The Dos And Don’ts Of Pet Air Travel
Published on: November 11, 2015 | Author: Starwood Animal Transport
Hundreds of thousands of animals travel by air each year, to and from locations all around the world. The incidence of problems is extremely low. Nonetheless, pet air travel isn’t necessarily a simple procedure. If your pet is about to take to the skies, there are some dos and don’ts you should follow.
DO NOT make any assumptions.
Every airline has its own rules for pet travel, and every country has its own pet health requirements. Dogs and cats without the proper documentation – all of it – may not be allowed on board and will almost certainly face rejection, quarantine or other consequences when they arrive. This is the last thing you or your pet need.
DO NOT sedate your pet.
Although some airlines allow you to tranquilize pets prior to air travel (with a letter of permission from your vet), don’t do it. The American Veterinary Medical Association strongly recommends against it, and reputable pet shipping companies will not accept pets that have been sedated. That may seem counter-intuitive – after all, you want your four-legged friend to be as relaxed as possible under stressful conditions.
But the fact is, sedation puts your dog or cat at a significant disadvantage. Their mind is fuzzy, making them more confused and fearful, not less. And they have reduced muscle control, so they cannot move around easily or maintain their balance. That’s a safety problem. Your precious pup or kitty will be far better off if you take other steps to prepare them for their flying experience.
DO become a student of the process.
Read airline information, pet travel blogs, comments and testimonials from pet parents who’ve been there. Recognize that not everything you read will be accurate or up to date, but the more perspectives you get the better you will understand what’s involved with pet air travel.
Depending on your pet’s point of departure and destination, you may have quite a bit of choice regarding how she travels, or you may have little to none. If your pet has a snub nose – pugs, boxers, etc. and some cats – that will probably affect your choices. If she is a dog, her size may also limit your choices.
DO talk to your vet right away.
Assembling the required health certifications can take weeks or even months, if your dear pet will need additional tests, treatments or immunizations. You can’t afford to miss the timing deadlines, and of course you want to be sure your pet is fit to fly.
DO consult a pro.
There are two very important reasons to consider using a professional pet transport service:
- Arranging pet air travel is their only business. They are your most reliable source for accurate, up-to-date information. And thanks to their extensive experience you can get tips and advice you won’t find elsewhere to make your pet’s journey as smooth as possible. Besides, some airlines and countries require you to use a professional shipper.
- They have your back. As you’ll learn as you study up on pet air travel, there are many variables in play, some of which you cannot control. Whether you’re traveling with your pet or you’re waiting on the ground for your pet to complete her journey, once the process is underway you cannot be present to step in if needed.
What if her flight is delayed (a rare occurrence) or the weather changes at the last minute and she can’t fly (a common occurrence in some locations and seasons)? Your transport team is used to dealing with issues like this, and they’re also adept at arranging pet air travel to avoid potential problems
DO give yourself pet plenty of time to become familiar with their air travel carrier.
This is one of the most important things you can to do reduce her potential stress as she flies. Even if your dog is crate-trained, chances are she’ll need a different kennel for air travel – one that meets IATA standards for extra-sturdy construction so your precious cargo will remain safe, secure and comfortable. Your pet will be much less anxious riding in a kennel she recognizes as “hers” than in something she’s never seen or smelled before.
DO talk to your tax advisor.
Perhaps that sounds strange, but if your pet will be flying because you’re moving, her travel-related expenses are likely to be tax-deductible along with your other moving expenses. So ask about this before you make any decisions about how to handle your beloved pet’s move.
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