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Transport Dog Crates and Air Travel

Mar 19, 2008
It is not ideal to travel by air with your dog, but sometimes there is no other option. You'll need to consider transport dog crates, and the key is to make the trip as stress free for your dog as you can.

You've probably heard about dogs becoming injured, lost or even of dogs dying when traveling by airplane. The majority of dog air trips are free from complications of any kind, but you do not want to take any risks when transporting your dog by airplane. Preparation is therefore very important.

Before you do anything else, you should call the airline you intend to travel with and find out their current policies on pet transportation. If you have a choice of airlines, call each one, as the policies may vary slightly. If you intend to transport a young puppy, you also need to be aware that federal regulations require that a puppy be at least 8 weeks old before it is permitted to be carried by air, and it needs to have been weaned for a minimum of 5 days prior to transportation.

Large dogs have no choice but to travel in the cargo section of the airplane, in transport dog crates. The cargo section unfortunately has neither airconditioning nor heating, which can make for a pretty uncomfortable experience for dogs. Small dogs may be a litte luckier. If they're under 15 pounds, they may be accepted in the passenger compartment of the airplane, traveling in transport dog crates or other types of pet carriers that will fit under your seat.

These are some steps you can take to ensure a less stressful trip for your pet if you need to transport them by airplane:

- book a direct, non-stop flight wherever possible. Avoid plane transfers and stop-overs.

- confirm your flight before you leave home, to ensure that there have been no changes to your flight schedule.

- take your dog for a walk shortly before you leave for the airport.

- check with your vet as to feeding recommendations for your dog. Most vets will recommend that your dog travel on an empty stomach. For long flights, your dog will need to be fed, and your vet will advise you what is appropriate, taking into account your dog's age, size and regular diet.

- ensure that plenty of water will be available to your dog during the flight to prevent dehydration.

- arrive at the airport in plenty of time.

- if you are leaving from a destination that's close to the airport, make sure your dog is given an opportunity to toilet just before you leave. If you are a distance from the airport, wait until you arrive at the airport before toileting your dog. Either way, it's important that your dog has a toilet opportunity to avoid accidents in the transport dog crate during the trip.

- get ready for your flight before you leave for the airport. Take magazines or reading material and activities for your kids with you so you don't need to spend time shopping at the airport. It's important that you spend all the time you can prior to boarding the plane with your dog. If possible, put your dog into the transport dog crate yourself (as opposed to airport staff doing this) and if it's allowed, take your dog to the gate yourself as well.

- when you board the plane, tell the flight attendant that you have a dog in the cargo hold.

- when you land, disembark from the plane as promptly as you can, and go directly to the baggage claim area to claim your dog as soon as he is taken off the plane.
About the Author
If you're traveling with your dog, you'll be wanting more information on dog transport and transport dog crates, and even on stylish pet carriers from HealthierDogs
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