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Traveling with pets on long distances

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 15 Mar 2010

A plane ride can be quite a daunting experience for owners and an intimidating one for pets, especially, if it’s a first time travel. A lot of preparation and planning is required before the first flight with your pet. Here are some issues that you will have to address before the journey.

Cabin or Cargo?
Most pet owners would prefer to keep their pet with them in-cabin. However, you have to make sure you keep it in an airline approved crate or carrier, that’s small enough to stow beneath the seat. If the pet can’t comfortably fit inside a small crate, then it will have to fly in the cargo.

Is your pet permitted in cargo?

The cargo experiences a bit more temperature variation than the cabin. Therefore, there are limitations to what breeds can fly in cargo and at what time of year.

Airlines also impose restrictions for pets traveling in cargo during summer months and when flying to certain tropical destinations. This is designed to prevent injury to pets due to overheating.

Duration of destination is also a consideration. Some airlines do not allow pets to travel in cargo on flights longer than 12 hours.

Age factor
Most airlines require that canine and feline passengers be at least eight weeks of age at the time of travel.

Reservations for In-Cabin Pets
Most airlines only permit two in-cabin pets per flight, and seven pets on the flight overall (including cargo). So if you’re planning to take your pet on-board with you, you’ll need to ensure availability on the particular flight and make a reservation for the animal. You will also have to pay a fee which is usually payable at the time of check-in on the day of departure.

Health Certificate
A health certificate issued by a veterinarian, verifying that the pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and disease-free should be presented during check-in. The policy varies from airline to airline, but in most cases, the health certificate must be issued within ten days of departure.

Pack pet supplies
A scared or nervous pet may urinate, defecate or vomit. So it’s vital to pack some extra puppy pads and towels. Wet wipes could also come in handy to clean up any unexpected mess.

Dry cabin air, combined with panting resulting from stress, can lead to thirst, so remember to pack a portable pet water bottle, to quench its thirst immediately after the flight.

Also remember to take along your pet’s leash and collar so you can take your pet for a visit to the great outdoors while you’re waiting for the luggage.

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