Unless you own a private jet, flying with your dog doesn’t mean booking her a seat next to you on the flight, unfortunately.
You might want to take your dog on holiday with you. If it’s a family vacation, why should your pet miss out? Or it might be that you’ve fulfilled that dream of a property abroad and you’re off to live in sunnier climes.
Some dogs shouldn’t be taken on flights at all—puppies under six months, very old or ill dogs or pregnant bitches. If your dog is easily stressed and/or clingy, then putting the dog on a plane might not be wise.
Flying with a dog isn’t easy, but many people have done it. Here’s what you need to know.
Firstly, you should check out the travelling requirements for your destination. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) can tell you about what other countries ask of you when it comes to bringing in dogs.
Let your airline know. They will tell you what needs to be done, and when you should check your dog in, etc. Make sure you buy a suitable travelling crate that meets their recommendations. As your pooch will be spending some time in that box, buy it well in advance so he can get used to it ahead of the flight.
Buy food bowls and water canisters that don’t spill – i.e. ones that can be attached to the front of the crate.
Check with your vet if your dog needs vaccinations for the country you’re heading for. Some countries ask for health certificates for the dog, so get one from your vet if necessary.
On the day of the flight, arrive at the airport in plenty of time. Feed and walk your dog earlier in the day. It’s a good idea to withdraw food a few hours beforehand to prevent travel sickness.
Check the information on your dog’s ticket matches that on yours exactly. Attach a luggage tag to the dog’s collar that says your destination. The label on the container should state the dog’s and the flight information. Make sure your pet has enough food and drink, and give instructions about feeding him to the travel carrier.
Your vet can give you sedatives for the dog, but you need to talk this option through as sedative use might not be a good idea. If you decide to give your dog sedatives, make sure they are ones you have tried on him successfully before.
If you have an assistance dog, he or she can travel with you in the cabin, and you do not need to pay for the dog’s flight. The travel provider needs to know in advance, however, and the same rules about making sure your dog is vaccinated/the requirements for other countries still apply.
PetAir website offers plenty of information on different destinations.