On the go with pet

Rules for traveling with pets on a plane vary by airline. Although there are several standard rules, pet owners must check with the specific carrier before they make travel arrangements.

All airlines, however, require pets to be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least five days prior to flying.

Additionally, owners must carry a health certificate and record of vaccinations. A rabies vaccination is necessary for all flights, but other vaccinations depend on the country of arrival.

As with driving, experts recommend getting your pet accustomed to their crate, and exercising them before departure.

Owners should also try to book nonstop, midweek flights. In colder months, midday flights are preferable, and in warmer months, early morning or evening flights will be most comfortable for your pet.

“The cargo area can heat up dramatically and be quite dangerous for pets,” Sims says. She emphasized the importance of thorough research of the airlines, the area of departure and arrival, and the time of year to ensure your pet’s safety.

For long flights in particular, some pet owners tend to turn to sedation to help their pets get through the ride. However, Sims says sedation “can cause more injury to your pet and make them very unstable.”

“Always consult your vet to determine the best option,” advises Sims. “And don’t forget to explore herbal options as well, which tend to be less harmful.”

Even if you’ve tried your best to prepare your animal for flight, airlines have the right to refuse any pet if there are too many onboard, or if any of their guidelines aren’t met.

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