To fly your dog to another state can be troublesome. The airline will not take the full responsibility for your dog, so you must take all possible steps to ensure their safety! 

I have listed a few suggestions below to help others take care when travelling with your dog.

  • Make sure your dog is healthy!!!!

  • Purchase an airline approved crate well in advance and thoroughly familiarize him with it. 

  • If it's summer, choose an early morning flight, or late evening flight if possible.

  • Don't fly your dog if the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius (85F)

  • Ensure that you comply with any/all special restrictions for entry into the state of destination.

  • Make sure that your crate is of adequate size for your dog. Large enough for him to stand up in, but not so large that he gets thrown from side to side. The less they can see, the happier they will be!

  • Place a familiar scented soft rug in the crate.

  • Don't feed your dog a full meal within twelve hours of flying. They do not travel well on a full stomach.

  • Don't fly a puppy under 12 weeks of age.

  • Tranquillizing animals who are flying is not a good idea as the medication can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems when the animal is at high altitudes.
    ** At a meeting between USDA and airline officials, the AVMA learned that over-sedation is the most frequent cause of animal deaths during airline transport. Though very few of the thousands of animals transported during the past five years have died while being transported, investigations revealed that almost half the deaths results from sedation. The second most frequent cause of death was environmental stress, especially in brachycephalic (pug and snub nose) breeds. Third in frequency were disease complications from coronavirus, parvovirus and respiratory diseases that were not evident during examination, but had a sudden, debilitating onset with the stress of transport at high altitude. Least common, in fact, rare, were deaths caused by mishandling by the carriers.  JAVMA, Vol. 207, No. 6, Sept. 1995 **

  • On the crate, securely tape details of your dog, airline, flight numbers, destination, your name and contact phone number, the name and contact numbers of the person to whom the dog is going. (I also include my dogs name on the label, in the event that they should ever escape from their crate, I believe there is more chance of catching them in a scary situation if calling them by name).

  • Stick a few strips of  bright fluorescent tape on the outside of the crate so it is readily visible. 

  • Double check all the screw fittings to make sure they are tight.

  • Ensure that the crate door is securely closed. I use plastic ties to secure mine, or wrap a strip of tape right around the cage in front of the door.

  • Tie a lead on the handle of the crate, for use in the event of an emergency.

  • Exercise your dog immediately so that he may relieve himself before you place him in the crate and check him in to the airline. Be sure to take some "poop scoop" bags with you! 

  • Wait and watch your dog being loaded on the flight.

  • If the plane is delayed at the gate or on the runway for any length of time, insist they take your dog off!

  • If the only flight connections are through a major airport where they will have to change planes, try to get another flight that goes through a smaller airport where they will continue on to their destination on the same plane! I strongly recommend using non-stop flights!

  • If it's going to be a lengthy flight, freeze a small amount of water in the bottom of the water bowl and place in the crate at the last minute.

  • Ensure that the person collecting the dog at the other end calls you to confirm the arrival and condition of the dog.

  • If the flight is delayed, phone the person who is collecting the dog at the destination, and advise them of the delay.

  • If something should happen, contact the airlines, give them the consignment number, and insist that they follow up immediately and give you full details of the whereabouts of your dog! Speak with management.

Image copyright to Chinaroad!


Travel on empty. It's a good idea not to feed your pet six to eight hours before embarking on a road trip, advises Clayton MacKay, D.V.M., director of the veterinary teaching hospital at Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Canada and president of the American Animal Hospital Association. Having an empty stomach will make him less likely to throw up. "And if he does get sick, there's no food in the vomit, so at least it's easier to clean up," he says. Giving your pet water, however, won't upset his stomach and may make him more comfortable.

Or put in a quarter-tank. While some pets travel best on an empty stomach, others will feel more comfortable after eating a small meal. "They just need a little food in their stomach to help keep them from getting sick," says Dr. MacKay.

Take frequent rest breaks. While some pets can travel for hours without having problems, others start getting queasy after a few miles. "Get to know your pet's pattern," says Dr. MacKay. He recommends stopping at least every hour or two and taking a quick walk to help your pet get his land-legs back. It's also a good idea to pour him a little water, since he may not feel like drinking when he's in the car.

Cruise carefully. "Be considerate of your carsick pet, just as you would if you had a carsick child," says Gary Beard, D.V.M., assistant dean at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama. "Don't fly around curves, and take it slower than you normally would."

Be up-front with him. "There's not as much movement in the front of the car as in the back, so it might help your pet if you let him ride in the front seat," says William G. Brewer, D.V.M., assistant professor of small animal internal medicine in the Department of Small Animal Surgery and Medicine at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. To keep your friend safe, you may want to invest in a doggy seatbelt. Or you can buy a small kennel that buckles into the seat.

Expand his horizons. Pets, like people, are less likely to get carsick when they can watch the passing scenery. "Allow your pet to look out the window, and he'll probably fare much better than if he has nothing to set his sights on," says Bernhard P. Pukay, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in Ottawa, Canada, and host of the Discovery Channel's Pet Connection.

Crank down the windows. "Fresh air is good for anyone who's feeling a little carsick, including your dog or cat," says Dr. Pukay. "But don't open the window enough so he can escape or get his head way out," he adds.

Try a motion potion. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) -- the same drug people take to ward off car sickness -- also works for pets, says James B. Dalley, D.V.M., associate professor of small animal clinical sciences at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in East Lansing. Medium to large dogs should be given 25 to 50 milligrams of Dramamine at least an hour before traveling, says Dr. Dalley. Cats and small dogs should get about 12.5 milligrams. 

Dramamine is available in 50-milligram tablets that can be split into quarters to provide the right dose for your pet. Vets say it's safe for most healthy dogs and cats, although pets with glaucoma or bladder problems shouldn't take it without a veterinarian's approval.

Don't drive him to despair. For many pets, it's not motion that causes car sickness but fear. "Don't make going to the vet the only time your pet rides in the car, or you're asking for an anxious and possibly sick pet," says David Hammond, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, and veterinary affairs manager for Hill's Pet Nutrition. Allowing him to accompany you occasionally on more pleasant jaunts will help keep his tummy calm at all times.

Allay his anxiety. Some pets become almost panicky about being in a moving vehicle, says Dr. MacKay. To help him overcome his fear -- as well as the resulting nausea -- try making the car a pleasant place to be. "Take your pet to the car and just sit there without the engine on," suggests Dr. MacKay. "Give him a treat if you like. Do this for seven to ten days. Then one day, start the car. Praise him, talk to him, possibly give him a treat. Do this for several minutes a day for the next few days."

Once your pet is used to just sitting in the car, try taking short trips, suggests Dr. MacKay. Begin by driving around the block, then gradually work up to longer distances. His car sickness should eventually start to improve. "It takes time," says Dr. MacKay, "but it's worth the work."

From Petsmart

Tip: If you have a puppy constantly suffering from car sickness, ask your Vet about giving him Metomide tablets.


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