Like most Kentucky dog and cat owners, you are probably wondering just what happens when someone puts their beloved pet on a plane. This concern is becoming increasingly common as more people than ever consider their dogs part of the family. They want to take their pet wherever the household goes. Sure, kennels can be nice, but having to go on a prolonged journey without a cat or dog is unthinkable for many.
Yet, air travel poses serious complications. In most cases, your pet will have to travel in the cargo hold. They will be alone in an unfamiliar environment.
To help you make an informed decision about whether to take your dog or cat along for your next plane trip, here are some things to know about animal air travel.
How to Plane Travel with your Pet
It can be Stressful
Think about it. When you travel by plane, there is a degree of stress. Even the most frequent traveler experiences some anxiety. From airport security searches to wondering if your flight will be canceled, you always have a few worries. For newbie travelers, these concerns are multiplied by the fear of being in the air.
Well, your dog or cat will suffer similar stress, just to a heightened degree. While in the cargo hold, they will feel the air pressure changing, the plane going up and down. Yet, they have no idea why they are in the air.
Some pets are fine with the altitude. Others become overly stressed trying to figure out why they are floating.
The Environment can be Inclement
The cargo hold environment can be very unpleasant. Airplanes produce a lot of heat. If the temperature outside is hot, the animal can be in a life threatening situation. This is why most airlines have a maximum outside temperature at which they will not accept any pets on planes. Likewise, when it is cold outside, the dark cargo hold acts as a cool cellar. Pets can freeze. Some have.
Even if you check the weather before flying, you can run into problems. For example, what if the plane gets delayed on the tarmac? Happens all the time these days. Well, your dog or cat will be forced to sit in the cargo hold that entire time. Outside temperatures will affect them more than ever while the plane is on the ground unmoving.
Some Things You Can Do
You can mitigate some of the stress and discomfort of air travel for your pet.
First, acclimate them to life in the cargo hold by placing them in a crate for a minutes each day. Lengthen the time until they can stay for an hour or so. That way, when they are on the plane things will feel familiar to an extent.
Also consider flying with your pet only during the fall and spring months. Even if your airline accepts animals in summer or winter, you should think about not taking your pet along, especially here in Kentucky where we see the extremes of both seasons.
Last, but not least, always take your dog in for medical care before and after air travel. You can always talk to the compassionate staff at St. Matthews Animal Clinic about any negative symptoms that might have been observed by you or airline personnel.
The St. Matthews veterinarians, Tara McCoy, Stacy Deren, Michelle Shumaker and Julie Michalski, can help discern any serious issues your dog or cat might have with air travel. The doctors are supported by both a caring Client Support Team and Grooming Department that will make your animal feel right at home while at the clinic.