Pets above the clouds

Every year thousands of pets, mostly dogs or cats, fly away on holiday with their owners.

Unfortunately for our furry friends, this is anything but fun and actually rather stressful. This is just one of the reasons that flying with pets requires extensive planning, say the experts from Maxi Zoo.

Information about transport regulations and costs can be obtained directly from your airline. It is important that you book and register your pet within plenty of time, as only a limited number of animals may travel per flight. Many airlines only transport animals in the luggage hold, others also in the cabin.

Travelling in the cabin

Allowed to travel with you in the cabin are four-legged friends, which weigh a maximum of five to eight kilograms (including transport box), depending on the airline. Throughout the flight they must remain in a box by your feet. The box must let in air, be waterproof and may not exceed the dimensions of a hand luggage bag (approx. 55 x 40 x 20 cm). Special flight bags or boxes made of plastic are available to purchase from specialist dealers. Ideally the boxes have vents or bars on the sides.

In the luggage hold

Pets that cannot travel in the planes’ cabin due to their size and weight go in the luggage hold, where there are special air-conditioned areas. Your four-legged friend will travel in a flight-box, with a water dish, which must comply with international regulations (IATA Live Animal Regulations) for the transport of animals. When purchasing the box make sure it complies with these standards. Your animal must be able to comfortably lie, stand, sit, turn around and stretch inside it. The box must be sturdy, waterproof, permeable to air and escape-proof. Many airlines calculate the weight of the animal including the box as baggage or excess baggage.

Here are a few tips to make life easier for your pet:

• Only book non-stop flights without transfers or stopovers.

• Discuss with your vet how you can calm down an anxious pet. Homeopathic remedies can help. Chemical tranquilisers should be avoided as in the air they often have much stronger effects.

• Start getting your pet used to the transport box at home by putting food inside or letting your pet sleep there.

• Do not feed your pet on the day of the journey. Dogs should not eat anything twelve hours before the flight. Water is allowed.

• For safety reasons, do not leave any toys inside the transport box. A blanket or a pillow, which smells familiar, should have a soothing effect. If your pet is travelling on a long-haul flight, line the box with absorbent material and provide water and food.

• Take your dog for a walk shortly before boarding the plane.

• Pick up your pet immediately after landing. Remember to find out about the entry regulations for your particular holiday destination at least three months before travelling. Take your pet to the vet and make sure it has all required vaccinations and examinations!
Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.