Molosser Apparel believes that companionship with your dog is valuable to you both. More time together solidifies your bond. In pursuit of that quality time, we share a few ideas about flying with dogs, which presents both risk and reward. Beware: dogs, cats, birds and bunnies all travel at their own peril.
You may have recently read about an unpleasant dog story with United Airlines. The death of a puppy, delegated to an overhead bin by an unknowing flight attendant, increased attention to their pet protocol. Each year, pet deaths and missing/lost animals are monitored across the range of air carriers. In 2017, 24 pet deaths were reported by domestic airlines.
Flying with Dogs in the Main Cabin
With most airlines, it’s free to fly with your service dog or certified emotional support animal. A carry-on pet can add $100-$125 to your trip’s cost. Your pet must remain secured in a kennel at all times. You compromise legroom with that under seat carrier, typically 17.5” x 12” x .7.5” in a hard shell. And other passengers will hold you in contempt if whimpering starts. You were thinking domestic travel, weren’t you? Travel to Hawaii and outside of the continental 48 states will add more research to your agenda.
You should check with the airlines ahead of your travel. Most require some essential documentation: proof of rabies vaccination, Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (Health Certificate) and Acclimation Certificate.
Cargo Travel for Dogs
Baggage and cargo options preclude certain snub-nosed breeds of dogs and cats. Some larger, strong-jawed dogs are restricted or embargoed by breed alone. Then, medical history, kennel size, age of animal and destination come into review. And finally, the aircraft design or air carrier may not offer these options.
Here’s an excerpt from American Airlines Cargo:
Is your breed clear to travel? Find out here
To ensure the well-being of all animals, the following breeds and mixes of brachycephalic and snub-nosed cats and dogs will not be accepted for travel due to the risks associated with their hereditary respiratory issues. We also cannot accept historically aggressive breeds for safety reasons.
Affenpinscher, American Bully, American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, Boxer (All breeds), Brussels Griffon, Bulldog (All breeds), Cane Corso, Dogue De Bordeaux, English Toy Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Lhasa Apso, Mastiff (All breeds), Pekingese, Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Pug (All breeds), Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel
An example of a specialized service for flying dogs is Pacific Pet Transport. They specialize in managing the logistics of shipping pets around the world. You may want to check around for a similar service in your area.
Best Practices for Flying with Your Dog
- Check with the airlines BEFORE you book your own flight. Policies are in flux based on recent horror stories (United Airlines & American Airlines in particular)
- In a perfect world, your pet should be acclimated to their travel bag, kennel or crate
- Collect your dog’s medical history
- Get the appropriate vaccinations
- Consider the implanted chip
- Get all other paperwork available in advance of your trip
- Pray for clear skies, no flight delays, and no connecting carrier issues to address
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