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What you need to know when traveling with your pet

According to the Air Transport Association, more than 500,000 pets travel by plane each year in the USA alone. However, travel is very stressful for pets. Imagine the stress you experience while traveling and hit it a thousand times and this is how your pet feels. So, if you are planning to take your pet on your next trip, this article will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly of traveling with your pet.

The good

  • You don’t have to go through the pain of trying to find a trustworthy pet sitter or trying to find a dependable friend/family member who will remember to take care of your pet
  • Being able to travel with your pet can be a relief. This means that you don’t have to worry about your pet’s performance at home or with a pet sitter while you’re on vacation.


  • Not all airlines are pet friendly. Some airlines do not allow pets on their flights.
  • Depending on the airline but the ones that allow pets on board often charge around $125 to $250 one way (this also depends on where you’re flying too).
  • Pets are under a lot of stress when traveling. There are a great deal of environmental stressors that occur when pets travel on an airplane such as temperature changes, noise, and movement changes.

the ugly

  • According to statistics provided by the Department of Transportation, 122 dogs died in the cargo hold of US airlines between May and July 2010.
  • In 2011, 35 pets died while on a plane and more than half died while on Delta flights.
  • Airlines are not required by law to report pet incidents such as accidents, losses, and deaths.

Now that you have an idea of ​​what it can be like to travel with your pet, here are a few things you should know when you decide to take your pet with you.

Preparations before the trip

  • Since travel is already difficult for your pet, consider what other factors may be adding more stress on them before deciding whether or not to take them with you. If your pet is very old or very small, consider letting it go to a neighbor or family member instead. The same goes if they are in heat or pregnant.
  • Take your pet to the vet for a checkup. This is to ensure that your pet’s health is in good condition for travel. Also, get your pet’s required vaccinations before leaving for your trip. You can request a health certificate to present at the counter before boarding your flight.
  • Book your flight early. Since different airlines have different policies regarding taking your pets on board, it would be best to make arrangements ahead of time. An easy way to do this is to make a reservation online. This way you can learn more about your options not only with their pet policies, but also with their pricing.
  • Airlines have different policies about the size of carriers they allow inside the cabin. Check with your airline about the size and work out the requirements before buying an airline. Remember that the carrier is subject to the same regulations as the carry-on. You can check the FAA’s policies on carry-on baggage rules for reference.
  • Some dog trainers recommend training your pet specifically for travel before your trip. Some suggested techniques are to place them on the floor of your car while driving. This gets them accustomed to the movement changes they are likely to experience on the plane. Others also recommend using a bonding scent on your pet such as lavender oil. You can put a drop of the oil on your hands before feeding times or take them for a walk. Doing so allows them to associate positively with that scent. So if your pet is separated from you, you can put a drop of lavender oil on his carrier to keep him calm during the trip.
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