Sometimes during the holiday season, leaving your cat with a friend just isn't an option, and puppy boarding can be expensive and inconvenient. The option you're left with is bringing your furry friend along for the ride. We've shown you how best to keep your pet happy on trains and buses and in cars, so here's our guide for the trickiest transportation of them all: air travel.
Air travel is widely regarded as generally unsafe for animals, especially if they're too big to ride in the passenger cabin and must go cargo. Extreme temperatures, stress, rough handling and other accidents can harm your pet. However, there are ways to reduce the risk as much as possible, as explained by The Humane Society.
In all cases:
• Have your pet get used to his/her carrier. Put them in for half an hour every day for a month before your departure.
• Label their carrier with all your information and final destination.
• Get them a collar with two IDs, one for your permanent info and another for your travel info.
• Make sure their accessories (collar, etc.) have no snag points where they could get caught on the hardware of their cage.
• If your pet is brachycephalic - also known as squished-in face - like pugs, bulldogs, and pekingese dogs or Persian cats, their breathing is already restricted, so they should never fly.
• Don't go it alone. Travelling with a pet is a handful, and going through security can be tricky if you have to deal with a stressed pet alone.
• Clip your pet's nails and bring their favorite toy and all the necessary restraining equipment like leashes, collars and harnesses.
• Carry a picture of your pet to show staff if they get lost.
• Consult a list of airline pet policies, like the one available on BringFido.
If your pet is cabin-friendly:
• Talk to the airline to find out if your pet will be allowed in the cabin and if there's a fee. Make these arrangements well in advance.
• Find out which carriers are approved by the airline, and buy one accordingly.
• Find out if your pet needs a particular immunization or health record.
If your pet is riding cargo:
• Don't feed your pet six hours prior to flying.
• Notify the pilot and a flight attendant that your pet is in cargo.
• Fly direct, and always make sure you'll be on the same flight as your pet.
• Get your pet out of the carrier as soon as you land, and if anything seems wrong, go straight to an emergency vet.