Travel by Airplane

White dog in a carrier next to luggage.

Air travel is of most concern to pet owners. You can minimize the chances of an unpleasant experience by following a few guidelines. Federal regulations require that pets be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least 5 days before flying. Generally, a health certificate (which is not more than 10 days old) must be available before pets will be permitted to fly. A valid rabies vaccination certificate will also be required. Contact the airline well in advance for specific regulations and to secure your pet's reservation. Try to book a nonstop, midweek flight and avoid plane changes if possible. During warm weather periods choose early morning or late evening flights. In colder months, choose midday flights. Arrive at the airport early, exercise your pet, personally place it in its crate, and pick up the animal promptly upon arrival. Do not take leashed animals on escalators.

Transport crates, available from most airlines or pet shops, must:

  • Be large enough to allow the animal to stand (without touching the top of the cage), turn around, and lie down.
  • Be strong and free of interior protrusions, with handle or grips.
  • Have a leakproof bottom that is covered with plenty of absorbent material.
  • Be purchased in advance so the pet can become acclimated to the crate prior to travel.
  • Be appropriately and clearly labeled. Include your name, home address, home phone number, and destination contact information, as well as a designation of "Live Animals," with arrows indicating the crate's upright position.
  • Be ventilated on opposite sides, with exterior rims and knobs so that airflow is not impeded.

Ask your veterinarian for specific feeding instructions. For your pet's comfort, air travel on an almost empty stomach is usually recommended. The age and size of your pet, time and distance of the flight, and your pet's regular dietary routine will be considered when feeding recommendations are made.

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  • "We have been taking our dogs to this clinic for nearly 30 years. The staff clearly loves animals. We were sad when the old vets decided to retire, but are pleased to find that the new vet, Dr. Lee, is carrying on their commitment to excellent and compassionate care."
  • "I actually called this vet by accident but I do not regret it in the slightest. Over the 5 months I have been taking Shadie here it has been nothing but the best experiences. They did everything they could for her and I never felt pressured to do something I didn't want to.

    Yesterday I lost my baby after a week of struggling to find answers. Dr. Lee was always kind and open to my question and explaining everything that was going in. Today he even called me personally to offer his condolences for my loss and ensuring he would get my baby's ashes for me. I have never been to a better vet. Thank you for everything you have done for Shadie and when I'm ready for another baby I'll be sure to come here."
  • "All of the staff at this vets office are so very compassionate to both our animals and also to us. We have been going to this office with our pets for about 25 years. I have been to other vets in years past as they were closer to our home and were sorely disappointed. We rushed back to this office and have never looked back. We will never take our pets to any other office. A huge thank you to all the staff for being the best."

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