Traveling with pet is now at risk due to the increase in pet ownership, many people are new to both pet parenting and traveling with pet. Over 23 million American households (roughly one in five overall), according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), adopted a pet during the epidemic. And currently 37% of pet owners take their animals on vacation, up from just 19% ten years ago. According to the US Department of Transportation, more than two million animals fly every year.
The post-pandemic surge in travel demand is expected to cause these numbers to soar year after year. Along with the typical road travels, many dogs are now taking their first flights.
1. Not giving sufficient time to career training
The most crucial stage in traveling with your tiny pet is carrier training. Before a flight, the goal is to make your pet feel secure and at ease within the carrier. This phase requires time, patience, and plenty of goodies, so it shouldn’t be skipped. Before your pet takes its first long-distance travel, either internationally or domestically, you should devote at least two to three months to daily carrier training. Otherwise, the journey may be a tense one for the animal.
For success, daily repetition is essential. I spent at least 20 minutes every day for three months before Roger W.’s first international flight to Paris making the airline the most thrilling location on earth. I filled the carrier with his favorite toys and goodies to coax him inside and give it a smell.
As soon as your dog enters the carrier voluntarily for the third or fourth time, I advise progressively sealing it up. To start cautiously, have your dog explore the carrier for a few minutes each day. Every day, training time is extended in an effort to build the ship into a secure haven. Your dog will fare better on the flight if it feels more at ease inside the carrier.
2. Not checking the prerequisites for the return flight
Most people who want to take their dogs on overseas trips concentrate on one-way research, such as how to get their dog to Paris or Rome. Up until the point where their return trip is practically upon them, they undertake very little investigation.
You must make sure you fulfill the standards for your dog to return to the US, which may vary depending on where you’ve been with it, unless you’re moving permanently. It’s also possible that your state of arrival has extra criteria.
It’s critical to realize that whether you can bring your dog back to the US ultimately depends on where she has been. Dogs imported from “high-risk” rabies-endemic nations, such as Brazil, Cuba, China, Russia, etc., are temporarily prohibited until January 2023. If you are attempting to bring your pet back into the US from one of these nations, it must have an ISO-compatible microchip and either a current, valid US-issued rabies vaccination certificate or a CDC Dog Import Permit. Additionally, upon arriving at one of the 18 recognized airports with a CDC quarantine station, it must be at least six months old and healthy.
3. Making the first flight for your dog an international one
Everyone finds long journeys challenging, and your little pet traveler is no different. No matter how sure you are that your tiny dog will be able to traverse the world, its first journey should never be a long-distance international flight. It’s recommended to acclimate your dog into the experience by taking at least one domestic trip before going abroad for its sake. Before agreeing to a 10-plus-hour travel from Los Angeles to Paris, I took Roger W. on four flights, including ones from San Francisco to Los Angeles (and back) and from California to NYC.
Dogs, unlike people, have no notion where they’re going or how long they have to spend in the air. As a result, the more flight experience you can give your tiny dog, the better it will do on the big (long) trip day.
Your pet should be comfortable with not only the act of traveling but also the atmosphere of the airport as a whole. For instance, it’s beneficial to get your tiny dog used to the sounds of the airport, the people, the TSA screening, and the boarding procedure. All in all, comfort comes from familiarity.
4. Selecting a flight with many layovers
Although it may be tempting to choose a route with several layovers in order to save money, you should always fly directly when traveling with a small pet. Once more, they are unsure of their destination and the estimated travel time. Even a little stopover over a long day of travel might cause your dog’s small body additional stress.
I’m frequently asked if it’s preferable to take many short flights with a layover or one long journey. Your dog will find the trip simpler the shorter it is. It can reset and re-energize for the following travel day with a few days of rest. Additionally, before getting to the destination, you both get to tour a separate location!
5. Don’t use up all of your dog’s energy
Exercise your pet to the point of exhaustion before taking off. A dog that is exhausted is a happy dog, as the proverb goes. To guarantee a smooth, comfortable flight, make it a habit to walk it before each one. The flight will be more comfortable the longer it can sleep on the aircraft.
However, before increasing the duration, carefully consider your dog’s general health and the outside temperature. Obviously, your dog shouldn’t spend an additional 15 minutes outside in extremely hot or cold weather.