5 Tips for Flying with Your Pet


Feed and Water Your Pet Before Departure

Feed and water your pet at least four hours before the flight -- but not too much!
Feed and water your pet at least four hours before the flight -- but not too much!

­Security has been beefed up tremendously since 9/11, which has, in turn, created longer check-in delays. As a result, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) suggests you arrive no less than two hours before your flight [source: TSA]. While you spend some time waiting around the airport, be sure to­ prepare your pet for the flight ahead.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture mandate­s that pets traveling on airlines must be fed and watered within four hours of the flight's scheduled departure [source: Airlines.org]. You'll be asked to sign a waiver that certifies your pet has been given food and water when you check in for your flight.

Make sure that you don't stuff your pet with food or give it too much water, however. A pet with a full belly aboard an airline flight may vomit from anxiety or travel sickness. Too much food or water can also lead to accidents inside the crate; not a pleasant way to fly. You'll also want to make sure your pet's food and water bowls are empty and locked inside the carrier, with a bag of food attached to the outside of the carrier. This will prevent spills and will give airline employees a chance to feed or water your pet, if necessary, during a long delay or layover [source: Petco].

Give your pet a little water about two hours before the flight is scheduled to depart, and don't be afraid to ask an airport employee if the airport has a special area reserved for pets' dirty, dirty business.

Taking all of these tips into account can make travel much easier for you and your pet. After all, it's your pet's vacation too.

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More Great Links


  • Long, Cricky. "Marley and you: 10 dog-trip essentials." Studio One Networks. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://www.kansascw.com/Global/story.asp?S=7441038
  • Probst, Sarah. "Tips for flying with your pet." University of Illinois. June 21, 1999. http://vetmed.illinois.edu/petcolumns/showarticle.cfm?id=66
  • "Air travel for your pet." Airlines.org. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://www.airlines.org/customerservice/passengers/Air+Travel+for+Your+Pet.htm
  • "Animal quarantine information." Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info
  • "Don't sedate or tranquilize pets traveling by air." American Humane Association. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://www.avma.org/CAREFORANIMALS/ANIMATEDJOURNEYS/livingwithpets/sedate.asp
  • "Jet-setting kitty." Petco. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://www.petco.com/Content/Article.aspx?PC=article&Nav=153&PetTypeID=2&TopicID=36&id=2001&cm_sp=merch-_-travelcenter-_-artid2001
  • "Pet travel options." Delta Airlines. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/special_travel_needs/pet_travel_information/pet_travel_options/index.jsp
  • "Traveling with pets." TravelSense. Accessed December 31, 2008. http://www.travelsense.org/tips/pets.cfm
  • "TSA air travel FAQs." U.S. TSA. July 2006. http://inhomelandsecurity.com/2006/07/tsa_air_travel_faqs.html


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