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9 Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

4 minute read

When I found out that I would be picking up my entire life, putting it on a plane and moving across the country, my first thought was, “My dogs are part of that ‘entire life’ thing. Now what?” I panicked. I have flown several times before but I had never flown a dog anywhere. A dog. Do they even allow animals on a plane? Turns out, people do this all time and it’s not so bad after all. So before you decide that flying your dog is both stressful and near impossible, take a deep breath and just consider these 9 simple tips. Once you’ve landed, you’ll have your pup flying first class like it’s no big deal.

Health: First things first, make sure your dog is healthy and prepared to be exposed to a new environment. Your dog may need to have shots updated, an extra box of flea and tick medication or blood work for this process. So make sure you schedule a checkup before traveling. After all, the vet knows best!

Crate: If you have a medium-large breed dog, you’re going to need a crate because they are considered a check-in and sometimes even cargo depending on how large he/she is. Make sure your dog can stand up straight without touching the top of the crate and turn around comfortably. You can find airline approved crates at Petsmart that fit your dog’s needs. Note: it’s best to crate train your dog a few months in advance that way he/she is familiar with the crate.

Carry on: I don’t have a toy sized dog, so both of mine were considered checked bags but if your dog meets the size qualifications, I definitely recommend keeping them at your side during the flight. It allows you to know that your dog is safe and it’s cheaper. Check out these trendy airline carriers.

Comfort item: Just like a child needs their “blankie” or “passie,” a dog needs comfort too, especially during a flight which can cause them a load of stress. I used an old t-shirt and sprayed some of my body spray on it right beforehand. An owner’s scent is like comfort food for a dog.

Restrictions: Most flights have breed restrictions so make sure to double check before booking your dog’s ticket. Dog breeds that aren’t meant for the sky miles are typically snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs and pugs. Here is a FAQ guide to air travel and short nosed breeds.

Thunder Shirt: For the extra timid pup, I highly recommend a Thunder Shirt. It’s designed to fit tight which allows for your dog to feel secure when he is scared. Thunder is scary but turbulence is even scarier.

Direct flight: If you can avoid a layover, please do. It sounds ideal for you dog to have the opportunity to get out and stretch his legs before hopping onto the next five-hour flight but it’s really not worth it. Once you’re dog is out of his crate for the first time, chances are he/she isn’t going to want to get back in. Direct flights are a great way to minimize stress.

Quarantine: When bringing your dog(s) into a foreign country (or back to the states), they may be subject to be quarantined. BringFido has a great page with information and an application if it is necessary. There are also steps you can take to avoid this long and messy hassle, it just depends on where you’re going.

Booking the ticket: Browse before booking and book in advance. Airfare for dogs can range anywhere between, $200 to $1000 plus, depending on size and destination. I personally booked through Delta but here is a list of other dog friendly airlines. Note: airlines don’t allow pets to fly during summer months due to heat.

This article originally appeared on Avelist

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