It’s an exciting moment when you get a new addition to the family in the shape of a new puppy, but if you have to travel by air shortly after you have taken delivery of your bundle of joy, it can get you in a panic when you think about the journey ahead.
Here are some suggestions on how you can prepare yourself and your puppy for boarding a plane and taking to the air as part of your travel plans, including why you need to check in with your airline beforehand, what to pack for the journey, and reasons why you should aim to get on board as early as possible.
Meeting rules and regulations
When it comes to traveling on flights with pets it always requires a bit of planning and organization, especially as all airlines have fairly strict rules and regulations about bringing a pet like a puppy on board with you.
One major criterion that you will need to fulfil if you want your puppy to travel with you in the cabin is to check with the airline what their pet size requirements are.
The vast majority of the time, airlines will insist that your puppy is stored safely in their carrier underneath the seat in front of you. If your puppy is likely to be too large to meet that travel requirement you will need to clarify the exact dimensions permitted for a carrier and what arrangements are permissible in these circumstances.
It is never a good idea to turn up at the airport hoping everything will be fine. Always check the individual airline’s pet travel policy to see how your puppy sizes up.
Paperwork in order
Another thing that you will need to check with the airline at the time of making your booking is what sort of fees you will have to pay and what documentation you will be asked to show when you arrive at the check-in.
Your pet will need a passport that confirms they are in good health and up to date with its inoculations.
Even if the airline has not asked to see this paperwork when you make the booking it is always advisable to bring it with you, just in case there is a problem when you arrive at the check-in or pass through security.
Dogs are not a lot different to human passengers when it comes flying, some handle the stress of travelling with ease, and some get very anxious and wound up about the prospect of being in a strange environment like flying in a plane.
The airline will expect you to take responsibility for the behaviour of your puppy and that means they will assume that you have your pooch well trained and relaxed about your travel plans.
If you think your dog won’t handle flying and it could be too stressful for both of you, think carefully about putting each other through that experience.
Pack for every eventuality
No matter how well behaved your puppy might be it makes a lot of sense to ensure that you pack a bag for your dog that includes everything they might need for the flight.
Some food, water, and treats should be included in your checklist, and bring their favourite toy along with you so that you can try to keep them happy and occupied throughout the journey.
Extra lining for the carrier
Regardless of how well behaved and toilet trained your puppy normally is, they are highly likely to get more anxious than normal, which means there is always the prospect of a slight toilet accident happening.
Be prepared for that scenario and line their carrier with extra absorbent padding, and maybe put an extra blanket in too, so that they are as comfortable as possible while travelling.
Wear them out beforehand
There is a good chance that your puppy will travel better if they are tired and happy to sleep for some of the ways.
The best way to achieve that aim is to take them for a long walk before you head to the airport. They should then be nice and calm rather than wound up when you arrive for your flight.
Plan a few comfort breaks
When you are planning your travel itinerary for the journey be sure to plan for a few toilet breaks as frequently as possible.
Many airports recognize this requirement and you should be able to find a designated potty stop area in the airport.
Use this facility as one of your stops along the way, to keep the prospect of a toilet accident to a minimum.
Don’t be late for the flight
It can be stressful arriving late for your flight and being one of the last to the board is never a good idea if you are travelling with a puppy.
Always aim to board as early as possible so that you and your puppy will get as much time as possible to get settled in before take-off.
Try to travel at the right time
Most dogs like the comfort of a regular routine and that mean they often expect their food and walks at a certain time each day.
Travel plans can easily disrupt this routine but if you can plan the flight in between these times and keep things as normal as possible, this will often help your puppy travel better.
Having said that, you might want to consider skipping a meal scheduled for a few hours before you fly as your dog might suffer from an upset stomach if they don’t travel that well.
Use your knowledge of your dog’s temperament and ability to travel to decide when and if you feed your puppy before the flight.
Sedatives are not always the solution
It is always best to consult your vet before considering the idea of giving your puppy a sedative so that they sleep through the flight.
Sedatives and medication are not necessarily a good mix with flying and it could potentially create more problems than solutions.
If you really think your puppy won’t cope without medication, speak to your vet about the options, but if you can avoid giving them anything, it is often better for your dog in the long run.