Flying with Fido or Fluffy

captureIf you’re like us, it’s always a little heart-breaking when you leave your pet behind for vacation. Let’s face it, we all know the big sad eyes and looks of despair that wash over our dog’s face when we start packing the suitcase. Case in point ————————>

Taking your dog or cat along on the family road trip is one thing, but flying with your furry family is another. Your decision should not be taken lightly. So considering the following and do lots of research before deciding to put pups on a plane.

You’ll need to get your pet certified. That’s right, you’ll need to obtain a certificate of current health from your veterinarian within 10 days of your trip. It’s required by airlines if you want to travel with a pet. You may even be required to have a passport for your pet – so be sure to check the details, not only with your carrier, but with your destination.

Whether your pet is allowed to travel depends on their size and breed. Some breeds of cats and dogs are susceptible to respiratory issues and should never fly (some airlines even refuse to transport them). If your pet is small – usually less than 9 kg (20 lbs) – it can and should fly in the cabin with you. Most airlines have a limit on how many live animals are allowed per cabin, so make sure you check with them when booking your flight. If you’re fortunate enough to bring your dog or cat in the cabin, it must fit under the seat in front of you, and it must stay in its container. No matter how cute it might be, taking your pet out during the flight can get you a serious fine. If your pet is too large for the cabin, prepare for the dreaded cargo hold.

At this point we seriously question the logic of taking your pet on vacation with you. If your dog must fly in the cargo hold, then it must fly in an approved container that is well ventilated and made of sturdy plastic with a secure locking system. It must be large enough for your dog to be able to stand, turn around and lie down. Make sure the kennel has “LIVE ANIMAL” stickers on the top and sides at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) tall. Mark the kennel with the animal’s name and your name, address, phone number and destination. Then verify that the kennel’s baggage-claim tag shows the correct destination and is securely attached.

Whether your pet travels in the cabin or in the cargo hold, avoid the temptation to sedate them. It’s stressful enough for the animal to adjust to a different environment compounded by sudden movements and altitude, lighting and pressure extremes. Sedation only makes matters worse and can even lead to injury. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, sedatives are typically not recommended for pets during air travel, especially for pediatric, ill and pug-nosed pets as there is an increased risk of adverse effects.

While you may think you should avoid offering water to your pet during a flight (so they won’t need to urinate), it’s imperative that you keep your pet hydrated. Most kennels come equipped with a built-in cup for water, but they’re essentially useless since the water will spill with every move of their kennel, the plane or even your pet. One solution is to train your pet in advance to use a water bottle that can be mounted inside their kennel. Alternatively, bring a bag of ice with you to the airport, and right before loading your dog into the kennel put the ice into the cup. It won’t spill, and as it melts throughout the flight your dog can get much-needed water.

Most airlines have block out periods during the summer and winter months when they won’t allow pets to travel, so be sure to check this out in advance. Remember, when you change planes or de-plane in the heat of the summer or the cold of winter, pets travelling in the cargo hold may have to sit on the tarmac in extreme heat or cold for a time. As a general rule, airlines won’t carry pets when the thermometer drops below 7 C (45 F) or soars over 29 C (85 F).

Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and there have been cases in which animals were mistakenly put into un-pressurized cargo holds and pets have died. If after that statement you still decide to travel with your pet in the cargo hold, once you board your plane inform a flight attendant that your pet is down below and ask them to confirm that your furry family member is in a pressurized compartment. It’s a necessary question! And, if your flight is delayed, inform the crew that an animal is on board and ask that the captain be informed. If the delay is lengthy, your animal must be removed from the plane. Insist on this. The bottom line: You are the only person who is going to protect your pet.

In the end you have to ask yourself, Is it really for my pet’s benefit that I’m putting him or her through the stress of getting on a plane? Or is it my own selfish desire to have him or her with me? What’s best for Fluffy or Fido?

capture2While they may be sad to see you go initially, in the long run they may quite enjoy a little time at Doggie Day Care with a bunch of their pals, or a change of scenery staying with a friend or family.
Case in point —————>

There are plenty of options, so before you make any quick decisions to fly with your pet when it’s not absolutely necessary, make sure you consider overall the most important thing – the happiness and welfare of your beloved pet.

Copyright © 2017 Iain & Gail Shankland / TravelBloggers.ca (at) Gmail.com. All rights reserved. Text: Gail Shankland | Photography: Iain & Gail Shankland (unless otherwise indicated) Feature Photo Credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/group/427860#

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Iain & Gail started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.

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