Traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and the four-legged members of your family; however with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
1Make an appointment for an exam, and we will make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. You will need a health certificate from us dated within 10 days of your departure. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. You will need to contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information
2Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and is wearing a collar and ID tag. Breakaway collars are best for cats. The collar should also include destination information in case your pet escapes.
3Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel.
4Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Shipping crates can be purchased from many pet supply stores and airlines.
5Write the words "Live Animal" in letters at least one inch tall on top of and at least one side of the crate. Use arrows to prominently indicate the upright position of the crate. On the top of the crate, write the name, address and telephone number of your pet's destination point, and whether you will be accompanying your pet or if someone else is picking them up. Make sure that the door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency. Line the crate bottom with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents.
6Affix a current photograph of your pet to the top of the crate for identification purposes. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.
7The night before you leave, make sure you've frozen a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can't spill during loading, and will melt by the time they might get thirsty. Tape a small pouch, preferably cloth, of dried food outside the crate. Airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case they get hungry on long-distance flights or a layover.
8Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended, as it could hamper breathing. Please check with us first.
9Tell every airline employee you encounter, on the ground and in the air that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they'll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed.
10If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted.