Before deciding whether or not to take your dog on a plane, you should contact your airline and be absolutely clear about the regulations. While most airlines do allow dogs on planes, there is a size limitation. Your dog must be in a dog carrier which will fit below the seat in front. Large dogs have to travel in the cargo old. In practice, this means that if your dog is over 15 pounds it will not be in the cabin with you.
The cargo hold is not pressurised which means that oxygen is restricted. This could be difficult or even dangerous for your dog. In 2017, 24 dogs died in the United States while travelling on a plane. For breeds with squashed in faces, the risk is even higher.
What You Should Do Before Travel.
Before travelling there are a few things you can do to make your dog’s trip as comfortable as possible.
Take your dog to a vet for a check-up, make sure you tell the vet that the dog is about to travel on an airliner.
Your dog should be completely comfortable in the pet carrier. If he has not been in a pet carrier before, start training him a few weeks before the trip.
Research your airline carefully. Make sure that you are complying with all the airline’
s regulations. Some airlines have a better record carrying dogs than others. Do your research to make sure you’re travelling on the best airline.
Take portable food and water bowls with you on to the plane. The air in a plane cabin is quite dry and your dog would appreciate a drink, especially on a longer trip.
On the day of the trip give your dog plenty of exercise before you leave. The tireder he is, the better. Make sure he has had plenty of opportunity to use the potty before departure.
Don't give your dog any type of drug without authorisation from your vet. It may seem that using a drug to relax your dog will make his trip more comfortable. However, it can lead to problems.
When you arrive at your destination give your dog some exercise and a potty break as soon as possible.
Travelling With A Larger Dog.
If you have a service dog it is likely that he will be exempted from travelling in the cargo hold. All other large dogs will not be allowed in the passenger cabin. Some airlines have an area which is pressurised for carrying pets. This is sometimes known as a pet-check option. If this is not available your dog will be carried in a non-pressurised area of the plane.
Just like other items of luggage, unaccompanied dogs can get lost by airlines. You should take a current photograph of your dog with you so that in the unlikely event that he does get lost you can at least show the airline staff what he looks like.
Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with your contact details on it. It is preferable if your dog has been micro chipped. Your name address and contact details should be prominently displayed on the outside of the dog crate.
Other Things To Consider
Going on a plane trip may cause your dog considerable anxiety. Ask yourself if the benefits the dog will receive from the travel are great enough to compensate for this. If not, you should investigate an alternative plan for your dog.
Ask yourself whether your dog is suited to travel. Some dogs with an anxious or timid personality are better off left at home.
You should have your dog’s vaccination records with you at all times when you are travelling together