Dog on an airplane

It is hard to leave your furry friends behind when you jet set off on your next holiday. If you cannot seem to part with your beloved pets, here is a list of travel hacks for bringing them on your flights.

Book early

Many airlines are pet friendly, but only for a few dogs at a time. So If Fido is tagging along on your next holiday, it is important to book his ticket as soon as possible. Don’t buy your ticket until you have called the airline and confirmed that there is still room for your pet on the flight, and find out if they are allowed in the passenger cabin or if your pet will be put in the cargo hold so you can plan accordingly.

Arrive ahead of time

Try to fly during the weekday when the airports are typically less hectic, especially if your animal is playful and is easily distracted by other people. Also, give yourself plenty of time before boarding the plane and arrive early. Most airlines recommend arriving two hours before your flight when travelling with a pet.

Fly direct

Many airlines that do allow pets on their flights are unable to guarantee that your pet with be placed onto your connecting flight with no problem. To make things a lot easier for you and your pet, book a non—stop, direct flight. Also, if your pet will be travelling in the cargo hold, book a flight for early morning or late at night if you are flying during the summer, and if you are going on holiday in the winter, aim to fly mid-day to avoid extreme temperatures.

Buy a carrier

If an airline allows you to bring your pet into the cabin, then your pet carrier must be small enough to be towed away and will be treated like any other carry—on. Even if you pet will by flying in the cargo hold, they are still required to travel in a carrier. Also, since your pet will be in the carrier the majority—if not the entire duration—of the flight, then it is crucial for the carrier to be large enough for the animal stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

Show your ID

Just as people must travel with forms of identification, so must your pets. Keep their tags on them and make sure the tags are up to date with your current phone number and residence. Write the pet’s name and your information on the outside of the carrier as well. Finally, make sure you include the information of someone who can be reached at your destination in case you are unable to use your cell phone wherever you are going.

Eat and drink

Feed your pet hours before the flight so they have time to fully digest and go for one last pre—flight walk. While you do not want your pet travelling on a full stomach, you should continue to give him or her water right up to the time of travel. And, if possible, leave the bowls inside the carrier if your animal will be stored in cargo so that an airline employee can provide your pet with food and water in case of any extended delays.

Visit the vet

Airports and airplanes are germ pools for humans and animals alike. Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a check-up and to ensure all vaccinations are up to date. You will most likely need a health certificate from your vet dated within 10 days of departure, and if you are travelling internationally, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Check with your airline or the foreign office of the country you are travelling to for more information.

Arrive smoothly

Once you have arrived at your destination, take your pet out of their carrier as soon as possible. Go for a long walk with your dog before you check-in at your hotel or hop in the car to get to your destination quickly. Give your dog some time to sniff around and get used to their new surroundings, and make sure you spend some time playing with your pet once you land. You are not the only one who gets anxiety about flying; the flight is just as stressful for your pets.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Can Do Canines; cropped from original