Traveling anywhere with your cat or dog can be a daunting experience, most often in the initial planning stages, particularly on your first trip. (Then, your first trip internationally due to the added restrictions and preparation that’s often required.) Some of the same questions however keep coming up in my inbox – the answers to which can helpfully clear up some of the gray areas we all tend to encounter before going on trip using public transportation with our cat or dog.
1. How Can I Fly With My Pet?
Well, that depends on where you’re going and from where (e.g. Barcelona to Amsterdam). For specific guides read up on traveling with your pets from the US to Europe and how to bring your pets to the US. Otherwise for most other general cases you’ll need to first find out if your pet is allowed at your destination, and while we’re talking about it, keep in mind that only dogs and cats are considered pets for both airlines and customs
- All other animals such as birds or fish become nearly equivalent to importing wildlife – a separate matter altogether.
Once you find out the requirements for traveling with your pet (this mostly applies to international travel), you’ll likely need to get a series of vaccines and certifications for your animal from a vet or overseeing government body. You’ll then need to find an airline who will fly your pet and call as far in advance of your flight as possible to let them know you’ll be bringing a pet either in the cabin or in cargo. Most carriers only allow two animals per flight per plane so the earlier the better. You should also beware of airline breed restrictions plus keep in mind per pet there’s usually a $100-$250 flying fee.
2. How Should I Prepare My Pets And Can They Have Food Or Water?
For most flights, food, water, or any other organic material is not allowed however for dogs I would recommend placing a small (flour-based) bone in their crate or carrier to keep them occupied. Cats should have their carriers lined with a soft blanket and if possible prepare your feline months in advance for the journey. The same goes for dogs as well. Your pets are unlikely to eat under the stress of traveling in a confined place and spilled water can make matters worse in-transit for your pets. They’ll be find without either for 12-24 hours and be sure to not feed them for 6 hours prior to leaving for the airport.
3. What Can I Do To Make The Experience Less Stressful For My Animals?
I would recommend avoiding flights with connections – even if it means getting a more expensive ticket. Try to avoid the seasons of extreme temperature and tire your pet out with play, a walk, etc. right before you’re ready to leave for the airport. A tired animal is less likely to have the energy to be anxious for long. Finally, be sure to do all of your research in advance (using the appropriate embassy websites) thoroughly to avoid any problems such as getting through customs control upon arrival.