It wasn’t too long ago that an airplane trip meant saying goodbye to your four-legged companion. In today’s world, however, pets seem to be inching ever closer to becoming full-fledged members of human society. Even flying with a pet is now more common than ever.
Airline restrictions have changed recently in light of several disturbing pet deaths and displacements. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date with rules and regulations before packing your pet’s duffel bag.
New Rules and Regulations
Flying with a pet has never been easier – or more complicated. Airlines are doing their best to make sure four-legged passengers remain safe, and new regulations have been put in place to help make this a reality:
- Banned breeds – Due to safety concerns, United Airlines has implemented a ban on 21 dog breeds and 4 breeds of cats. The majority of the banned breeds fall into the brachycephalic (“short nosed”) category, as these breeds are more prone to heat stroke and breathing difficulties.
- Heat safety – United Airlines no longer allows pets to travel in the cargo hold to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and Tucson between May and September due to the dangers of extreme heat. It’s always a good idea to keep temperature considerations in mind any time you’re flying with a pet.
- Emotional support animals – Service animals are generally able to ride with their handlers in the cabin, but emotional support animals have more restrictions when it comes where and how much space they can occupy, fees charged, papers required, and species restrictions (like no emotional support peacocks allowed) can vary depending on the airline. Be sure to check with the airline before you book your trip.
Based on your destination, you may need to acquire a health certificate, proof of vaccinations, or other paperwork certifying that your pet is healthy enough to enter another state or country. Contact us as soon as you know your travel destination so we can help you get started on meeting any requirements before the deadline.
Flying with a Pet
Even with all the safety precautions in place, air travel tends to be highly stressful for pets. The following tips can help things go as smoothly as possible for both you and your pet:
- Your trip should not be the first time your pet rides inside a crate or carrier. Getting your pet used to their crate/carrier well in advance of your flight will make the transition easier.
- Exercise your pet right before they’re loaded into the airplane. A tired pet is less likely to experience significant stress.
- Feed your pet a light meal several hours before boarding. Their stomach should not be full, as this could lead to queasiness during travel.
- Allow your pet to drink water right up until boarding time.
- For your pet’s comfort, try booking a flight with as short a layover/as few layovers as possible.
Whether your feet and paws are on the ground or up in the sky, we want you and your pet to enjoy every moment of your time together. If you have any questions about flying with a pet, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Paws, Purrs, and Exotics Animal Hospital.