Not many people really like to fly, and particularly not if they also have a pet that they want to take with them. A lot of airlines don’t allow you to take your pet, but some do. If they do, the requirements in terms of the pet carrier you can use are incredibly strict. So what should you do if you want to take your dog with you?
Check You Can Take a Pet
The first thing you have to do is speak to the airline carrier and ask about whether you can take a dog. You don’t want your pet to be put in the baggage compartment, as the pressure there, and the way luggage is handled, will lead to your dog coming out of the plane a lot worse for wear. So check not just if you can take a dog, but also how.
Get a Pet Carrier that Is Airline Approved
You have to make sure that you have the right pet carrier. Don’t assume that a carrier that is list as airline approved is good enough. Speak to the airline again and ask whether they have additional requirements. In fact, there are a number of different carriers, all of which are approved by some airlines, but not by others. These are:
- Enclosed hard sided carriers, which are the most commonly approved. They are basically a type of cage with hard plastic sides. Ventilation on three sides exist. The front is a grid with bars so that your dog can see you. They come in a range of sizes, usually with a carry handle, and you should be able to place it on a seat (you will need to buy a ticket for this), under your seat, or in the overhead compartment.
- Soft sided carriers, which are becoming very popular for owners of tiny dogs. They aren’t really enclosed, but rather allow the dog to sit inside it, usually with its head sticking around. These are rarely approved as an airline carrier, mainly because the dog won’t be fully restrained.
Preparing Your Dog
You also have to make sure that your dog is happy to stay in an enclosed pet carrier. Practice with them at home, so that they are used to the carrier and see it as a safe space. Do also make sure that you know exactly how long your flight is, and how you can cope with any necessary toilet breaks. After all, you cannot take your dog out for a walk when you are on a nine hour flight to Europe, for instance.
Make sure that you can include some food and water in the carrier as well. Place some puppy papers in the cage in case the dog has to relieve itself, and make sure you check these pads regularly so that you don’t cause a nuisance to other passengers. And do also place some toys or other form of entertainment in the pet carrier, but not one that has squeaky or other noises.