Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
For many of us, the Thanksgiving holiday is an annual act of endurance. After all, the pilgrimage to the family table is fraught with no small measure of stress –– and that’s infinitely more likely when the table in question is far away, like mine. And for those of us who have pets, the prospect of a Thanksgiving sojourn is especially daunting.
Some of us embark on this annual adventure with our full pack in tow. Others, acknowledging their non-superhuman status, take only one or two pets along. But the bulk of us (myself included) leave the whole brood behind. The prospect of crowded airports and holiday mayhem for just a few days away doesn’t bode well for my sanity.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t developed strategies for dealing with the angst, especially since I’ve almost always had cause to travel with pets in the friendly skies.
So for those of you getting ready to take the holiday plunge, here are five tips for flying with pets:
The vagaries of airline rules and restrictions offer the possibility of the single most potentially devastating blow to your travel plans. You’d be surprised at how much you need to know if you’re planning to take your pet aboard a plane. For example, Bulldog breeds and Pit Bull types aren't allowed in cargo on some airlines. Others have weight restrictions.
The location of animal relief areas is a great thing to read up on in advance, such as American Airlines’ partial online list.
I know it’s probably too late for most Thanksgiving travelers, but the Wednesday before and the Sunday after turkey day are the absolute worst days of the year to travel -- for humans and for their pets — due to high travel volume. In December, it's the weekend preceding Christmas Day, which falls on a Tuesday this year. So if you can, try and book less busy days.
As I've mentioned above, some breeds just aren't equipped to fly in cargo. Rather than risk your pet's health — heat exhaustion is one concern when going the cargo route — be sure to check with your veterinarian before you make any plans to fly with your critter.
My general rule is that unless it’s an infrequent experience that can't be avoided, such as moving to a new home, pets who require sedation because of the inherent stress of travel probably shouldn't be flying.
Sedation is stressful on an animal’s body — tranquilizers compromise a pet's ability to adapt to a changing environment — so talk to your vet about whether it's best to skip the stress of travel and make arrangements for your buddy to stay at home.
Check out more opinion pieces on Vetstreet.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Six weeks after being rescued from a
rusty broken down truck, Alice is nearly
unrecognizable with her shiny coat.
Probiotics are becoming more and
more popular with people. Our expert explains
whether they could help pets, too.
From the hairless Xolo to the corded
Komondor, these unique-looking dog
breeds really stand out in the crowd.
Do you know what a snood is or how fast
a wild turkey can fly? Check out our fun
facts to see the surprising answers.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect
on what you love most about your cat —
and to show her some affection…
While it may seem like an awkward
conversation, you shouldn't be afraid to
talk to your vet about your budget.
Before sharing leftover turkey or mashed
potatoes, find out if your favorite holiday
eats are safe or dangerous for…
The Bombay may look like a jaguar, but he’s much more easygoing and laid back than his wild doppelgänger.
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.