By Gina Davis, DVM
Air travel with our pets, our four-legged family members, has become quite common. The following tips may help make your pet’s flight as successful and safe as possible:
§ Make your travel plans and schedule your pet’s airline reservations well in advance to ensure that your pet can travel on your chosen airline
§ Book non-stop flights whenever possible
§ Check with your airline for animal transport protocol and ask questions (do they keep the cargo hold air-conditioned while the plane is on the tarmac?)
§ Get your pet used to an airline-approved crate well in advance of the flight. This will help decrease his anxiety once the flight is underway
§ Attach a photograph of your pet to the crate along with your pet’s name, contact person(s) at flight origination and destination, and phone numbers—cell phone numbers, too. Keep a copy of your pet's photo with you
§ Keep copies of medical records (rabies certificate, license, health certificate and a list of any medications your pet takes)
§ Stay with your pet as long as possible before he is boarded onto the plane. Once you are aboard, tell the flight attendants that you have a pet on the flight!
§ We advise against the use of tranquilizers for pets traveling in the cargo area. Tranquilizers decrease your pet’s ability to regulate his own temperature, which lead to heat stroke (warm weather) or hypothermia (cold weather)
§ Make sure your pet has a name tag on her collar with at least two phone numbers (origin and destination, including area codes). We also recommend having a microchip implanted to act as a permanent method of identification. Check with your veterinarian about this safe, quick procedure
§ Have a wonderful trip!
*Dr. Gina Davis practices small animal medicine at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. These tips from Dr. Davis are intended solely to provide general information about animal health. We regret that we cannot give medical advice via the internet, e-mail, mail or telephone. For specific questions about the health of your pet, please consult your veterinarian.