I'm going to be flying with my sweet 13 pound, 9 month old puppy soon and I'd love to hear about your experiences and any advice! Her carrier is the approved size to be placed under the airplane seat. Thank you!
I flew with kittens awhile back and... that was something else. I know different airlines have different requirements. Ours for example required certificates of health and vaccinations (age appropriate) before they were allowed to board. Definitely check in with your airlines to make sure you have all your docs in order before hand.
Each airline has its own rules and some have fees as well; I'm sure you've checked with your carrier. Some national and many international destinations require medical certification or quarantine, so just double-check that. Confirm with your lodgings that a pet is welcome and what fees may apply.
Also consider the following: -Take your fur baby to the airport several times before the flight in the specific carrier so the noise, bustle, and smells become familiar. -Think through food, treats, toys, water, and bathroom needs for the duration of the flight, plus check-in, security, baggage claim, and any other delays (I've been stuck in an airport for well over 12 hours, so have extra). Training pads in the carrier are great. -Going through security, you'll actually have to hold your dog, put their leash, collar, carrier, and supplies through the x-ray belt. Remember that TSA has limits on liquids so bring empty water bottles and fill up once you are past security. -Have your puppy's name and your contact information on both the crate and your dog in case you get separated somehow. Decide if a pet microchip fits with your worldview; they were roughly $50 last time I checked. -Pack some large plastic zipper bags to minimize smells from foods, used training pads, etc. Some passengers are not used to animals and others may be hyper-sensitive to odors. -If your dog is talkative, that can be disruptive in a smaller space. Work on training and consider a bark silencing device that has been pre-tested to work for you like a vibrating collar, sonic bark deterrent, etc. If any of these things have batteries, be prepared to explain to security - maybe bring a printout of the product details. -Overnight flights are quieter and can be less stressful for pets. -Fabric carrier covers can soften the noise and minimize distractions. If you aren't currently using one but want to for the trip then practice several times at home so they understand this is a safe space. -Get some anti-anxiety medicine from your vet; this is not to say you are going to use it, but it can be a kindness if there is turbulence, other animals onboard, etc. Anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea medication can also be a safety net. If they normally have a prescription, bring either an extra prescription note or extra meds and pack portions in a couple of different places; if your luggage is lost, you don't want to be without. -Some people trim their pet's nails for mutual safety in a struggle. If they tend to snap when stressed, pack a bite control device that they have been acclimated to. -Heaven forbid something happens to you, but have written instructions in a clear waterproof bag/envelope on the exterior of the carrier about how to care for your little one until you are back on your feet. -Have the contact information of a vet at your destination in case of emergency, plus that of your current vet in case you need access to any records or advice. Prepare for any pet hazards in your target location like ticks, diseases, or predators. Depending on how long you will be away and how much time you spend outdoors, a local dog license may be needed.
This may seem like a lot, but most of it is quick and may already be in place; just pick and choose what works for your situation. Best wishes to you both for a safe journey and many happy memories!
I used to travel a lot with my chihuahua. My advice would be get him a comfortable travel bag and start using it as soon as possible so he gets use to it and has his smell. Put his favorite toy inside the bag and take some snacks with you, but in my case, I found it was better if he didn’t eat or drink much in the plane. Try to “make him go” in a permitted area right before entering the airport and immediately when you arrive. And avoid taking him out of the bag during the flight. Good luck!