Pets on a Plane: Things to Know Before You Travel

112408mayor-01.jpgWe plan on taking our dog (aka Mayor) with us on a plane to Florida this week. While we've traveled with our cat before, we're thinking this trip might prove to be a little bit of a challenge (so we're doing everything we can to prep and avoid stressing out). Here are a few of the things we are doing before we travel with our furry friend later this week...

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Because we're not sedating our dog, we're a little nervous about him barking, howling, or just about anything that will cause us to stress out at 30,000 ft in the air. Here's a list of things to know before you travel with your pet in the main cabin (which we gathered from these two sites, Rules For Pets on a Plane and Pets On The Go).

  • Trim your pets claws. Because of the stress traveling will probably place on your pet, it's best to have the claws trimmed. That way, there's less chance of your pet clawing through the mesh netting of the carry-on (the mesh carry-on is a requirement). Also make sure the carry-on container will fit underneath the seat--which is where fido must be placed on take-off and landing.
  • If you can, familiarize your pet with its carrier before leaving home.
  • Your pet may be more comfortable if you place an old towel, blanket, or a familiar toy in the crate.
  • Try to book a non-stop flight but if you experience a layover (make sure you'll have enough time to take your animal outside to use the bathroom).
  • Do not feed your pet just before traveling due to the potential for an upset stomach during the flight. Give your pet frozen water or, if possible, some ice cubes that will melt slowly
  • Plan to check-in at the airport at least three hours before the flight departs (especially during the holiday season when the airports are the busiest).
  • Most airlines charge a fee for your pet to travel with you (ours is $100 each way). Some airlines don't even allow pets in the cabin (make sure to check before you book your flight). Almost every airline requires a reservation to bring pets aboard (and they usually have a limit of 3-5 pets per flight, not per-person).
  • Airlines also require that you get a health certificate from the vet within 10 days of your flight.
  • Tape a note on the pet container with all relevant information: name of the pet, age, destination and flight number just in case the crate is accidentally left by you somewhere because of anxiety from traveling with your pet.
  • Exercise your pet before leaving to help it relax and sleep.

Have you ever flown with your cat or dog before? Was the experience stressful or easygoing? Would you fly with your pet again?

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