Putting a dog on an airplane can be a harrowing experience for you and your pup. It’s best to find another way to travel; however, if flying is your only option, take these ideas into account.
It’s important to make reservations for your dog and yourself at the same time. Most airlines have special pages on their websites to explain exactly what the rules are for flying with your dog. Read them carefully and leave enough time to visit a vet if necessary. Consider when the plane is scheduled to take off and arrive. If you’re flying across the country with your new certified German Shepherd puppies, for example, you will want to avoid flying in the heat of the day for the dogs’ comfort and safety.
Whether your fur baby is a teacup poodle or a Great Dane, it will need to be in an airline-approved crate or carrier. Small dogs can sometimes ride in their carrier under the seat in front of you. Larger dogs, obviously, will need to go in the cargo hold. Carefully label the carrier with all your contact information, the dog’s name and arrows pointing up. Write the words “live animal” in permanent marker on all sides.
Check the airline rules on vaccinations and leave yourself plenty of time to visit the vet. Make sure you get copies of all shot records. While at the vet, ask about whether a tranquilizer for your dog would be appropriate. Not all airlines allow it, but some vets recommend it because of the stress that goes along with flying.
Finally, check the animal quarantine rules for the state you are flying into. Hawaii’s extremely stringent quarantine policy, for example, makes getting your dog released to you directly at the airport possible but improbable. A year in advance of your travel date is not too early to investigate the restrictions at your destination.
Driving across country with a dog in the backseat can be challenging, but it may be preferable to putting your dog on a plane. Consider the hassle before proceeding.