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Preparing Your Pet for Flight

This sponsored post walks you through the steps of flying with your pet, and include important information about emotional support animals from CertaPet

Do you have the travel bug? Can’t stop exploring and jetting around the place? Traveling is all well and good when you have zero commitments, but it can get much more complicated when you’ve got a gorgeous pet to worry about. Traveling with a pet is an extra responsibility, but it can be done. Airlines these days have great procedures in place for flying our furry friends, and if you qualify for an emotional support animal, you won’t even incur a fee. In this article, we look at some foolproof ways to prepare your pet for flight whether they are simply your buddy, or they’re supporting you emotionally. Don’t let fear of flying with a pet stand in the way of your desire to see the world, just follow this guide and feel prepared and ready for anything.

Before Your Flight

Good trips are made before you even reach the airport. Take care of this business upfront, and you’ll be good to fly with zero stress!

Check Out Your Destination

When traveling with a pet, it’s important that you realize things are going to be a little different from flying solo. This is especially true when choosing your destination. Of course, the U.S. is a fairly pet friendly travel destination, especially if you are an ESA owner, where special laws such as the Aircraft Carrier Access Act covering your right to fly with your pet. But other international destinations may not be quite so accepting of your furry pal. As an owner, it’s your responsibility to do your due research before you even think of booking a ticket to a far fling destination, to avoid disappointment and issues with airport personnel (check out the delta airlines emotional support animal policy here). A good place to start if you want to travel to an international destination is to do some Googling on the best places to travel abroad with a pet. Once you have a shortlist of destinations you can do deeper research in order to check out which is the most suitable for you and your pet.

Check your pet insurance to see if international travel is covered should your pet have an accident while you are away from home. All insurance companies are different and you may need to source alternative temporary insurance if your pet is only covered for your domestic area.

Get Your Paperwork Ready

Less stress? Organize your documents way in advance. If you are traveling with a pet, there are a number of things you’ll need to show the airline, especially if the pet you’re traveling with is being used as an ESA. Remember, before choosing your airline, you’ll need to ensure that your pet fits the specifications for the company in terms of size and breed. Once that’s done, start getting these documents together and ready.

If your pet is an ESA you will need:

  • Your ESA letter
  • Your airline confirmation
  • A signed document accepting responsibility for your pet and their behavior

If your pet is not an ESA you will need:

  • To pay the pet fee of your airline
  • Your confirmation of paid pet fee from the airline

Start Your Pre-Flight Pet Prep

Now that all your paperwork is ready to go, you can start preparing your pet for the big event—flying! There’s a few simple steps you can take to ensure you and your pet both have the best experience. We’ve compiled them below.

Carrier Training for Your Pet – Start Now!

Your pet being comfortable in its carrier is super important for travel. This is because it will need to spend some hours inside, both at the airport and during the flight. With a little diligence and perseverance, you can get your pet to a point where they are happy inside their carrier. Start off by letting your pet explore their carrier in a low-stress situation, so that they can get used to the idea of it. Then begin to entice them inside using their favorite treat to encourage them. Once they are happy to go inside the carrier, you can start to close the door and keep them inside for progressively longer periods. The goal should be to train your pet to happily stay inside their carrier for at least your total flight time, plus two hours to account for the total time they will spend inside. Remember that your pet will need to be happy and comfortable inside their carrier without input from their owner, so try not to interact with your pet while they are in there.

Up Your Socialization

Before travel, your pet should be comfortable with a whole array of different sights and sounds. How to accomplish that? Socialization! Try exposing your pet to as many new and challenging situations as possible before traveling so that they are ready for anything. This could include taking your pet to parties, traveling to another state with your pet or even hanging out with lots of other pets at a pet meet-up! By socializing your pet well you will be able to ensure that they’re more comfortable with new situations and therefore much more adaptable during travel. Make sure you have a quality leash when socializing your dog by researching the best retractable dog leash

Expose Them to the Airport Before You Even Arrive

One of the scariest things for new pet travelers is the experience of being in the airport. Loud announcements, hundreds of people and other unknown pets make for a stressful experience for even the most well adapted of pets. A great way to help your pet get used to this is by playing sounds of the airport at home to desensitize them to it. This will help your pet feel more comfortable when you arrive to catch your flight.

Pack Pet Travel Essentials

It’s best to not count on being able to find your pet’s favorite ethically sourced low-carb treats when you’re in transit or heading to a new destination. Instead, packing a well stocked travel kit with everything your pet may need is a far better idea. Here’s a list to get you started, at a minimum:

  • Sturdy Leash
  • Extra collar with up-to-date contact information
  • Old familiar blanket or bed
  • Food (bring extra)
  • Water (make sure you have plenty)
  • Food and water bowls
  • Portable water bowl and bottle
  • Treats
  • Toys and chew Items
  • All medication and supplements
  • Brush
  • Baby wipes (for easy cleaning)
  • Puppy pads or disposable litter box
  • Waste removal bags
  • Old towels, paper towels and disinfectant sprays
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Flashlight for nightly walks
  • Vaccination records

At the Airport

You’ve put in the prep work and now it’s finally time to catch that flight! Navigating the airport is your next challenge. Before flying it’s wise to look up the specifics of the airport you will be flying out of and into. Knowledge of pet-relief areas is key, as is knowing the process for flying with a pet.

Flying from a U.S. airport, here are some good general things to know about TSA security procedures.

  • Your pet will never be put through an x-ray machine.
  • You may be asked to remove your pet from its carrier so that it can be put through the x-ray machine.
  • If possible, you will be asked to walk your pet with you through the metal detectors. If this is not possible, your pet will be subject to an extra physical and visual inspection by security officers.
  • It’s best to have a non-metallic leash on hand in your carrier in order to be able to walk through the metal detector without issues.

Remember to leave yourself ample time to ensure that you can complete security screening with your pet, as it can often take longer than doing it without. Get to the boarding gate early, so that you can board before other passengers and settle your pet before take off.

With some smart preparation, flying with a pet does not have to be a stressful experience. Follow these simple ideas and you can look forward to a fun, relaxing flight with your pal.



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