How To Fly a Dog Safely in an Airplane's Cargo Section

Are you a dog lover? Do you travel by air a lot? Well, it is really stressful to find out that your much-loved canine has nowhere to go except the plane’s temperature-controlled, pressurized cargo section. Don’t fret much about your pet. Here are some measures to make your dog feel more comfortable during the entire flight:

  1. Bring your dog to the veterinarian at least 10 days before your departure. Have him checked up. Have all his vaccinations current. Ask the veterinarian to release his health certificate. Be ready to provide an extra copy. The airline may request it.
  2. Buy a USDA-approved crate for shipping. You can readily get one from the airline or any pet supply store in your local area. Get a size that is big enough for your dog to move while he inside it. He should be able to stand up or turn around whenever he wants. Double check if the crate that you have purchased is sturdy enough. Find out if it door can be closed securely.
  3. Perk up your dog’s crate. Put some lining on the bottom. Use something that can serve as bedding. Also, it should be able to absorb your dog’s “accidents”. Then, fasten two cups. One for food and other, for water. Don’t use the snap-on cups. They may come off unexpectedly. If the flight is long distance, give instructions to the flight steward on how to serve him the food and water that you have prepared. Of course, don’t forget to include your dog’s toy. You want him to be able to do something when he is bored – play.
  4. Label your dog’s crate. Put on signs that read, “Live Animal”. The letters in those signs should be bold and big enough to be seen. Each and every top side of the crate should have that sign. Then, using a marking pen, draw an easy-to-understand arrows, indicating the crate’s upright position.
  5. Properly ID your dog. Don’t forget to put the following information in your dog’s crate: your full name, your complete address, your contact numbers, the name of your dog, and your dog’s destination. You should also indicate whether you are on the flight with him or not. If he is to be picked up, specify the name of your contact person. It is also important to attach a more recent photo of your pet. Put it on the top of his crate. Then, keep a duplicate in your wallet. It should be handy when your dog escapes and you have to find him. Another good ID back up is to put on him a secure collar. It shouldn’t be too tight and it should contain all the necessary updated information about him and you.
  6. Check ahead where and when to get him upon your arrival. This can readily save you time and effort.

During the flight, see to it that the door of your dog’s crate isn’t locked. The flight steward should be able to free him in case of extreme emergency.


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