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Air Travel Checklist for Dogs

If you are planning a long-distance relocation with your dog, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into transporting a dog by plane, and many different requirements and regulations which must be met before you and your dog can fly. Adhering to the following checklist can help to ensure a safe and comfortable plane trip for your pooch and a relatively stress-free experience for you as a pet owner.

  • Choose a Pet-Friendly Airline: Though many airlines will carry pets, not every airline makes pet safety and comfort a primary concern. Some good options for pet-friendly airlines are United, KLM, and Lufthansa. These airlines have established pet policies and often have temperature-controlled facilities and specially-trained personnel who handle the transportation of your dog between the plane and airport(s). Research airlines well in advance of booking a flight in order to familiarize yourself with pet fees and policies, and to help you make an informed decision about which carrier best meets your pet transport needs.
  • Breed-Specific Regulations: Many airlines place embargoes or restrictions on snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds such as pugs and bulldogs. Because these breeds often have breathing difficulties and have trouble regulating their body temperature, owners are discouraged from flying them during summer months, and special requirements are usually in place. If your dog belongs to this category, it is best to directly consult your airline and ask what they allow. Snub-nosed breeds will need room in their crates to guarantee proper ventilation and reduce the risk of respiratory problems during air travel.
  • International Requirements: If your dog is flying internationally, you will have to adhere to country-specific pet import requirements. These vary from country to country, and often include various health checks and certifications which must be completed within specific time frames. Because meeting these requirements is often a lengthy process, it is best to start planning your dog’s trip well in advance.
  • Make Arrangements on Each End of the Flight: If your dog is flying solo, be sure to arrange ground transportation to and from the airport(s). Your dog will need to be delivered to the airport of departure and retrieved from the destination airport. If you cannot handle this personally, consider hiring a company which specializes in transporting pets. Alternatively, consider a door-to-door service which will take care of ground and air transportation of your dog.
  • Travel Crate: Once travel arrangements have been made, the most important aspect of your dog’s air travel is the crate in which he will be traveling. Your dog will need an airline-approved travel crate regardless of whether he will be traveling with you in the plane cabin or alone in the cargo hold. Your dog’s size and weight will determine where on the plane he will travel—only the smallest of dogs can fit under an airplane seat, so most will be required to ride as cargo. Choosing the right size crate is essential to your dog’s safety and comfort, so check out this guide to ensure you purchase the correct size. Once you have your crate, be sure to crate-train your dog as far in advance as possible in order to reduce anxiety during travel and make sure that he is comfortable. Finally, make sure your crate is equipped with water cups and absorbent bedding, as these are required in order to fly.

Bringing your dog with you when you go abroad requires extensive planning, preparation, and patience. Though many owners choose to arrange their pet’s travel themselves, others choose to forgo the hassle and hire pet moving specialists who handle door-to-door moves. Either way you choose to transport your dog, following the above tips will keep your pet safe and comfortable.



Air Travel Checklist for Cats

Planning a long-distance relocation can seem daunting, especially when you are bringing your cat along with you. Unlike humans, cats can’t just purchase an airline ticket and grab a seat on the plane. Rather, there are many regulations and requirements concerning pets and how they can travel via air transport. Coordinating a pet move requires a lot of preparation, but following this checklist can help to ensure that your cat will travel comfortably and safely, and that you will have peace-of-mind putting your feline friend on a plane.

  • Choose a Pet-Friendly Airline: Though many airlines will carry pets, not every airline makes pet safety and comfort a primary concern. Some good options for pet-friendly airlines are United, KLM, and Lufthansa. These airlines have established pet policies and often have temperature-controlled facilities and specially-trained personnel who handle the transportation of your dog between the plane and airport(s). Research airlines well in advance of booking a flight in order to familiarize yourself with pet fees and policies, and to help you make an informed decision about which carrier best meets your pet transport needs.
  • International Requirements: If your cat is flying internationally, you will have to adhere to country-specific pet import requirements. These vary from country to country, and often include various health checks and certifications which must be completed within specific time frames. Because meeting these requirements is often a lengthy process, it is best to start planning your cat’s trip well in advance.
  • Make Arrangements on Each End of the Flight: If your cat is flying solo, be sure to arrange ground transportation to and from the airport(s). Your cat will need to be delivered to the airport of departure and retrieved from the destination airport. If you cannot handle this personally, consider hiring a company which specializes in transporting pets. Alternatively, consider a door-to-door service which will take care of ground and air transportation of your cat.
  • Travel Crate: Once travel arrangements have been made, the most important aspect of your cat’s air travel is the crate in which she will be traveling. Your cat will need an airline-approved travel crate regardless of whether she will be traveling with you in the plane cabin or alone in the cargo hold. Your cat’s size and weight will determine where on the plane she will travel—only very small cats can fit under an airplane seat, so most will be required to ride as cargo. Choosing the right size crate is essential to your cat’s safety and comfort, so check out this guide to ensure you purchase the correct size. Once you have your crate, be sure to crate-train your cat as far in advance as possible in order to reduce anxiety during travel and make sure that she is comfortable. Finally, make sure your crate is equipped with water cups and absorbent bedding, as these are required in order to fly.

Bringing your cat with you when you go abroad requires extensive planning, preparation, and patience. Though many owners choose to arrange their pet’s travel themselves, others choose to forgo the hassle and hire pet moving specialists who handle door-to-door moves. Either way you choose to transport your cat, following the above tips will keep your pet safe and comfortable.