How to preparing your pet to fly
When I decided to add a Lagotto Romagnolo pet to my household, I searched for a responsible, knowledgeable breeder I thought would breed the qualities I wanted in my new dog. When I found my chosen breeder, I didn’t let the fact that she was in the Midwest, while I live in the MidAtlantic, stop me from applying to be on her petwaiting list.
Families wanting to welcome a new pet into their lives have more options than ever for connecting with the perfect pet. If you’ve found that special new furry family member a few states away, here are some suggestions to help you make sure your pet has a safe and comfortable first flight.
Find Out What You Need for the Flight
As soon as my pet was born, I started making plans to fly to the Midwest and bring her home. But before making any reservations, it’s important to check with your airline to determine if they will fly a pet. Some airlines have restrictions on age, size, and breed type, as well as what type of travel crate is required.
If you plan to have the pet travel with you in the airplane cabin, you’ll need to have that noted on the reservation. Most airlines limit the number of animals allowed in the cabin at one time, so make your reservation as far in advance as possible.
Only small dogs and cats that can fit in special carriers under the seat are allowed in the cabin. There’s usually a fee of $100-$150 in addition to the cost of your ticket. Carriers cost $30 and up. Some airlines may not allow dogs in the cabin at all and will transport them as cargo in a heated and ventilated hold. Learn about specific dog airline travel guidelines before you go.
If the pet is shipped as cargo, you need to take weather and time of year into account as you plan for the pet’s travel, which may be affected by extremely warm or cold temperatures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that some U.S. carriers don’t allow pets to be shipped between May and September, the hottest months, if they’re being transported as cargo.
Be Sure the Pet Is Old Enough
Puppies must be at least eight weeks old and have been weaned for at least five days for air travel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If it’s a small breed dog, there may be weight and age minimums, too.
The CDC requires all dogs entering the United States to be immunized against rabies. Puppies should get general vaccinations at least one month prior to traveling, and rabies vaccines are not given before a pet is three months old. Therefore, dogs entering the U.S. on international flights must be at least 16 weeks old.