When it comes to travel, flying can be an adventure in and of itself. This goes double for when you decide to bring your pet along for the ride. Whether you’re transporting them to a new locale or simply want them to join in on the vacation fun, many people have had to deal with the ups and downs of flying with pets. And while this experience can be a real headache (have you ever tried to get a cat into a carrier when it doesn’t want to go?), there are ways to ensure that you and your pet have a safe and pleasant flight. So, without chasing our tails, let’s get down to it: here’s everything you need to know about flying with your pet.

Do Your Homework

Different airlines have very different attitudes regarding bringing pets onboard. Before making any plans, it’s time to investigate. See what the policies are for your type of pet, and what the airline requires. If you have something more exotic than a dog or cat, be safe and ask if they can be transported. With all the facts at your fingertips, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what’s best for you and your pet.

Talk to Your Vet

Cute puppy kissing female vet in clinic

It’s important to ensure that your beloved pet is in top form before setting off on a trip. After all, the health and safety of your animal is a major priority, as you wouldn’t want them falling ill while far from home. And while you might enjoy flying, your pet probably doesn’t feel the same way. It can be a traumatic experience that puts a serious strain on them. Make sure that they’re up for flying before booking them a ticket. Once you get the all-clear from your vet, you can get started planning that perfect trip.

Go Direct

If you think being stuck in Coach is a bummer, imagine being crated for the duration of the flight! That’s what most pets have to endure, and it’s not exactly their idea of a great time. Even if they get to stay in the cabin with you, odds are your companion is itching to land and unwind. If you can, try to go only with direct flights. That will cut down on the time your pet has to spend cooped up, and keeps their stress levels low.

Keep Them Comfortable

a cat in its traveling cage

Even the most travel-savvy pets appreciate some creature comforts when they fly. If they need to be crated, make sure they have enough room to move and somewhere cozy to lie. Giving them a favorite toy and cuddly blanket will make the crate more homey. The crate should be well-ventilated and protected from the elements. If your pet is small enough to bring into the cabin, make sure they are secured in their carrier at all times.

Share the Information

We all love talking about our pets. Now you can use this habit to your advantage. As soon as you’re settled on the flight, be sure to let the pilot and flight attendants know about your critter. Some pilots will take special precautions if there are pets onboard (particularly if they’re in with the cargo). Keeping everyone aware of the situation reduces the risks surrounding flying with your pet.

Get Out of There

JACK RUSSELL PARSON TERRIER RUNNING

Once you’ve safely landed and collected your pet, get them out of their crate — FAST! They’ve been stuck on a plane as long as you, without the luxury of an in-flight movie. Find a safe spot to release them, and let your pet have a little taste of freedom. Let them use the bathroom if they need it, and check to make sure they seem all right after their journey. If you have any concerns, get your pet medical attention immediately. No matter what, be sure to pamper them with treats and spoil them rotten. They’ve been through a lot — let them know you appreciate it!

Know of any other tips when flying with pets? Let us know in the comments.

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