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The Ins and Outs of Taking Your Dog on Your Next Flight

Jaclyn Hughes

Have you ever had to fly somewhere and wanted badly to take your dog? It’s a horrible feeling having to leave your furry friends at home or place them in a kennel for a week. You can now avoid that dilemma by taking them with you on the plane, which is great considering for a while there it was a heavily debated topic with some airliners. Recently, the International Business Times reflected on the legal battle between airlines such as Air Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency aiming to segregate dogs from passengers in lieu of allergic reactions. Some other airlines have a rule that must separate dogs in carriers aboard flights five rows away from the passenger with the allergy. Seems reasonable, right? Experts debated that dog allergies are usually only prevalent when the person comes into contact with the dog, unlike cat dander that can float around causing sneezing and itchy eyes without ever touching the cat. It’s a great feeling being able to transport your dog for leisure travel, but beware of the detailed regulations that must be adhered to before taking off:

{Rules for dog flights per US Air}

  • You must contact the airline ahead of time to reserve the space for your furry pal. They also recommend calling the airline 48 hours before to reiterate your pet will be in attendance.
  • Any airline can refute the animal they day you board if the animal is stressed, barking, sick, violent, or not in the proper carrier.
  • Animals of any sort are never permitted to fly alone with a minor.
  • The USDA makes it mandatory to feed your pet 4 hours prior to takeoff to avoid airsickness
  • It is recommended to arrive two hours before your scheduled takeoff
  • No body parts of the pet are permitted to be exposed while in the carrier (head sticking out)
  • Carrier must be large enough for the dog to sit, stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably
  • Crate needs to be a solid material, no wire ones, and possess a flooring that won’t allow for leaks
  • Carriers must be ventilated, have handles that are secure, and contain a bowl for food and a bowl for water
  • You need to clearly write your pet’s name on the actual carrier (tape on it will do) with your address, phone number, and it must say “live animal” on the crate
  • Passengers are not permitted to muzzle their dogs while in transit in carriers
  • Only one adult dog is permitted per carrier; two puppies are allowed to share a crate if under six months old and weigh over 20lbs each
  • All pets must be at least 8 weeks old and entirely weaned
  • If you’re leaving your state the dog must have proof of its current rabies vaccination
  • It is not recommended to administer medications such as sleep aids or tranquilizers to your dog before boarding the aircraft
  • Be cautious flying with snub-nose dog breeds, as they tend to have to have increased respiratory challenges at high altitudes

Having the ability to take your furry kids on vacations or business trips with you is an amazing freedom. Just be sensible about the traveling and don’t take your pet if he or she is not friendly with strangers, or barks often when unaware of their surroundings. Otherwise, flying with man’s best friend is a great way to travel.