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Holy hamster wheel is it ever cold out! After strolling through an undecided December, it looks like winter’s finally blowing its way in. As we bundle up, shovel our way to cars that won’t turn over, and dream more and more of the sunny days of summer, many of us are already scouring Expedia for some last minute flight deals.
For pet parents, air travel can be quite an ordeal. Where is your pet being kept? For how long? What did the vet say again? Is the house even locked?! Deep breath. If you plan ahead and ask questions, it won’t be nearly as bad as you might think. Here are some quick tips for both the experienced flyer and the first timer.
Make a visit to the veterinarian to update all vaccinations and grab any legal documents you’ll need. It’s also important to note that pets very young and very old, pregnant, ill, or injured should not be flying anywhere.
Keep calm and carry on
Head out to purchase a good quality travel carrier for your pet. Make sure it’s large enough for them to stand up and turn around in. You’ll also want to ask your airline about size allowances and any kind of special requirements.
Instead of surprising your pet with a new carrier the night before your flight, it’s best you introduce them to it gradually, several weeks before your flight. By becoming adjusted to their carrier well before the flight, they’ll cope better the travel. Pro tip: start by leaving the carrier door open and placing treats, meals or toys inside!
Provide your pet with some exercise before leaving for the airport; give them a light meal three to four hours before take-off; and give them water right up to the time of travel. It’s also a good idea to take your pet for a walk and quick bathroom break shortly before boarding (ask your airline ahead of time if this is allowed).
For more information on safe air travel for pets, check out what the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has to say.