The following is a guest post from Ashley Spade. Ashley, in addition to being Sir Winston Pugsalot the First’s favorite human, is a blogger and law student. She volunteers at her local pug rescue in between studying and training for triathlons (sometimes at the same time).
Who doesn’t love vacations? Now that it’s summer, you have the time and energy to visit all of those tourist attractions you have on your bucket list! As you are sitting at the kitchen table, clicking away on your laptop, finding the best places to eat in Melbourne or directions from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace or what the best beach is in Nice, all of a sudden you feel a pair of eyes staring at you. You look down to see your best friend giving you the sweetest, saddest look ever – it’s as if Fido knows you’re going abroad without him.
Or are you? Kenneling your pup is expensive, and vacation experiences are meant to be shared. Pet-friendly hotels or condos are not difficult to locate, and although your furry pal may not be allowed in museums, he or she can still enjoy the outdoors overseas. You do not want to leave your pup behind if you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, anyway.
However, I will admit: the most stressful part of the entire trip with your pet is the very beginning. Flying with your puppy does not have to be stressful, though! Here is a list of tips for flying with your pet I wish I had the first time I took my pug, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First, on a plane.
- Choose an Optimal Flight – Choose as direct a flight as possible, and even if you are kenneling your dog, choose a flight that you also will be on. Check in for your flight as late as possible to avoid unnecessary pet stress- your dog may not like the harried feeling of the airport. Call ahead to double check with the airline to make sure your pet has a spot on the flight and they are prepared to host your best friend.
- Visit the vet – Before you even leave, make sure you have gotten all of the required health papers in order from your veterinarian. Airlines and TSA both have posted on their respective web sites exactly what is required. Make sure you have all of this, and anything else you think will be relevant. You don’t want to get turned away at the gate! You can also get a sedative for your pup at the vet to ease his or her travel anxiety.
- Kennel or Carry – Decide, based on airline and customs regulations, whether or not you are going to keep your dog with you during the flight or you will kennel them in the cargo hold. Make a smart decision based upon your dog’s size, respect for the eardrums of other passengers (yappy breeds, take notice), dog’s age, and your pup’s breed. Short-nosed dogs (such as my pug) have difficulty breathing in some areas of the plane, so you may not want to kennel them.
- Avoid Anxiety – Acclimate your dog to the airline-approved carrier you will keep him or her in. Allow your companion to inspect every inch of it and even keep him or her in it for periods of time before the trip. This will definitely reduce your pet’s stress on the day of travel. On the day of travel, put a favorite item of his or hers as well as something that smells like you (old t shirt is what I recommend) in the kennel so that your furry friend will feel safe and at ease.
- Label, Label, Label – Even if you are not kenneling your pup in the plane, still make sure to label every single item of his or hers (carrier, food bowls, etc) with your name, phone number and address. You want to get everything you traveled with, and if for some unforeseen reason your pup’s carrier gets left behind, you will be the first to know. If you’re kenneling your pup, include instructions on feeding/watering or any medications he or she may need. Bring a few pictures of your pet if you kennel him or her.
- Prepare your Pet – Do not overfeed your pet the morning of the trip. Also, take him or her on a walk to ensure your companion gets a chance to stretch his or her legs before a trip. Walk your dog around the airport even before check in for your flight.
The most important takeaways are to be prepared and not to worry! Your pet, when kenneled, is in a relaxing, dark environment where he or she will most likely snooze the entire flight! If you are bringing your pet on board, be sure to be calm so your pup will pick up on your relaxed vibes. Flying with your pet is safe and guarantees some great memories for both of you while exploring new territory!