TRAVELING WITH YOUR PET

Traveling with your pet (fluffy friend) is a lot of work! But, If you’re really committed, I say do it! The process is tidies, but oh how amazing does it feel to hug your bear in the middle of a flight. I got to be thousands of feet above the air with my favorite little soul… Sawyer. I think amongst my favorite things this past year, this adventure was the best.

Firsts things first: Pick the city to which you wish to visit with your pet-friend. Make sure this is a safe city for pup and pet-friendly.

Would you be able to able to walk the pup out? Where are you staying? ahh, so many questions!

CHOOSING THE RIGHT AIRLINE

Most importantly is selecting the right airline to travel with your pup. I suggest to call the airline before you book. Why? Most airlines do not accept dogs period. Shocker! Airlines will either accept service or emotional support animals only. A few will ONLY accept service animals for the handicap. When I originally booked my flight to Spain, I booked a round trip with a connecting flight to London using British airways and I sadly lost my ticket because British Airways does not accept ANY emotional support animals. I had to book another flight using Air Europa who accepts both kind of support animals, as long as you provide the proper documentation and the pup weighs 8kg = 18/19 pounds.

Airlines will always ask for documentations (each of them differently) and the weight of your pup cannot exceed the limit. Sawyer rounds up almost a full 20 pounds, but luckily, I had no issues at the door. Though I wouldn’t cross my fingers and wish for luck!

Airlines will always ask you to submit documentation at least 48 hours before your travel day. When you travel internationally I suggest you send documents 4 days before your flight, just in case you’re missing anything you have extra days to get the documents that are needed.

If your pup is a service/emotional support animal (the difference between the two here) your pet is more than likely traveling for FREE and on the cabin. If your pet is not any of these two, you are more than likely to pay a fee to bring it as a carry-on (which means pet will have to be underneath your seat inside a pet-travel bag or be transferred as cargo).

In my case, Sawyer is my emotional support animal, he was carried on my lap on our flight with Iberia and on our way back home from Spain with Air Europa though he had to be inside his travel bag on our way back. He was very tired, so luckily he slept almost the entire flight on our way back and didn’t seem to be bothered by being inside his bag… though he hates it! Ha!

THE DOCUMENTS

Okay, so now that you have selected the airline in which you and your pup will be traveling in, let’s talk documents.

If your pet is traveling outside the US or other countries, you’re going to have the do the following:

  1. YOU NEED TO VISIT THE VET – the vet will give you a certification that states the pet has been given the proper shots like rabies (which must be given to pet 21 days BEFORE traveling outside the US/before flying because some countries will not permit the dog to enter if it’s done after) and a list of all the shots the dog has previously taken.

Documents to have from your doctor no matter what:

  • Certificate of rabies
  • List of vaccinations
  1. USDA DOCUMENTS – For this, you will have to visit department of Animal and Agriculture in your city. You’ll take the documents provided by your vet to this department and they will either approve or deny the release of your pet traveling outside the US. I found the certificate of health documents here.

* This document needs to be signed 10 days prior to traveling. Be sure to visit the doctor a few days before travel date (preferably a week) and then visit the department*

You’re going to need documents for the airline and for the country to which you are visiting/traveling to.

Most common documents for emotional support animals are:

  • Note from your own medical doctor stating you need an emotional support animal/proof of medical license from doctor
  • Certificate of Rabies/signed my USDA
  • List of vaccinations/medical records
  • Behavior guidelines (required by some airlines)
  • Animal Sanitation (required by some airlines)

Every country/city will require different documentation as will the airline in which you are traveling in. Checkout this website for the documents needed per city.

DAY OF TRAVELING

Arrive early to the airport at least 2 hours ahead even if you have TSA!! Pup will also be traveling TSA if you are, so I highly suggest it. As opposed to going to a self-check-in, be sure to go straight to the counter. Airline will have to personally check you in since you’re traveling with a pet. Be prepared to have all documents in hand as they will be asking for them when you’re boarding as well.

Since we were traveling early in the morning, we skipped breakfast. I gave Sawyer a larger meal the night before. The morning of the flight I went his regular morning walks. Then I gave him chewy treats that relaxed him A LOT (normally he’s hyper). These chewy treats just helped him relax. I bought _____. They honestly helped so much, he was very very chill. I initially had the muscle on him, but noticed he wouldn’t try to bark so I removed it. He didn’t bark once!

If you feel as though your pup is feeling nervous, I would carry the pet. I did a few times with Sawyer just to remind him I was there every step of the way.

WHAT TO BRING INSIDE THE PLANE:

I’m the type that likes to be safe rather than sorry. Since we had a 9 hour flight ahead of us, I brought the following items:

  • 4 pee pads
  • Treats
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Travel wet food (normally I give him Blue so I got him…)
  • Wipes
  • 3 plastics bags (just in case!)
  • Small blanket

The entire time I just wanted him to enjoy the trip and be calm. I had a feeling he was going to love it. Sawyer didn’t even flinch on the lift off… unlike me… thankfully I had him there to hug.

 

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