Flying With Your Dog
While vacationing with your dog has become popular, there are issues to consider when flying with your dog.
Dog on a Plane
Traveling with your dog
Parents who have flown with children would probably rank it right up there with some form of slow and methodical torture and pet parents are finding that flying with their dog can be an equally trying experience. Because of the popularity of traveling with your dog, many airlines are now allowing small dogs to accompany their owners in the passenger cabin. The rules and regulations guiding this practice are pretty succinct, but it is up to you to be prepared for any contingency.
Veterinary Advice for Dog Travel by Plane
Gregory Hammer, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says dogs should visit their vet at least ten days prior to traveling by air. A veterinary visit is also necessary because most airlines require that you possess a certificate of veterinary inspection prior to bringing your dog on a plane. Hammer also warns, the dog's veterinarian should conduct a thorough physical exam to determine whether your dog is fit for flight.
Be sure and check with your particular airline well in advance for required paperwork. Also note, airlines have restrictions on the number of dogs allowed per flight, so reservations well in advance are recommended.
Preparations for Traveling With Your Dog
It's best to buy a crate rather than rent one from the airline. Dog expert, Cesar Millan says you should practice placing your dog in his crate, gradually increasing his time inside to be comparable to that of your upcoming flight. Cesar also recommends introducing your dog's favorite treats, toys (without the squeakers) and bones in the carrier crate with him in preparation for his flight. By doing this your dog begins to associate the crate with fun, comfort and security.
Veterinarians and dog experts agree, taking a short plane trip is best for your dog's first flight and non-stop flights are also highly recommended. Only a limited amount of food and water should be given prior to the flight to minimize the potential for nausea and vomiting. Many vets will distribute motion sickness, or anxiety medicine, to a dog owner preparing to take their dog on a plane but these drugs come with risks. Tranquilizers and emotional depressants affect your dog's physiological functions and alter his behavior. Your dog's ability to react to stresses such as confusion, temperature and atmospheric changes is limited by these medications, and that can be dangerous.
Flying with dogs need not be a stressful or difficult operation, provided you've prepared in advance. It's a good idea to practice calming your dog with the sound of your voice, and offer treats when he responds. For your flight, bring plenty of paper towels, baby wipes and a disposal bag for clean ups or emergencies. Don't forget to make hotel reservations in advance to insure accommodations that allow dogs. Also, remember to follow the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety regulations when packing for your dog.
With some planning and preparation ahead of time, there is no reason you and your dog can't have an uneventful and pleasant plane trip.
Traveling with you dog
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