Traveling with Pets within the US

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Traveling with pets can be stressful. You may worry about your pet’s safety, inconveniencing other passengers, or simply the logistics of getting Fido from point A to point B. While pet travel can involve some unavoidable issues, knowing the rules can help make the ride as smooth as possible.

Pets in the Cabin
Depending on the size and type of your pet, you may be able to bring him into the cabin. According to the FAA, each airline is allowed to decide this. If the airline does allow pets in the cabin, certain rules must still be followed. These include:

Your pet is considered carry-on baggage and must be small enough to fit this title. Thus, while traveling in the cabin with a Maltese is feasible, traveling with a Great Dane is not. Your pet’s container must be small enough to fit underneath the seat and must not block the path to the main aisle.

Book Pet-Friendly Accommodation 

If you want to travel with your pets, you should book pet-friendly accommodation. Most of the popular hotels, vacation rentals are offers pet-friendly accommodation.

Like other carry-on luggage, your pet must be properly stored before the airplane takes off. He must remain stored while the airplane is moving on the tarmac and for both takeoff and landing. Based on their own discretion, an airline may require that a pet remains in his container the entire flight.

Some airlines only allow certain pets. They may also limit the number of pets you are allowed to bring with you into the cabin.

Depending on the airline, there may also be a policy that your pet be harmless, odorless, and doesn’t offend fellow passengers.

Most airlines will require that you show proof of your pet’s health. Usually, a recent health certificate issued by a veterinarian will suffice.

Most airlines will charge an additional fee to travel with a pet. Inform the airline at the time you make the flight reservation that you’ll be traveling with a pet and ask for the fee amount.

Service Animals
Service animals, such as working dogs, are not considered “pets” and are allowed to travel in the cabin with their passengers. There is no limit on the number of service animals a person can have per flight and, along these lines, a service animal doesn’t need to be confined. However, there are some limitations.

According to the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, airlines are under no obligation to allow certain service animals such as pigs, ferrets, miniature horses, and goats, just to name a few. Other exotic service animals, such as monkeys, are allowed at the airline’s discretion.

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Pets in the Cargo Hold
If your pet is not allowed in the cabin, you will be required to place them in the cargo hold in order for them to fly. While this can make owners quite nervous, the following tips can help make your pet as safe as possible:

Make Sure Your Pet is in Good Health
If your animal is in poor health, the added stress of flying can be dangerous. Thus, before your trip, take Fido on his own trip to the veterinarian and make sure he is healthy and in good shape for travel.

Avoid Layovers
Choosing a flight with a direct route will limit the stress your pet may feel by being transferred to a different plane.

Purchase a Good Crate
A pet crate is “fly-ready” when it is sturdy, has a waterproof bottom, adequate ventilation, water/food container, spring-locked doors (with cable ties for extra protection), metal hardware, and disabled wheels. A crate should also be roomy enough for your pet to stand up and turn around.

Provide Visible Identification.
You must place a “Live Animal” and directional stickers on your crate before you travel. Additional information that should be visible includes the name of the pet, your name, your phone numbers, temperamental issues, medical problems, vet’s name, and number, and a photo of your pet.

Say Yes to Water and No to Drugs
Your pet should be hydrated before takeoff (and frozen water should be placed in the crate bowl), but not tranquilized. Drugging a pet prior to flying is dangerous. It is so dangerous that many airlines will not allow your pet on the flight if he has taken tranquilizers.

Traveling with pets has gotten more convenient in recent years, but it is still far from stress-free. Calling your airline and asking about their pet policy will help you “unleash” at least some of your worries.

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