If you are traveling by air, try not to take your dog with with you unless there is no other option. And before buying your airline tickets, you will need to call the airline and find out their current rules and regulations regarding pet travel accommodations. As for general rules regarding pet travels, federal regulations state that your dog should be no less than 8 weeks old and have been weaned for no less than 5 days before the day of the flight.
If you have a smaller dog (under 15 pounds), he may be able to fit inside a crate or carry-on luggage designed for pets which can fit under the passenger seat. But if you have a large dog, he will have to be put inside the cargo of the plane. The inside of the cargo has no heat and no air-conditioning. This can be very uncomfortable and scary for your dogs. There have been cases of dogs that have died inside the cargo from overheating due to delayed flights.
Below is a list of additional precautions you should apply when traveling by air with your dog:
1. When traveling with your dog, always book a direct, non-stop flight. Avoid plane transfers when possible.
2. On the day before you leave, confirm your flight schedule to make sure that there have been no changes.
3. On the day of your flight, give your dog a walk before leaving for the airport.
4. Talk to your vet about feeding instructions. The vet will likely recommend that, for your dog’s comfort, he should be on an empty stomach during the flight. The vet will also give you instructions on proper feeding during the flight. This will vary depending on your dog’s age, size, his regular diet, and the length of the flight.
5. To prevent dehydration, make sure that he gets enough water and that it is accessible to him during the flight.
6. Get to the airport early.
7. If you absolutely have to place him in an airline-approved crate, make sure that he gets his potty time right before he goes inside the crate. To make your dog feel more secure, you should put him in his crate, and not have the airline staff do it for you.
8. Stay with your dog as long as possible before the flight and personally take him to the gate.
9. Upon boarding the plane, inform the flight attendant that your dog is inside the cargo.
10. When you get to your destination, the first thing you should do is go to the baggage area right away and pick up your dog.