Are you travelling with your furry baby by plane? There are a few procedures that you must follow in order for your baby to be eligible for travel. Make sure you prepare early by reading this article way before you need to prepare for pet travel. While the paperwork can be tedious, as long as you follow each step carefully, it will be a smooth ride for you and your furry baby.
Generally, it is best advised to plan ahead as early as nine months prior to travelling.
What You Should Know
Before you see what you need for pet travel, it is important that you be mindful of a few things about animals travelling by plane.
Pet Travel By Plane Can Carry Some Risks
Pet travel by plane is not for everyone. This is especially true for animals that are not permitted to be on the plane with you, and they must be placed in a carrier and travel in the hold of the plane (do note that the animal hold area is properly heated and pressurized). Moreover, for brachycephalic animals (with “snub-nosed” breeds) such as bulldogs or Persian cats, air travel carries additional risks. They are exceptionally vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.
Specific Travel Restrictions
Restrictions for pet travel may vary from country to country. Make sure you do your research for the country of your destination as well as the airline you choose. For example, in the Netherlands, your animal must be at least 15 weeks old to be eligible for travel. Moreover, they must be vaccinated at least 21 days prior to arrival. In addition, certain breeds such as aggressive breeds of dogs are not eligible for travel.
Airline Pet Container Requirements
All pets must be contained within a carrier. For flights that are less than ten hours, some airlines may permit small cats or dogs in the cabin. Airlines usually allow one pet per passenger with a maximum of two pets per cabin. The pet container must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, but large enough to have proper ventilation for your baby. For airline-compliant pet carriers, check out the following brands:
Essential Items for Pet Travel
As a pet parent, you should know that your furry baby is eligible for pet travel as long as they have the following:
Passport & Microchip
A Passport and a microchip are essentially your furry baby’s identity card. They can only be obtained by your vet. It is best to plan ahead, as it might take some time to issue a pet passport. If a passport is not available for your pet on time, you may use a veterinary certificate instead. However, this certificate is only valid for a few months. A pet passport is designed to last for the entirety of your pet’s lifetime.
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A passport for pet travel contains the following information:
- Pet parent’s name
- Date of the rabies vaccination, period of validity of the vaccination, type of vaccine, name of manufacturer and production number
- Microchip number
- Address and signature of the veterinarian
- Animal description:
- Type of fur
You must vaccinate your companion at least 21 days prior to the departure date. If they are vaccinated already, it will be indicated on the passport. If your baby is not vaccinated, you might be able to do so upon entering the country of your destination. Always check with the country and airlines for more information on this. For example, for the Netherlands, you can vaccinate your furry pal upon arrival, but they must remain in quarantine for 30 days.
You must use a carrier for your baby when boarding the plane. In fact, carriers are generally recommended to be used for dogs and cats in any and all moving vehicles. Not only do carriers help anxious animals such as cats to minimize stress, but they also keep them safe and stable.
Tips for a Safe Pet Travel
Finally, here are a few tips to ensure that your and your furry baby have a safe and smooth flight to your destination.
- Choose air travel as a last resort.
- Use direct flights.
- Travel on the same flight as your pet if possible.
- Always inform a flight attendant that you have your pet(s) on board, as they may take special precautions.
- Keep a photo of your pet in case they are lost during the trip — you will help airline employees find them quicker.
Pet Travel Resources
Looking for more information on pet travel? Check out the following resources:
Or schedule a video consultation with one of our qualified vets!