Saturday, June 3, 2017

Can Fido fly? - Your Dog travels in the Cargo Hold

In my last blog, Travel by Airplane - Dogs that travel in the main cabin I discussed travel with your pet under 20 pounds, flying with you in the main cabin. In this blog, I want to continue providing information on Airline Travel with dogs. 

If your pet is large and weighs in access of 18 pounds, he will need to fly in a crate as cargo.

Every airline has different procedures for dealing with pets. All that allow pets in their cargo hold will require that you have a IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved hard case pet carrier. There are also strict guidelines on the size of kennel for each dog. To measure your dog and make sure you purchase the correct size crate for him, follow the guidelines on the airlines website. I have decided not to include a sizing guide here, as different airlines have different requirements on their sizing. 

Purchase the right Sky Kennel 

The best source of information about traveling with a particular airline is their own website. They will have a page specifically for their requirements. You can print out the page and check off each requirement to make sure you understand and have the requirements that they need. Please be sure to carefully review your airlines pet policy and ask as many questions as you need answered to be clear about their guidelines. Once you know what size of crate your dog will need, you can purchase it at a local store or online. Most Airlines will require that the kennel is secured by wing nuts and screws, so be sure not to buy a crate that uses snaps. Kennels with snaps might open during travel and you definitely do not want that.

You can go to our website to find our favorite products for travel at Make sure you purchase the Sky Kennel in advance and allow some time to get your dog familiar with it. We recommend you remove the door and feed your dog inside the crate for several days to make him comfortable. It is also a good idea to allow him to sleep in the crate for several nights prior to your travel.

Required labeling

You are required to have information labels attached to your pet's crate for his safety. Do a web search or call your local Pet or Feed store and ask if they have any CS-345 Labels orLive Animals” stickers. Tell them they go on your dog’s Crate for Airline shipping.

Federal regulations require that each kennel be properly labeled with the words "LIVE ANIMAL" on the top and at least one side of the kennel in 1-inch (2.5 cm) letters. The kennel must also have orientation labels. Indicate the top with arrows or "This End Up" on at least two sides.

You will also want to have labels with your dog’s name and your contact information. Be sure to put your mobile number, not your home phone, on the crate and also an address of another emergency contact, in case you cannot be reached. 
In addition to the label, make sure your dog wears his collar with an ID tag. Double-check to verify that the number is your cell phone number and not your home number. It is also a very good idea to have your pet chipped.

During Flights

While cargo area is climate-controlled, temperatures can and do vary. Therefore airlines may deny pets traveling in the cargo hold during extreme cold or hot weather conditions. You don’t have to worry about air pressure. Every compartment of every plane is pressurized for safety. If your dog is particularly sensitive to temperature or has breathing issues, the cargo area may not be safe. Pets that are brachycephalic –those with short muzzles and flat, “snub noses,” such as boxers, pugs and bulldogs – are more susceptible to breathing problems, and may have a hard time adjusting to air pressure changes during flight. If you choose to fly with your snub-nosed pet, check with your airline, as some have banned brachycephalic pets completely from commercial flights. 

Other considerations

IMPORTANT: Do not feed your animal in the two hours prior to departure, as a full stomach can cause discomfort for a traveling pet.

The airline will want to see your vaccine records and any additional paperwork required for traveling outside of the US. Be aware that in some countries bringing Fido may include a quarantine for your dog. If your flight has layovers, you will want to find out how the pet will be taken care off at the staging area between flights. We highly recommend to find the flight with the least legs, so there are less chances of your dog getting left at a baggage area or not being put on the same flight as you are.

Upon arrival at your final destination, you will usually pick up your dog in the over-sized baggage area, but it is a good idea to check with your airline upon check-in to clarify this procedure.

Your dog Flies WITHOUT you.

Make sure you ask: “Will my pet be traveling on the same plane as I am?”

This might seem like a silly question however the flight that you are taking might not be equipped for live animals, therefore they might put you and your dog on different flights.

Don’t assume that when you travel with your dog, your dog must travel at the same time as you do. That might not be the case. Sometimes having your dog travel to your destination before you arrive might be a good option. You might take a multiple stop flight that would be too long for your dog. Or you might be in too much of a hurry to get to the airport and trying to get your dog situated.

You can put your dog by himself on a flight to your destination and have someone at the other end pick him up. A lot of times you can find a better flight for your dog then you can for your dog and people. If you do not have someone that can go to the airport and pick up your dog for you, there are companies that can pick up your dog for you.

One option is find a full-service boarding kennel at the location that you are flying to. Many offer an airport pickup service. For a fee, they will go to the airport and pick up your pet on your behalf and take your pet back to the boarding kennel until you get there. Now all you have to do is fly to your destination and go pick up your pet and start your vacation.

Another option is a local pet sitting service, many will offer transportation for dogs. Research online for Pet services and call around to find the right service to get your pet pick-up at the destination airport.

I hope this information is helpful to you or someone you know. Please share my blog posts on your Facebook feed, or other social sites.

Until next time: Keep Your Paws on the Road.

Bee Walker

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1 comment:

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