If your dog is anything like me, they love to travel. They enjoy the wind in their face on a long car ride, smelling new smells, peeing on new trees, and eating new foods that fall on the ground. If you’re new to flying with your pup, you might be nervous before, however, if you follow these 7 tips, rest assured you will feel much better about the flight and can enjoy that in-flight cocktail stress free.
1. Make sure your furry friend is the right size and weight to fly:
We need to be comfortable in our bags underneath the seat. The airline websites will give you their bag size requirements. They often say the weight limit is 20 pounds, but for a stocky, heavy dog like me, I can fit comfortably in the sherpa (See #4) when some 20 pound dogs won’t.
2. Contact the airline:
Most airlines have limits to how many pets can be in the cabin. Make sure you call right when you book your ticket to assure your pup has a spot. Pet-in-cabin prices vary per airline and you will need to pay when you arrive at the airport.
3. Paperwork & Certificates:
When flying domestic, your dog won’t need a health certificate. However flying to Hawaii, Alaska and internationally you will need a health and/or rabies certificate, along with any other documents they may require. Check the country’s guidelines for importing animals to make sure you have all the right paperwork. Also, if you are traveling internationally, give yourself plenty of time to get the documents, because sometimes they take a long time to receive.
4. Find the right “Sherpa”:
These bags come in all shapes and sizes. My bag is from Petco and is the Delta brand. Finding a Sherpa that is branded establishes credibility with the airline that you are following their rules. Like I said, I am a little over the weight limit, (too many treats, don’t judge), but I still fit comfortably and they have never even taken a second look. If your dog has never been in a carrier before, practice on a few car rides and at home so it doesn’t seem so strange come travel day. Pets have to stay in their carriers for the duration of the flight so you want to make sure they are used to it.
5. Prepare us a bag of travel essentials:
My mom always packs a bag that includes 2 piddle pads (just in case), napkins, poo-poo bags, calming treats by Pet Naturals, my favorite snacks, prairie dog antlers, my favorite stuffed toy, and blanket. The calming treats make me sleepy, and we learned you can never have too many. For example, one time my cat brother and I ate the entire bag and we were both completely fine, but very sleepy.
6. Check out your connections:
Connections are perfect for potty breaks. Some airports have pet restrooms. My favorite dog potty is in Detroit (DTW), it’s large and conveniently located in the middle of the terminal. Don’t stress if your connection doesn’t have a pet relief area, that’s what the piddle pads are for. We go into the “family restroom” and lay one down so we have some privacy, otherwise I try to run underneath all of the stalls in the hooman restroom. The hoomans don’t seem to appreciate that.
7. Exercise, exercise, exercise:
I love the day before we fly because I get to go to doggy daycare so I am extra sleepy when we get on the plane. We usually take red-eye flights so I sleep during my normal bedtime. If you can’t get to a doggy daycare, your favorite form of exercise should be just perfect! It will also allow your doggy to do his business before you get on the plane.
- Flying with dogs is easier than you think. In fact it’s easier than flying with some hoomans. If you have any other questions about flying or traveling with your pet, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org ATTN: Henri – I would love to hear from you!