If you’re one of the few that already frequently flies with their pet this list should come as no surprise to you. For those who have never flown with their pet or would like to, here are 10 things to think about:

Airports can be Stressful


Flying with your pooch (or cat, or bunny, or bird…) might be more stressful than you think. If your pet has never been to an environment like an airport before do some planning ahead and think of ways that you can make them more comfortable before your trip. Pick out a carrier, bring along some of their favorite treats, and get them as familiar with everything as possible.


Every Airline has their Own Policy

Figuring out your airline’s pet policy can be tricky. Most major carriers have it listed somewhere on their website – but when in doubt it’s best to give the airline a call. There can be restrictions on age, size, type of pet, and how many pets can be on any given flight.


Follow Directions


You’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops before you can fly with your pet, and each trip through check-in, security, and boarding may be a little different. Sometimes they’ll want your pet to go through security in your arms, sometimes they’ll want you to remove any harnesses etc. sometimes they’ll ask you to keep your pet in the carrier. Try to cooperate as best you can and communicate! Saying things like, “She’s friendly” or “How do you want me to go through with her?” can be helpful, especially in situations where the person might not be 100% comfortable with pets.


Don’t Even Think About Flying your Pet Cargo

Flying your pet cargo (even in ones that are advertised to be pressurized and climate-controlled) is risky business. One glorious day airlines will let us buy seats (or even a whole row!) for our beloved companions that are too big to fit under the seat in front of us. Until then, find an alternative, ANY ALTERNATIVE, to flying your pet “under” the plane. It’s just not worth it.


Make Sure your Pet is Secure


Our pet’s are pretty smart and the last thing we’d want is for them to escape at the airport! Make sure you give your carrier a test-run, and have a backup harness and leash with you… just in case.


Be Prepared

Have ID tags on your pet, bring some of your pet’s food (enough for a meal or two just in case your travel plans get messed up), a bowl or two, your pet’s medications, and anything you’ll have to use in the next 48 hours. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your pets medical record on hand. All these items should go with you in the cabin, not with your luggage!


What About the Toilet?


Most major airports have potty areas for pets, but do your homework! Sometimes these areas are located OUTSIDE of security, making impossible to visit if you’re on a short layover. There are a growing number of airports with pet-relief areas inside the terminal. Your pet with be forever grateful if you plan head for this, especially if you plan to be traveling for more than a couple hours!


Bon Voyage!

As a final thought, pet’s are family, it’s only natural to want to bring them along with us when we travel. The good news is, it’s getting easier and easier to travel with your pet – so happy travels!