Air Travel Checklist
- When travelling by air with your dog/cat - PREPARE - contact
the country where you will be travelling at least 3 months prior to find out
rules governing that country. Ensure that you are able to meet these
requirements and specifications. Pay attention to detail: ensure that your vet's
full name and #'s are on each document and that they also add your pet's
microchip type and #.
- If you decide to ship your pet by air, make reservations and arrangements
ahead of time regarding delivery to and pickup from the airports. Carefully
schedule boarding and shipping arrangements for your pet to assure that the pet
is well cared for until you are able to receive it at your destination. Boarding
may be necessary. Follow airline instructions.
- Check the airline's requirements to see if your pet can travel in a carrier
that can be kept under a seat in the cabin or must travel by air freight.
- Consider sending smaller pets such as birds, hamsters, gerbils, and tropical
fish by air express. Airline freight departments, pet stores, or department
stores can supply shipping containers. Tropical fish should be packed by a local
pet shop specializing in tropical fish.
- Obtain a shipping container a week or two in advance. Familiarize your pet
with it by placing the pet in it for a few minutes each day. Gradually lengthen
the time until the pet seems to be at ease with it.
- Feed the pet no less than five or six hours before flight time. Give the pet
a drink of water no less than two hours before flight.
- Get the pet to the air terminal in time. Get there 45 minutes in advance if
the pet is accompanying you. If shipping the pet, get to the flight terminal two
hours in advance of your flight.
- Be certain that names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the persons
responsible for the pet at origination and destination are clearly marked on the
container and on the pet's identification tag. Label your pet's flight kennel
with the same information. Add "Live Animal" in big letters and information
about any special care requirements.
- Notify the person receiving the pet that it is on the way. Give them the
flight and waybill number.
Travel By Car
- Pets can usually be picked up within 90 minutes of flight arrival. The air
waybill number is useful when inquiring.
- If your dog or cat is not used to traveling by car, make short trips with
the pet a week or two in advance of the trip to accustom it to motion and to
teach it how to behave.
- Dogs should be taught to lie quietly, keep their heads inside, and not annoy
the driver or passengers. Don't let your dog stick his head in the wind. It can
irritate eyes and cause problems.
- Cats are often frightened by car travel, but some cats adjust quickly. Some
persons allow the cat to find its own place in the car; others feel it is best
to confine a cat to its carrier.
- Folding kennels or crates especially designed for station wagons can be most
useful for dogs and cats.
- Accustom your pet to being on a leash and harness. Always use the leash when
traveling. Even better is a pet harness (available at most pet stores) that
connects to the car's seatbelt; it allows the pet some movement while keeping it
safely restrained. Your pets can bolt into traffic or become lost in a strange
place if not properly restrained.
- If stopping overnight, check in advance to find a motel that will permit
your pet to spend the night.
- Be sure that your pet is properly tagged and its rabies tag firmly attached.
- Pet travel kit: pet food, food and water dishes, can opener (if needed), a
few treats, a favorite toy, a blanket, comb or brush.
- Also, to be on the safe side: a sedative (if prescribed by your
veterinarian), paper towels, spray room deodorant if you will be staying
overnight at a hotel or motel, a scooper and plastic bag to clean up after your
When the pet has arrived at its new destination, you will find
that your pet has the same problems adjusting as you do. It must learn the way
around the house and neighborhood. The pet must meet new neighbors, both animals
and humans. It must adjust to new water and climate, and must learn where it can
and cannot go.
It is advisable to keep the pet within the home until it realizes that this
is a HOME and not a temporary residence (even though it may be your vacation
destination). It may wander off and try to find the former residence. This is
especially true of cats; they should be confined for several weeks.
Make the animal feel at home by using familiar dishes, blanket, toys, and
other items. Check with your neighbors to determine any special problems your
pet might encounter, for example, the neighborhood grouch. Also, make a
particular effort to keep your dog inside on garbage collection day. There are
better ways to meet your neighbors than over a garbage can upset by your dog.
If you carefully plan your vacation with your pet, you may make a smooth
transition from your old to new destination But be prepared for the unexpected;
it can and probably will happen.
- If your destination is across state lines, nearly every state has laws on
the entry of animals, with the exception of tropical fish. For information, call
or write to the State Veterinarian, State Department of Animal Husbandry, or
other appropriate authority.
- Interstate health certificates must accompany dogs and horses entering
nearly all states. About half have the same requirements for other pets. In some
cases, this certificate must be in the hands of the state regulatory agency in
advance of the entry.
- All but four states require an up-to-date rabies inoculation for dogs and
many require it for cats. The rabies tag must be securely attached to the pet's
collar. Hawaii requires that cats and dogs be quarantined for 120 days.
- Some pets must have an entry permit issued by the destination state's
regulatory agency. Receipt of the interstate health certificate may be required
before the permit can be issued. Some states limit the time during which the
entry permit is valid.
- A few states have border inspections of all animals being transported;
others have random inspection by highway patrol officers. State agriculture
representatives are usually present at airports to inspect pets arriving by
Local communities have pet
control and licensing ordinances. In some cases, the number of dogs and cats per
residence is limited. Large animals, such as ponies and horses, may be
prohibited. Be sure to check with the city clerk or town hall for specific
- If the pet travels with you, it will retain a sense of identity. However,
pets can become frightened and bolt away from you out of open doors and windows.
Keep your pet on a leash when outside your car or hotel.
- Whether your pet travels with you or by another means it should wear a
special identification tag in addition to its regular one. Write the pet's name,
your name, the person to contact at the destination, their phone number, a
destination address, or that of a friend or relative, in case you want to be
- Except for seeing eye dogs accompanying blind persons, pets are not
permitted on buses and trains. Notify the airline, bus, or train company that a
seeing eye dog is accompanying you.
- Consult with your veterinarian concerning mild sedation of your pet during