Thinking about flying with your dog to Toronto, Tuscany or Thailand? It's possible. We've got eight tips on how to make international flights as easy as possible for both you and your pup. Start well in advance:
1. Know the Rules
Every country has its own rules for dogs entering, so learn those rules early. Go to the State Department website to find the link to the country's consulate or embassy. Be sure to find out if the country prohibits certain breeds or requires a quarantine period.
2. Pick the Right Airline
Airlines have different rules about whether dogs are allowed on planes as carry-on or cargo. Don't buy your ticket until you check with the airline's policies.
3. Reserve a Place
If your dog qualifies to travel in the cabin, this is the ideal option. When you are flying with a dog, reserve your pet's place as soon as possible. Certain airlines limit the number of pets allowed on board.
4. Avoid Connecting Flights
Book a nonstop flight when possible. Avoid selecting connecting flights when your dog is traveling in the cargo section, and avoid crowded travel days.
5. Gather the Paperwork
Your dog will likely need proof of a rabies vaccine and a health certificate from a veterinarian. Read the fine print. Some countries require the certificate be issued within a few days of travel and/or U.S. Department of Agriculture endorsement. Your airline may require a certificate issued within 10 days of the flight regardless of the requirements of the destination country.
6. Practice Using the Dog Carrier
Your dog needs to travel in an airline-approved carrier. Get your dog accustomed to it early by using it in the house or on car trips. Put their favorite blanket in it or try placing treats in it occasionally.
7. Identify Your Dog
When flying with your dog, it's important to write your name and contact information on his carrier and put "live animal" stickers on all sides with directional arrows showing airline personnel which way is right side up. Chip your dog (mandatory if you are going to the EU) and attach a tag to his collar with your destination contact numbers.
8. Pre-Flight Prep
Your dog shouldn't eat for at lesat six hours before flight. Provide water, and take your dog for a walk before traveling. For long flights, attach a water dish to the carrier's door and pick up extra bottled water at the airport to keep you both hydrated.