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Keep Your Pet Safe During Air Travel - Follow These 7 Rules

Published on: November 17, 2015  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

Keep Your Pet Safe During Air Travel - Follow These 7 Rules http://www.starwoodanimaltransport.com/blog/keep-your-pet-safe-during-air-travel-follow-these-7-rules @starwoodpetmove

The thing about air travel that most worries pet owners is the fact that you cannot control every detail. It’s likely you’ll have to hand over your beloved four-legged family member to strangers. Fortunately, pet-friendly airlines have special procedures to ensure cats and dogs stay safe while in their custody. Of course, there are still things you can do yourself to keep your pet safe during air travel.

Rule #1: Microchip your dog or cat.

For a pet parent, there are few fears worse than your precious pooch or feline escaping or getting lost. This can happen at home as well as on the road. A microchip is your best chance to recover your pet, should the unthinkable happen. It’s quick to administer, and not expensive.

The microchip is your pet’s unique identifier, linking them with your contact information. It is universally readable, regardless where you are in the world. For that reason, pets traveling internationally are required to have a microchip.

Remember, though, that the microchip is not a replacement for a collar and tags that also carry your pet’s – and your – personal information. It takes a special electronic device to read the chip, but anyone can read your pet’s tags.

Rule #2: Visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your pet’s safety starts with a clean bill of health so you know he’s fit to fly. Your pet’s age, general physical condition and even his attitude can affect his safety and comfort during air travel. If you’re traveling from one state to another, you’ll need proof of current rabies vaccination and a health certificate issued by your vet. If you’re flying out of the country (or to Hawaii), you’ll need additional documentation, and your pet may need additional immunizations, tests or treatments.

Rule #3: Choose a direct flight.

This isn’t always possible, but the less elapsed time your pet spends on air travel, the less stressed he will be. Multiple flights that require plane changes increase your pet’s “seat time” in their kennel, perhaps waiting on the tarmac where the weather might be less than ideal. A professional pet transport expert can help you make the most efficient flight arrangements for your pet, choosing the best airline as well as the best itinerary.

Rule #4: Consider in-cabin travel.

This isn’t always available, and it’s not possible for larger dogs, but riding in the cabin is sometimes considered safer for snub-nosed pets. Cats and dogs traveling in the cargo hold ride in a special area that is pressurized and temperature-controlled like the cabin, but at altitude pets with short snouts may still have more difficulty breathing.

Rule #5: Get your pet’s airline-approved kennel right away.

This will be your pet’s home away from home during his journey. You want him to think of this kennel as a positive, desirable space – a place that he recognizes as his. Buy it as soon as you can so he can become familiar with it. Never use it as a place for “time outs” or banishment. Instead, encourage your pet to play in it, eat treats in it, snooze in it – whatever it takes for him to get comfortable.

And speaking of comfortable, you’ll want to line the bottom of the kennel for travel with something soft and absorbent (in case of an accident). Use your pet’s own small blanket or a towel or T-shirt that smells like you to further reduce their potential anxiety.

Rule #6: Don’t forget the leash for your on-board pet.

Just because your pup or kitty will travel in their carrier under the seat in front of you doesn’t mean you do not need a leash. The last thing you want is for them to escape in the airport, and you’ll have to remove them from their carrier to go through security. You may also want to visit the airport’s pet relief area, especially if your itinerary involves multiple flights. So you’ll need a collar or harness plus leash.

Rule #7: Treat your pet to a pre-travel grooming.

Who doesn’t feel more comfortable when they’re freshly bathed? A bath might not make your pet safer, but it will make him happier. And a fresh nail trim will contribute to greater safety.

Hundreds of thousands of pets experience air travel every year, and mishaps are rare. Following these rules will help ensure your pet travels safely and comfortably, no matter where you’re headed.

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