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Ask AKC: Dogs on Airplanes

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Dear Lisa: I am having my new Golden Retriever puppy shipped from Minnesota to Philadelphia at the end of the month. Do you recommend a certain airline to book travel with? Most of the airlines allow pet travel but I want to make sure that my puppy is safe. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! --Flying the Friendly Skies
Before your new puppy boards that plane, make sure you work with the breeder to ensure that the puppy meets the requirements for air travel as checked baggage (traveling alone in the cargo area) versus in-cabin travel (with a passenger) since the requirements may differ. This may include needing a health certificate from a veterinarian no more than 10 days prior to travel listing vaccinations and that the puppy is at least eight weeks old.

All commercial airlines that ship pets have their own rules and guidelines. I suggest consulting this page, which links to a variety of major carriers' websites listing their policies. I would also recommend that you book your reservation early as there are limits to the number of animals that can be placed on a single flight and they are filled on a first-come, first served basis.

Another consideration, now that the temperatures are rising, includes travel restrictions placed by the airlines during the warmer months. For example, American Airlines policy states, "pets cannot be accepted when the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary. Snub-nosed dogs and cats will not be accepted when the current or forecasted temperature is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary."

Since it will be warm suggest the breeder take a small plastic water dish that fits on the crate door, fill it with water and place it in the freezer the night before travel. That way you can attach a large piece of ice in the airline-approved travel crate for the puppy to lick should he get thirsty. Putting a water bowl inside during the flight will only spill. I would also make sure the crate is lined with newspapers or paper towels to absorb any messes he may make while airborne. And lastly, make sure you arrive at the airport early so that you will be there to accept your newest member of the family with open arms.

 

If you have a question, send it to Lisa at AskLisa@AKC.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions she cannot offer individual responses.