How to fly with your pet

With the right preparation, bringing your furry friend on holiday with you can be no-fuss.

With more holiday destinations becoming pet-friendly, you may find your furry friends joining you on a flight, rather than staying at home in a boarding kennel. Here are some tips to make sure it’s a stress-free experience.

Preparing your pet

 Firstly, you’ll need to establish if your pet is suitable for travel. Keep in mind that every travel provider is different, and you should refer to them for specifics. Your pet will have to be a dog or cat, be in good health, be older than eight weeks and not show signs of undue aggression.

Visiting the vet

 Once you have been given the all-clear by the flight company ensure your vet is healthy enough to fly by getting a check-up at the vet.  Snub-nosed cats and dogs, such as pugs or bulldogs are more likely to suffer from respiratory distress and heat stress, which puts them at risk during air travel.

Sedating your pet

 The majority of vets do not recommend sedating your pet for flight and similarly many airlines will not accept a pet that has been sedated. If you are concerned, discuss with your vet and ask about natural calmers if your furry friend is especially hyperactive or anxious.

Organising your pet’s travel crate

 You can hire or purchase a travel crate for your pet, although be aware it must be approved by the International Air Transport Association. To ensure your pet will have a comfy flight make sure the crate has plenty of room for them to stand up fully and lie down inside.

 Make them feel at home in the crate by adding a favourite toy or blanket in there. You can also take them on a few short drives in the crate, so they become comfortable travelling in it.

During the flight

 The check-in process is not too different to that of your own. Arrive at least 90-120 minutes before departure and your furry friend will be taken to the cargo area. Your pet’s flight will be comfortable. They will be in a climate controlled, pressurised space on the plane, which is safe for animals. During the flight, cabin crew will not have access to your pet — they will be loaded in and out by specially trained staff.

After the flight

 After your flight has landed, collect your furry friend at the designated cargo area. It’s a good idea to bring along wet wipes to clean your pet and its container. Let them get some exercise, fresh air and give them their favourite treat.