2001-Fri Feb 24 03:34:26 MST 2017
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!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Dogs and cats help improve our mental,
social and physical health — and we
have the science to prove it!
We asked our readers to share the funny
things and skillful tricks their dogs will do
to get Milk-Bone® Pill…
It’s more than just cute when your kitty
naps in a box — it’s an instinctive
behavior that’s hardwired in her…
Herding dog, search-and-rescue dog, guide dog, police dog, farm dog — you name it, the German Shepherd can do it.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.