If you find yourself in a situation where driving to a destination is not possible and ultimately, you will have to fly with your pet, you may be wondering how this will be possible and how your pet will react.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into flying with your pet, and for many people, the thought of how their pet will react on the flight can cause some anxiety. While flying with your pet may not always feel ideal, it is doable, and very common!

We have pulled together some of the top ways to make flying with your pet easier, including some things that you should think about ahead of time to make sure that your pet is most comfortable throughout the duration of the travel.

Flying with your pet

Prepare with your vet.

First, make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian to make sure that they are in good health, and they are able to fly in the first place. For some pets, especially those that are older, flying is not necessarily a good idea and is not beneficial for their health. During this time, you can also discuss with your vet what documentation will be needed to get your pet on board.

Check in with the airline on breed restrictions.

Next, check in with the airline you plan on flying to make sure that your pet is not restricted from flying. For dogs, there can be certain breed restrictions depending on the airline. This can include anything from breed of the dog to their weight or their size. It is best to contact the airline directly to get this information and make sure your pet is cleared.

Book your travel in advance.

Next, if possible, try to book your travel in advance so that you can make sure that you have ample time to get everything needed for your pet to fly together. It can take some time to get your pet cleared, get all documentation filed, and get them ready for the flight, so the earlier you book, the less you will stress about finalizing the details.

Purchase a crate to prepare your pet.

If your pet is not already used to being in a crate or kennel, make sure that you warm them up to the idea of spending time in one before they get on the flight. There are different ways that you can acclimate your pet to this such as treats, toys, or their favorite blanket. This will help to ensure that they are not too anxious on the flight.

Do not sedate them!

You may be thinking that an easy way to avoid anxiety for your pet on the flight is to use sedatives, similar to how some humans handle flying. Unfortunately, this is a no go for pets. Sedating pets while they are at a high altitude can affect their ability to control their own body heat, so it can actually be dangerous to sedate them during the flight.

Check your boarding time.

Once you are at your gate and getting ready to board, check in to see if it would be possible to board early so that you have enough time to help your pet remain calm before take-off. Some airlines will allow you to do this to make sure that you have enough time to get everything situated for your pet and get them acclimated to the plane before everyone boards.

Locate the closest pet relief stations in airports.

Make sure that you know exactly where the pet relief stations are in the airport before you board the plane. Once you take off, your pet will have to hold it for the duration of the flight, so making sure they have time to relieve themselves before take-off is extremely important.

Bring some toys and treats.

Lastly, avoid stress during take-off and landing when your pet may feel pressure from the air by bringing some of their favorite toys and treats to distract them from the air pressure.