Up Up and Away

June 30, 2017 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Traveling is more stressful for dogs than their humans. We may be looking forward to the excitement and fun of seeing exotic new places, but dogs don’t like a change in their daily routine or to be away from their nice familiar home.

Flying in particular is stressful for dogs. Airports are busy, loud, and crowded, with lots of new smells and strangers. While we can prepare ourselves for takeoff and ear popping when the cabin pressure changes, dogs don’t know what to expect.

She’ll miss you of course, but your dog will be happier at home with a good sitter or boarding. If you absolutely must bring your pet along on a plane trip, check that your dog is in good physical health. Puppies or seniors, dogs who have a chronic health condition, and dogs who are pregnant should not fly. “Flat-faced” breeds such as Pekingese or pugs shouldn’t fly either. These breeds are called brachycephalic breeds, and they are susceptible to respiratory problems and heat (temperatures in cargo holds are variable, and they can get very hot.)

Before you go:

· Check to see that your dog meets any health certification requirements, such as a current rabies vaccination.

· Make sure your dog has identification– a secure collar and up-to-date ID tag.

· Choose a safe, quality carrier for your dog that meets approved airline dimensions. Your pet could be injured or escape from an inadequate carrier. Let her explore the new carrier and get used to it at home.

· Check with the airline to find out about approved carrier sizes and any pet restrictions. Many airlines restrict dogs traveling in the main passenger cabin to small breeds whose carrier can fit under the seat.

Before you board:

· Show up early at the airport, in case your pet needs some exercise before the trip.

· Dogs have to stay in their carriers while flying, so make sure yours has a bathroom break before boarding and isn’t travelling on a full stomach.

In the air:

· Don’t fly during very cold or hot weather. Temperatures vary widely in cargo holds, and can be much hotter or colder than passenger cabin temperature.

· Fly non-stop. Connecting flights will be even more stressful for your pet as she is moved from plane to plane. With direct flights, people, pets, and luggage stay onboard the plane as it lands at different airports before reaching its final destination, which means your dog will be spending time sitting in the cargo hold.

Back on the ground:

Have pick-up bags available and plan to walk your dog as soon as possible. Use a team approach: one person can collect baggage while another waits outside with the pet.

Pick up your pet promptly upon landing. She’ll be anxious to see you!

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