Proper planning should always be considered when flying with dogs. For most of us, our dogs are our number one priority. We take them everywhere, sometimes even dressed up properly for the occasion. They’re members of our family and are treated accordingly. Our Papillons eat better and more regularly than we do. We keep them on a higher level than the (2) legged members of our family, in more ways than one.
This being said, when we have traveled, within the Continental US, we have taken them with us.
When we traveled from Atlanta to Maine, we were not only taking a puppy to my mother-in-law but we took our first (2) Papillon puppies, as well. This particular trip, took place (8) years ago. Now it’s a great deal more common, to have animals on a plane. It’s not that difficult, either.
Taking your dogs on vacation, can be a smooth adventure. You just have to plan in advance, be patient and go by the airlines’ rules. Some airlines are more pet-friendly than others. Some only allow service animals, to fly with them. Make sure, when you make your reservations, that you reserve a place for your pet. Try to get a non-stop flight. Airlines have different limits, on the number of animals that are allowed, in the cabin. They also charge you an additional $50 – $120, for your furry friend. Some airlines are offering frequent flyer points for your pet’s travel, which may help off-set your charges, a little. My (3) puppies were under 3 pounds each, so they considered them a litter. This particular airline had a (2) animal limit. Remember, this was a while back. They charged us $50.00, for the ‘litter’.
Some airlines only allow animals to travel, in the cabin. That’s great, if you are the one with the pet, sometimes, not so much for our fellow passengers. It’s necessary to keep your pets in their carrier, at all times.
One of my puppies started crying, mid trip, and it was another passenger that notified me that there was an issue. I took the carrier to the restroom and found that one of them had had an accident. Papillons are quite neat and this needed to be cleaned out, so that they could go back to sleep. They slept the rest of the way.
When we arrived, in Maine, we took the carriers to the restroom, proceeded to take each puppy out of it, one by one, put their polartec coats on each and placed them back in the carrier. The women standing in line for the stalls were amazed at how organized we were and enthralled with the Papillons, themselves. They had no idea that they had had these (4) legged passengers on board. If you’ve got a medium to large dog, then you’re out of luck, on a number of airlines. Your pet must be able to fit in a certain size crate and be placed under the seat, in front of you.
Typically, the airlines will consider your kennel as checked baggage and it will be put in the cargo area. For some flights, you may have to pay ‘high dollar’, to take your (4) legged family member, with you. Pricing can depend on the total number of pieces of luggage and your destination. These costs can range from $100 – $275.
Now that you have made your reservations, you need to do a few things and get some paperwork together, as well. Take your pet to get a veterinarian check up. While there, get a Health Certificate along with a copy of his vaccination records. If you have a snub-nosed cat or dog, you need to not only get an okay to travel by your vet, but some airlines will not allow these guys to travel on planes. It’s an altitude problem. If your airline does allow them to travel, ask your vet about medications that can help to open their nasal passages, which will in turn, help them to breathe easier at higher altitudes.
Have your dog microchipped , while there, as well. Whether you’re flying, driving or staying home, 3 out of 5 animals get lost. The price of having your animal microchipped is under $100 and the device is the size of a piece of rice. It’s injected under his skin and feels no worse than getting a heavy shot. Microchips give your pet a unique ID number that can be accessed, at any time throughout its life. Keep a harness on your pet and make sure that all of his tags have the most recent contact information, as well. This is especially helpful, if you have to remove your dog or cat from the carrier. Try to travel on the weekends. High traffic times are just like normal business rush hour traffic hours. This will keep things less stressful for you and thus pet. Do not feed your pet close to time of departure. There are no places for ‘potty breaks’, at the airport. Freezing water in a dish is the best way to handle him having anything to drink. Some veterinarians may offer a slight sedative, to help your pet be more relaxed, if there is no concern for your pet having a bad reaction to it. This is something that you may want to try, at home, first. The Humane Society frowns upon this. It’s imperative that you put pet’s information, flight and destination on the crate or kennel, whether he’s going in the cabin or cargo. There are also “Live Animal” and “This Side Up” stickers available that can always help remind the handlers that this isn’t just a piece of luggage.
When we go out of the country we miss our Papillons and always end up discussing how much fun that they could be having with us. When traveling with your dog, some incidents can’t be avoided and are beyond your control. Make sure that you have done everything possible, can help deter any additional issues. Again, proper identification, secure kennels and having an updated veterinary check up, can help to give you peace of mind. Flying, within the Continental U.S. does not have to be difficult. Just be prepared and take all precautionary measures. Give yourself a little extra time and everything will come together. It always has for us!