and lie down without restriction. Water and food dishes must be included and fixed to the cage — most airlines require that the dishes be accessible to their employees, or you if the pet’s allowed in the cabin, without opening the cage.
There are tons of rules you need to be aware of. It’s also important to note that the incidence of pet deaths on airplanes is much higher than plane crashes are. Reputation is so important (see this article about Delta Airlines).
Don’t try to save money with “Option B” when “Option A” costs more but are notable for giving your pets the very best standard of care possible.
Flights are stressful enough for our pets and I’ll never fly with an airline that regards my pup as mere baggage. Hope you don’t either!
Main Image by Chris Scheufele