Traveling with Pets, Part Two – Airplanes
We’ve given you some great information in the past on the different policies airlines have when traveling with pets, but now we want to get into some detail that we haven’t covered before. We hope it helps you get prepared for the possible problems you might encounter when flying with your pets.
What carrier should you use?
First of all, you need to be sure that the carrier you choose will fit under your seat or between your feet. The guidelines for each airline are roughly 19″ x 13″ x 9″, but you should check with the airline you’ll be flying on to read their guidelines on carrier size. Next, you want something that will make it easy for you to reach in if you need to (and you probably will). Remember—most airlines do not allow pets to be removed from their carriers while on board, so plan accordingly.
Our recommendation: Sleepypod Air
How can you avoid smelly pet messes?
If you’re on a long flight, or if your pet tends to lose control of their bladder or bowels when they get nervous, you’re probably going to have to deal with cleaning up a mess. We suggest lining your pet carrier with a couple of puppy training pads, and putting some waste disposal bags in an easy-to-grab location amongst your carry-on bags. This will make getting your pet’s carrier mess-free that much easier (but we won’t promise it’ll be easy!).
Additionally, pack some Earthbath Puppy Wipes (make sure the wipes are safe for your pet) so you can wipe your pet down or clean up quick messes, if needed.
What’s the best way to feed your pet on a plane?
For shorter flights, we recommend skipping food entirely, offering only water. Do your best to plan feedings around the flight. Eating may “inspire” your pet to make a mess you’ll have to clean up (and your plane neighbors will have to smell), and dealing with a mess may mean more stress for your pet. If it won’t harm your pet, feed them after you get off of the plane (be sure to give them time to “do their business” before getting to the airport).
As for water, to avoid spillage, bring along a small, empty bowl or container that has some heft to it. We recommend the SleepyPod Travel Bowls, which are complete with an air-tight, spill-proof lid that allow you to keep everything secure. Once you’re on board, put a small amount of water in the dish and refill only as needed. This will help keep spillage to a minimum.
What should you do if something out of the ordinary happens while in flight?
If you’re concerned about the possibility of your pet escaping their carrier or if some other emergency or issues crops up while you’re in flight, call your airline and speak to a representative about your concerns. While you may have never flown with your pets before, the airline staff has dealt with their fair share of pet issues, and will be able to give you solid answers on how mishaps and emergencies are handled.
Have you ever flown with your pets? Tell us about it below. We’d love to hear how you handled it, what you did to prepare, and if there were any problems you experienced along the way that you hadn’t prepared for.