VETERINARY VIEWPOINTS: Flying with pets

The holidays are coming, which means some pet owners will be traveling with Fluffy or Fido. If you plan to fly with your pet, here are some helpful tips from DVM360 Magazine and the Humane Society.

Research the airline of your choice to learn what airline specific rules they have regarding pets.

Are there breed, size, destination, and time of year restrictions for the cabin and cargo area?

What types of carriers and kennels are allowed and how should they be labeled?

What items are not allowed in your pet’s kennel? You may not be able to send your pet’s favorite toy.

What are the health certificate requirements and feeding instructions prior to boarding?

What information must be on your pet’s collar?

When you make your reservation, let the airline know you’ll be bringing a pet. If you want your pet to travel in the cabin, the earlier you book one of those limited spots, the better.

Give your pet at least a month to become familiar with the carrier or kennel you plan to use while traveling.

If you plan to bring your pet in the cabin with you, make sure your pet does well in a carrier for four to six hours. You won’t be popular with other passengers if your pet can’t be calm and quiet for that long.

If you know your pet is a poor traveler, talk with your veterinarian about safe sedative options before your trip.

Make sure the transportation you arrange at your destination can accommodate your pet and its carrier or kennel. Also make sure your destination accommodations are pet friendly.

Healthy pets make the best travelers. Take your pet to the veterinarian for a wellness exam and pick up any required health certification documents the airline requires within 10 days of your trip. Tell your veterinarian where you are traveling as your pet may need to be given preventive medicine or even a vaccine to protect it from diseases that aren’t a concern at home but are common at your destination.

Every airline is different. Don’t assume what worked with airline A will work with airline B. Rules can change over time so make sure you do your homework and have the most current information.

Keep a recent photo of your pet with you when you travel. If your pet becomes lost, it will be easier for airline staff to locate your pet if they know exactly who they’re looking for.

Finally, be proactive. Find a 24-hour emergency clinic in your destination city and store its number and address in your phone. That way, if your pet becomes sick or injured, you will have the information at your fingertips ready to use.

Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital. Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.

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