How to prepare your dog for airplane travel

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travelling with your dog International travel with pets has come a long way. However, to benefit from this you will need to carefully plan your journey. In this article we will share some tips on what preparation you need to do when travelling with your dog.

Travelling with your dog:

Check if your dog is allowed to fly

*Not all dogs are considered safe to fly.* For example, most airlines do not recommend that puppies under 8 weeks, elderly or sick dogs fly, in either cargo or in cabin. There are also certain breeds of dogs that are not good candidates for flying, like short nosed dogs. So be sure to check your airlines regulations.

Do you need a pet passport? 

Since February 2000 pet owners have been able to apply for a pet passport through the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS). The pet passport allows pet owners to re-enter the UK from the EU without having to be quarantined.

We recommend that you contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline: 0370 241 1710. They will be able to advise you on the latest regulations.

Is it a good idea to sedate my dog?

If your pet is particular nervous or it’s a long haul flight you may want to consider sedating your dog. Talk to your vets for any prescriptions.

Get your dog use to their carrier before the flight

Get your dog use to their carrier in the weeks before your flight. Try leaving the carrier out with the door open allowing them to explore it on their own. Once they’re interested, move onto putting them in the carrier and leaving the room a few times to make sure they stay calm.

travelling with your dog Get your pet familiar to airport noises

A great way to do this is to play recordings of crowds and planes for them in the weeks preceding the flight. This will help desensitize your pet to the noises they’ll face during the airport journey and hopefully stop them from panicking.

Take your dog for a walk before you leave for the airport

Let them stretch their legs and burn out from energy before they get into their carrier. Try a walk, run or long play session before you leave the house.

Feed your dog as regularly as possible

Try your best to stick to your dog’s regular feeding times where possible prior to the flight. We suggest that you don’t feed them for at least 3 hours before (unless medically necessary). This should give them time to digest and avoid accidents.

Give your dog water throughout the day

Make sure your dog has access to clean fresh water as much as possible before the flight. It’s suggested that they drink every half hour up until the flight.

Check in your dog

You may check in yourself prior to your flight, but if you’re traveling with a pet you’ll still have to check in your pet at the ticket counter. The ticket agent will print tags for your pet carrier, clearing them to go through security. There may be a fee payable at this time.

travelling with your dog

Don’t forget one last bathroom stop before security

Before heading through security or cargo, take your dog to the airport pet relief area. This should help make sure your pet has a comfortable journey.

Ask where the cargo loading area for large carriers

When checking your pet in at the ticket counter, you’ll most likely be asked to drop your pet off directly at the airlines cargo facility. You will also need to find the cargo facility at your destination to collect your pet.

Call the airline to confirm they are pet friendly

This is an absolute must, before purchasing your flight tickets. Some airlines have a strict no pet’s policy or specific size restrictions. If you’re planning on travelling with your dog; make sure your chosen airline can accommodate.

Add your dog to your ticket before your departure date

There is often a limit to the number of pets allowed pet flight, so if you are planning on travelling with your dog, take the following steps:

  • If you bought your ticket online, call customer service soon after to add your pet to your ticket
  • If you bought your ticket over the phone, let your representative know you plan on bringing your pet on the flight.

Check your carrier to make sure its compliant

Different airlines may have different rules. So be sure to check their requirements regarding pet carriers. They will also have rules for the size and materials of carriers that get checked. Call your airline or check on their website to get a full list of their requirements. Check your carrier to make sure it is compliant with your airline’s regulations. If it is not, buy a compliant carrier before your departure date.

Things you’ll need:

  • Pet Passport
  • Pet carrier (that fits regulation’s)
  • Leash & collar
  • Recent picture of pet
  • Dog food
  • Towels for inside the carrier
  • 2 bowls for inside the carrier
  • Health certificate from veterinarian

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