5 Steps to Stress Free Airline Travel with Your Dog

Airline travel with your dog can be extremely stressful.  And as we all know, dogs are intuitive and feed off our energy.  The stress not only affects you but can also affect your best friend.

And if you are travelling with a puppy, then you may experience even more stress.

Airplane travel can be especially unsettling because of delays, long lines, security checks and the loud noise of the airplane. However, there are times when traveling with your BFF is inevitable. Prepare before you go so your dog or puppy can be as comfortable as possible while traveling.

How To Fly With Your Dog Stress Free

Step One:

Before you set out on your journey contact your airline and tell them you will be traveling with a dog. Most U.S. airlines let you carry small dogs in the cabin with you for a fee. Some airlines, such as Delta, require you to make an advance reservation for your dog. Other airlines, such as American Airlines, do not require reservations but only allow a certain number of pets on each flight, typically on a first-come, first-served basis.  So, it is important to contact them as soon as you make plans for your trip.

Step Two:

Make sure to book a direct flight if possible. This will limit the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.

Step Three:

Purchase a carrier for your puppy that can fit underneath your seat. Ask the airline for carrier recommendations. The majority of airlines count this carrier as your one piece of carry-on luggage. Most airlines require your dog to be no more than 15 or 20 pounds and at least eight weeks of age.

Step Four:

Take your dog – no matter its age –  to the veterinarian for a check-up. Most airlines require your dog to have a health certificate signed by a veterinarian within 10 days of your flight. You also must have proof of rabies vaccination. If your dog is a short-nosed dog, such as a bulldog, special care should be taken to make sure the temperature on the plane and outside of the plane is within a comfortable range for the dog. Your vet also can prescribe anti-anxiety medicine if you feel your dog needs it for the flight.

Step Five:

Feed your dog and give him water within four hours of travel time on the day of the flight. Federal regulations require you to sign a confirmation-of-feeding document certifying that you gave your dog food and water within four hours of boarding. Let the flight attendant know you are traveling with a pet, and make sure the temperature is comfortable at your seat.

Happy travels!