In a survey conducted by the insurer, Petplan, 53% of respondents indicated that they would, “rather travel with their pets than their two-legged partner!”
In other words, more than half the people who gave a response said that they prefer their pet as a travel companion over their significant other.
Of course, while you may be fine with whisking your pet away on a jet-set weekend adventure, how travel-keen is your furry friend to take to the skies?
To alleviate pet stress on jets, here are some travel pointers on what you can do to make the trip pleasurable for both of you.
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Know Your Pet’s Personality
Like people every pet is different. Some were born to travel while others prefer a safe and set routine in which the only uncertainty is the type of snack you will give them that evening.
You probably instinctively know which one of the two categories into which your best friend falls. However, and for the sake of clarification, if your dog is friendly and outgoing, for example, and has never had a problem with hopping in the car for a spontaneous ride in the country, and is well-socialised with other animals and people, pack your bag with confidence.
Conversely, if your dog gets anxious at the prospect of traveling by any means other than their own paws, and likes to stay close to home, then taking a trip becomes a little trickier, but certainly not impossible. The only difference between a happy wanderer or safe-at-home pal is that with the latter some added paw-holding may be required.
Before Booking Your Flight
Regardless of whether your pet will be traveling with you in the airplane cabin or the cargo hold, you want to make sure that they are in tip-top shape to take the trip. Schedule an appointment with your vet to get flight clearance.
Are you thinking of sedating your dog? According to The Preventive Vet blog, under no circumstances should you sedate your pet as this can, “increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems.”
However, your vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety drug. Never give your pet anything that has not been prescribed by the vet.
Booking Your Flight
When booking your flight, always try to take a direct route with no stops. Multiple takeoffs and landings as well as having to switch planes can stress out even the most placid of animals.
Some airlines are willing to accommodate pets in the cabin within certain guidelines.
For an added cost they will allow small dogs and cats up to a maximum weight to travel with you. But note, the airline does not allow crates in the cabin which means that you will have to get an approved pet carrier.
Also, make sure you understand any special conditions you have to adhere to for your pet to accompany you on your flight.
Your Pre-Flight Checklist
In much the same way you have to make preparations to fly, your pet also needs to prepare.
To start, if you don’t already have one, get a certified pet crate that is sufficiently spacious so that your pet can stand up, and move about without having to be a contortionist.
Whether your carrier is new or you have had one for years, bring it out a few days before your departure date and let your pet spend some time in there. If your pet is going to be with you in the cabin, you should follow the same process for their travel carrier.
Be sure to put a warm and familiar blanket and also a favourite toy in the crate for the flight.
Finally, make sure you have a clear understanding of the boarding procedures before you arrive at the airport as you do not want any surprises that can cause you or your pet any stress.
Besides eliminating the stress of separation anxiety, one of the main advantages of having your pet with you in the cabin is that you can intervene immediately to address any issues before they become a problem.
That said, to minimise the potential for problems during the flight make sure that you do not feed your pet or give them water before leaving for the airport. Don’t worry about starving your little guy, as most dogs and cats can easily go 8 to 10 hours without eating or drinking. So while abstinence may be an inconvenience, a little hunger is far less stressful for your pet than having to relieve themselves in a confined space.
Enjoy Your Flight
When you read about traveling with a pet, most articles talk about dogs or cats. But, every animal from pigs and kangaroos to yes, even a miniature horse, has earned its wings.
While each pet will have its own unique requirements when traveling by air, the one constant is making sure you do the proper preparation.
So there you have it. You and your pet can sit back, relax and enjoy the stress-free flight in anticipation of a wonderful holiday.