Sedating a puppy for air travel
Once you get off the plane at your destination, the gate attendants can usually tell you where the nearest "potty stop" is for your pet. While some lucky pets get to fly in the cabin with their owners, most animals move through the airline system as unaccompanied cargo or excess baggage — and that means flying in the pressurized cargo holds below.For these pets the risks are greater, and the trip is much more nerve-racking for you.
Ask for visual confirmation from an airline staffer that your pet is OK.If you ask nicely, most airline staff will be happy to help you.The Air Transport Association, the trade group for the nation's airlines, offers information on its "Air Travel for Your Pet" section.The ATA details how to prepare your pet for air travel, how to set up the carrier and how to check on your pet en route.Your airline will also have its own information and policies on its website, so check for them as well.If your pet is healthy, has the ability to breathe normally and is small enough to fit under the airline seat in the passenger compartment, the trip will be much easier.
Not too long ago, my daughter, Vetstreet dog-training expert Mikkel Becker, flew with one of her dogs in the passenger compartment, and because her pets are well-trained and socialized, the trip was a breeze.
Check and double-check that all the bolts securing the halves of the carrier are in place and tightened.
Put an ID tag on a piece of elastic around the pet's neck (so it won't get hung up — just make sure it isn't too tight), and make sure contact information is written large and indelibly on the outside of the crate. Don't ship your pet when air traffic is heaviest; avoid peak travel days and times.
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(Don't leave this until the last day: Call and make an appointment for a couple days before your flight.) Speaking of the health certificate, let's determine if your pet should be flying at all.