If you’ve been bringing your pet with you in your land-based travels, often as a companion in the passenger backseat of your car, the next natural decision to make is if your pet is ready for the long haul aboard an airliner that allows pets on its flight. You’re lucky if you can find such a flight so make sure to keep these 10 things in mind to keep your pet safe and comfy when flying.
Get a pet crate that the airline will allow you to carry on the flight
Airline companies will allow you to bring your pet on board only if you use an airline approved carrier. Different carriers have different specifications as to the size of the pet carrier. However, the general rule is that the pet carrier should be small enough to be easily placed under the seat of the passenger in front of you.
Invest a comfy pet bed
If you happen to have a pet carrier that has rigid sides, you’d definitely want to add something that is comfortable for your pet to lie on during the duration of the flight. If your pet already has its favourite pet bed, then by all means bring this on the flight so your pet can feel a lot more secure and more comfortable on its maiden voyage.
Don’t forget your pet’s food and water
While you’re not supposed to feed your pet or let it drink a few hours before the flight, you’d still have to tend to its needs once you arrive at your destination. Your pet will already be so hungry and stressed out that it may be wise to give it its food or at least let it drink. Besides, you won’t have ready access to a pet supplies store when you arrive.
Always carry pet wipes or pads
There’s no telling when your pet will go. It is always a good idea to bring with you a few packs of pet wipes so you can clean up any pet mess wherever that may be. Some pet parents may actually put diapers on their pets to help in the management of pet wastes.
Be ready with a lot of mind games
You’ll be spending several hours at the airport plus several hours more in the air, depending on your destination. In other words, your pet will really grow bored. While you’re welcome to try and play with your pet, a much better option is to bring a lot of activities that will keep your pet preoccupied.
Be generous with the treats
If the mind games don’t work, you can take this opportunity to run a few tricks with your pet again. You can reinforce a particular skill or teach a new one. A handful of treats should always be ready. Moreover, treats can be used as great motivators for your pet to keep its cool. At the very least, you won’t have to worry about managing your pet’s behaviour in the airport or even inside the plane.
Get a clean bill of health from your vet
Before you fly, make sure that your pet is in tip-top shape. Make sure it has all the vaccinations and immunisations that may be required by the authorities in your destination. If there are medications that your pet is taking, see to it that you’ve got supply to last until you get back home.
Make sure you have all the IDs and other important documents for your pet
Prepare your pet’s identification tags. Now is a good time to consider getting a pet collar with GPS tracking capabilities. It may also be crucial to get your pet microchipped, just in case it gets lost and it needs immediate veterinary attention. Keeping all of your pet’s veterinary records in your possession should also help.
Take your pet on an exercise run several hours before leaving for your flight
One of the things that many pet parents find helpful is to tire their pets several hours before leaving for their flight. They can go for a really exhausting exercise so that the pet will be so tired that all it will ever want to do is simply lie down and rest inside its crate. Just don’t overdo it, lest you risk injuring your pet.
Go to the airport earlier than usual
Most airliners allow pets on their flights on a first-come-first-served basis. Airlines can only accommodate a certain number of pets each flight. If you arrived at the airport and the slots for pets have already been filled, then you’re out of luck. You may also want to check the policies of your airline company.
Flying with your pet can be a very rewarding experience, both for you and your pet. Just remember these tips to help ensure you’ve got a hassle-free trip with your pet.