Choosing The Proper Pet Carrier When Flying With Your Pet

- May 31, 2018 -

If your travel plans include flying with your pet, one of the first and most important things to consider is the pet carrier. Getting the right carrier for your pet is essential and should not be a last minute purchase. Pets need ample time to adapt to their new "temporary" quarters.

When flying with your pet, the first decision to make is whether the carrier should be hard sided or soft sided. Very small dogs can typically fit in a carrier that will slide beneath the seat in front of you on the plane (inside the cabin). This means a soft sided carrier. The size of the carrier which will fit in this space is dependent upon the airline. Medium to large size pets need to travel beneath the cabin which means a hard sided carrier.

The size of the pet carrier is very important. The proper sized carrier will allow your pet to stand up in the carrier, turn around and lie down. Many pet parents are tempted to "fit" their pet into a soft-sided carrier so they can bring their pet inside the cabin with them. This is a big mistake. Conversely, getting a carrier that is too big will not give your pet the security that it needs. In addition, be sure that the carrier you select has ample ventilation and is comfortable for your pet.

It's recommended to get a pet carrier for your pet well in advance of your trip so that they can get used to it, particularly if your pet is not used to a crate or carrier. This will minimize his or her stress during travel. To allow your pet to get accustomed to their new pet carrier, place the carrier in your home and put some of your pet's favorite toys or blanket it. Allow your pet to go in and out of the carrier at its leisure. The next step would be to put the carrier in your vehicle and place your pet in the carrier. Go on short drives, and then build up to longer ones. This will help your pet feel comfortable traveling in their new carrier.

Once you have selected the right carrier for your pet and they have acclimated to it, it's important to fit your pet with a collar that can't get caught in the carrier door. Affix two pieces of identification on the collar a permanent ID with your name and home address and telephone number and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached.

In addition, attach a travel label to the pet carrier with your name, permanent address and telephone number, final destination, and where you or a contact person can be reached as soon as the flight arrives.

It's also a good idea to make sure that your pet's nails have been clipped to protect against their hooking in the carrier's door, holes, and other crevices.

Following these guidelines will help to ensure that your pet is happy and safe on their flight.


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