Flying with your dog for the first time? Here’s what you should know.

Planning to take your dog away on holiday? Worried about flying with your pet? Here’s what you need to know…

Choose Your Flight Wisely

When flying with your dog, non-stop flights with no changes are a better option because your pet will not face as much disruption. It’s also a good idea to choose a time when the airline is likely to be less busy because then it will be less likely that anything will go wrong.

Another thing you need to think about is temperature, especially if your dog will be flying in the cargo hold. Try to time your flight so that you don’t fly at the hottest/coldest part of the day as applicable to your destination.

Talk to the Airline

If you’re flying with your dog, don’t book online; talk to the airline so you can discuss things in detail and work out a scenario that will cause minimum issues. A good airline will know exactly how to handle four-legged passengers and talking to them will give you a good idea if they know what they’re doing or not.

Take Your Dog to the Vet

Flying can be very stressful for dogs, so it’s a good idea to take them to the vet for a health check before you fly. Chances are they will need vaccinations and a health certificate before they can fly anyway, so you can kill two birds with one stone and check out their flight fitness too.

Don’t Feed Them

Ideally, dogs should fly on an empty stomach to avoid any digestion issues. However, packing a few dog treats or a little puppy food in your hand luggage is a good idea. That way, should there be a flight delay, the staff can ensure your pet has something to eat.

Invest in a Good Carrier

In order to make the journey as safe and comfortable as possible for your pet, it’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality carrier or crate. Your carrier should be big enough that your dog can stand upright in it and wide enough that they can turn around if you’re on a long flight.

If your dog’s carrier can fit under the passenger seat in front of you, you may be able to bring it onboard, if not your dog will probably have to fly in the hold.

Your carrier should also have very strong handles, plenty of ventilation, and be clearly labelled with the information ”live animal” and your name and address as well as the destination you are travelling to.

Sedatives are Risky

It can be tempting to sedate your dog when flying but it is often risky to do so. Sedation can increase the risk of breathing issues and heart problems amongst other things. So, you should consult a vet before considering this course of action.

Flying with a dog can be stressful but if you do your research and you know what to expect,  you should be able to get through the experience without too many issues. Just be sure to put your pet’s welfare first.