Part 1 of our flying with your pet series
Flying With your Pet
The biggest stressor by far to both you and your pet occurs when you realize that you are unprepared at the last minute for a flight that was planned weeks or even months in advance. Adding to that frustration is realizing at that moment, perhaps even hours before your flight, that the stressors present could have been easily remedied had you been aware of what was required of you ahead of time.
Preparedness for flying with your pet comes in two categories; pet safety and airline regulations. In fact, one could argue that the majority of the planning ahead actually revolves around maximizing your pets’ safety during a brand new experience that will last hours, depending on the duration of the flight. As human beings, we understand travel and the frustrations, even the fears or anxieties, associated with it. Our pets do not. It also requires more time and effort to focus on your pets’ safety than it will on the airline regulations. Plan ahead!
The vast majority of flights are planned weeks or months in advance. Utilize this time to adhere to these guidelines. These guidelines aim to provide you with peace of mind in knowing that you and your pet will be allowed on the flight in accordance with the airline regulations and that your pet had been adequately trained for the scenario at hand, thereby maximizing the chances of both you and your furry companion will be traveling safely and with ease.
Let us also keep in mind that not every pet is suited for airplane travel, regardless of satisfying the airline regulations. These scenarios include, and may not be limited to:
-Species differences; some species of animal are incredibly sensitive to stress. Such stress can be fatal. Exotic pets, pocket pets, rodents, and avian species are such examples.
-High levels of uncontrolled anxiety; despite adequate training and pharmaceutical/nutraceutical intervention, some pets are unable to tolerate what is involved with air travel.
-Medication-dependent medical conditions; specific medical conditions require specific medications that are to be administered at a specific time or frequency to avoid catastrophic complications. Diabetes mellitus and epilepsy are two such examples.
-Medical conditions that can become unstable under times of stress and anxiety. Such examples include cardiac disease, endocrinopathies (Addison’s disease or hypoadrenocorticism) and neurologic conditions (seizure disorders).
-Medical conditions that predispose your pet to avoidable complications as a result of prolonged inactivity; paralyzed pets are prone to pressure sores (decubital or decubitus ulcers) or urinary incontinence and urine scalding dermatitis.
If your pet is deemed not suitable for travel then options include pet-sitting with someone you trust, commercial boarding facilities, or veterinary clinic boarding.