Travelling with your pets can pose risks to the health and safety of the animal. Thankfully, the combination of restrictions put into place by airlines and federal organizations can ensure that your pet can travel with you safely. The first thing to know before travelling with your pet is that your animal will need to be in a kennel. Small animals, generally ones that which are less than ten pounds; are allowed to be transported as carry on luggage in the kennels. Larger animals will need to travel in the cargo hold. The kennel needs to meet airline standards before it can be used. The basic rules are simple. There must be enough space in the container for your animal to stand, lay and be able to turn around. This will help ensure that your pet will be as comfortable as possible over the course of the flight. There must also be significant ventilation as the air at higher altitudes will be much more difficult for your animal to breathe. Short snouted pets, such as pugs, are warned strongly against flying as their shorter nasal passages make breathing especially difficult. The kennel should be marked with relevant information such as: owner’s name, address, phone number, pet’s name, how to reach you or whoever is picking up the pet at the destination and feeding schedule (if it is a longer flight). Also, this information should be in legible, large print. The floor of the kennel should be absorbent. Most of the time you can find kennels that will meet all of these standards easily at pet stores or through airlines.

There is much more to flying with your pet then just the kennel. Make sure you take into account the overall health of your pet. Airlines will require vaccinations, medical certificates and other such measures to be in place before your animal can fly. Some of these standards need to be met as far as six months before your flight, and others need to be made within ten days of take-off. Be sure to check with your specific airline well in advance of making your trip as the rules are different from company to company. It is also important to closely check the procedure that needs to be followed at your destination. Many destinations, especially if you are travelling out of the country, will require your pet to be quarantined, or to meet different standards then the airline uses. Make sure you check on the restrictions for your destination well before you commit to bringing your pet along for your trip.

Another important factor to take into account is the time of year in which you will be travelling, and subsequently, the climates that you will be facing throughout your trip. If your pet is not small enough to carry-on, he or she will be in the cargo hold. Cargo holds are not temperature controlled. This means that the temperatures can reach extremes of both hot and cold. For the most part it is not recommended to allow your pet to travel if the temperature is over 85 degrees, or under 45 degrees. The extreme weather can combine with the thin air to make your pet extremely uncomfortable and possibly in danger if it flies with you.

If all of these things fall into place, then you are good to go. At the very least, with this information you can start preparing your pet to travel. Buy your kennel well in advance, and let your pet use it to rest in occasionally so that he or she can become comfortable in it. It is also very important to pack for your pet, not just yourself. He or she will need to have medications, first aid materials, treats, toys, medical information, identification materials, bowls, food, a leash and grooming materials. You should also pack a current photo of your pet in case it gets lost. For easy access, you should pack these items in their own bag so that you do not have to go searching through your luggage to find them. The morning of the flight, be sure to get your pet ready to travel. You must feed the pet within four hours of your scheduled flight. You will be asked to sign a form certifying that it has been fed before it will be loaded. It is also important to make sure your pet is on the same flight as you to help avoid confusion if there is an emergency. When you get on the plane, make sure that the pilot and at least one flight attendant know that your pet is in the cargo hold. If an accident occurs you would not want your pet left in with the cargo while the plane is evacuated. If the staff knows your pet is with the cargo, they can take care of it.

Following these rules can help you to rest at ease knowing that your pet will be safe and comfortable flying with you to your next destination. Have the leash ready when you arrive as your animal will want to get out and stretch just as much as you. Vacationing with your pet can be a very fun and rewarding time. Be sure to take the necessary measures to keep your pet safe, and you will both be able to enjoy the trip.