The holidays are coming up, and that means travel plans for a lot of people. Air travel is a great way to get home for the holidays. However, it can be stressful for pets, especially that first time. If you're going to be traveling with your pet, it's time to start planning your trip now. This is particularly important if you're going to be flying and this will be your pet's first flight. Here are four strategies you can use to make air travel easier on your pets, and you.
Get Your Pet's Health Certificate Early
If you're going to be taking your pet on an airplane, you're going to need a current health certificate. Obtaining a health certificate will require a visit to the veterinarian. During the visit, your pet will be given a thorough examination, and its shot records will be checked. If your pet isn't current on its vaccinations and certifications, especially the rabies licensing, the veterinarian will not authorize a health certificate.
Having the proper rabies vaccinations isn't just about protecting your pet. It's about making sure that those around your pet are safe. To make sure you don't run out of time, especially if your pet ends up needing additional vaccinations, or other medical care prior to air travel, be sure you schedule the vet appointment early.
Familiarize Your Pet With Crate Travel
If your pet has never traveled in a crate before, you'll need to familiarize it with the process. Begin by taking your pet for a few short rides in the family car. Once your pet is able to spend a few minutes in the crate without becoming agitated, or sick, extend the travel time. If you know you're going to be in the air for several hours, try to get your pet used to being in the crate for at least an hour. This will be a good starting off place for the trip.
Opt for Shorter Flights
If you're going to be flying with your pet during the holidays, try to opt for shorter flights. Instead of choosing a flight that makes several stops, try to find a non-stop flight to your destination. The constant repeated landings and take-offs can be upsetting for pets, especially if they're not accustomed to the loud noises and hard landings.
Consider a Pet Tranquilizer
If your pet has not adjusted to the crate, or suffers from severe anxiety, you might want to talk to your vet about a pet tranquilizer. Medicating your pet prior to your flight can calm it down enough for it to travel safely and comfortably. Be sure you bring enough to medicate your pet for the return trip home, as well.