Travel And Flying With Dogs On An Airplane

Traveling and flying with dogs on an airplane can be tricky unless you know the tricks of successful travel with your pet.

Everyday more and more people are choosing to travel with their pets rather than leaving them home. Our dogs are part of the family and we want what is best for them. With that in mind many of us choose to take our pets with us when we travel.

Several years ago it was almost unheard of to see a dog traveling by airlines. In almost any airport in the country these days you will see someone with their dog in tow. Times have changed and so has our way of thinking but has airline travel changed for your dog?

Before setting your travel plans in stone you first need to check with your airlines for any restrictions on your dog. Not every airline can, or will accomodate travel for your dog. It is important to find out which airlines will and what policies are in place for that airline.

Most airlines will only allow one dog per person. If you have more than one dog per person then you must actually purchase a seat for the other dog. This applies only to small dogs under fifteen pounds. Any dog over fifteen pounds must be transported in the cargo area.

Small dogs do not pose too many problems when it comes to airline travel. Smaller dogs usually will remain with you during your flight. You will also be responsible for hand carrying a smaller dog into the plane. Any larger dogs will be riding in the cargo section of the plane and handled by airline personel.

The carrier for your smaller dog is important. Airlines adhere to strict codes concerning the size and type of carrier for your dog. For any dog under fifteen pounds the airlines require the following:

(1) Your carrier may be a hard plastic carrier, metal, or a carry on soft sided one.

(2) The carrier must have adequate ventilation on three sides.

(3) The carrier must be leakproof.

(4) The carrier must be able to fit under the airline seat and be no larger than seventeen inches in length, sixteen inches in width, and ten and one half inches high.

This sized carrier is acceptable for any flight but would be considered to large for a flight on a small jet, or prop plane. In the instance where you would be taking a prop plane or small jet, your carrier can be no larger than fifteen inches in length, sixteen inches wide, and ten and one half inches high. The difference in the two inches in length is because the space between seats on the smaller planes means that a larger carrier will not fit under your seat.



You will also need to remember that no one rides free, even your small dog. Airlines will charge between fifty dollars and one hundred and fifty dollars for your pet to travel with you. Keep in mind also that airlines have strict rules concerning how many dogs can travel on any given flight. Be sure to check with the reservations desk when booking your flight and inquire if any animals are boarding on the flight you book. This will alert the reservation person and in turn not get you bumped off a mis-booked flight.

For larger dogs similar rules apply.

You are responsible for the container, or crate that your dog will travel in. It must have at least three well ventilated sides and the crate must be made of hard plastic or metal.

Most airlines will only book two large dogs to ride in cargo at any given time. Be sure to check with the reservation person and verify that your dog will be traveling with you on this flight.

Having a checklist to refer to will save you time and trouble. There are several things you will need to do before embarking on your travels.

Try to always book a straight through flight. This will not only keep the stress level down on your pet but will also lessen the chance of the loss of your pet.It is best to avoid peak travel times. This will allow the flight attendants more time to properly handle your pet. This is a better situation especially if your dog is riding in the cargo area of the plane.

Be sure to have all vacinations updated. Have a certified copy of all your dogs shots available for the airlines to check. If you are traveling to another country this will eliminate the possibility of any quarentine issues.

Make sure the cage or crate your dog is traveling in has a water dish attached to the inside. Also make sure that your dogs cage or crate is properly labeled and identification is attached not only to the outside but the inside as well. Be sure to attach feeding instructions and any medication requirements to the cage or crate also in case your pet is lost.

You must also be aware that airline travel poses a risk with any dog. If your dog happens to be in ill health you may want to reconsider traveling with him or her. An examination performed by your vet will rule out any problems before travel. If your dog has any heart or kidney disease discuss your plans with your vet before making arangements for your travel.

Do not feed your dog for six hours prior to your flight. Your dog may have water until flight time. Be sure your dog is given plenty of fresh water once you have arrived at your destination.

You must be aware that baggage liability limitations will apply to your dog even if you hand carry the dog on to the plane. Be sure to check your tickets for liability limits. It is best to speak directly to the airline about this issue to make sure you are clear on the limits of liability. If you are traveling with a very economically valuable pet you may wish to take out added liability insurance to cover any loss.

By making sure everything is in order and making sure all questions are answered, you will be assured to have a safe and happy flight with your dog.

© Demand Media 2011