Are you planning a long summer vacation including your pets? Relocating? Share dual residency? If airline travel is in your near future, consider these helpful hints to prepare your pet for the experience.
- Plan well in advance. Airlines often have different requirements however, many require a documented veterinary examination and proof of vaccination prior to allowing pets to fly. If traveling overseas, the process of organizing paperwork and adhering to travel protocol may take 6 months or more to prepare. Longwood Veterinary Center’s Dr. Wendy Freeman has extensive experience in domestic and international travel. If you are planning a trip, contact her for a consult today. She will help guide you through the entire process.
- Acclimate your pet to the carrier that will be used to transport them. Often injuries occur from pets trying to claw or bite through their carrier. The carrier should be viewed by your pet as a safe and comfortable place well before the flight.
- Withhold food 6 hours prior to the flight. This can help to prevent nausea and vomiting.
- If your pet suffers from a chronic medical condition or anxiety consult your veterinarian regarding medication protocols that will best accommodate your pet’s individual needs.
- Take into consideration the ambient temperature during your proposed time of travel. It is not safe to fly with your pets if they will be exposed to excessive heat or cold.
Recent news reports have informed us of several deaths occurring in pets flying commercial airlines. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported 26 animals died and 22 were injured during flights in 2016. To put this into perspective, however, this statistic averages to one animal for every 10,000 transported. Flying continues to be safe for animals, but care should be taken to prepare ahead and make sure your pet is as healthy as possible prior to travel.
If you travel with your pet as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), some airlines now require a Veterinary Health Form confirming the animal is healthy, vaccinated, and trained to behave properly in a public setting. We regret we cannot speculate as to the behavior of your pet outside of the veterinary office nor predict how it will handle the experience of flying. Therefore, we cannot sign a declaration on such a form. We also are not qualified to determine if an individual has a medical need to travel with an Emotional Support Animal. We cannot sign a form that declares your need for such an animal, it is necessary for you to contact your physician.
If you have further questions regarding airline travel, please feel free to call us.
Written By: Tara Corridori, LVT
Edited By: Corrina Parsons, DVM