Flying with your pet

Flying can be a scary thing for any type of pet, so it's important to make it as easy and simple as possible – this will keep you feeling less stressed and your pet will feel more relaxed knowing you're relaxed. Take a look at some of the tips to consider:

  • Make sure you are aware of the airlines rules and regulations regarding taking your pet abroad. Some require a health certificate in order for your pet to fly.
  • Most airlines require your pet to be crated in order for them to fly safely. It's usually a good idea to crate your pet before they enter the chaos of an airport, as they’ll feel safe and won’t feel as nervous.
    • Make sure the crate is safe and nothing harmful is left in it.
    • Collars and leads can be strangling hazards so make sure these have been removed.
    • Your pet must be able to stand up with its head fully erect without touching the roof of the crate. They should be able to turn around and lie down easily and comfortably.
    • All crates must be made of rigid plastic, wood, fibre glass or metal with a built-in metal door. 
    • The crate must have compartments for both food and water.
    • The door lock on the crate must be secure to ensure safety.
    • Each pet should travel in its own crate.
  • It's never a good idea to travel to the airport if your pet has a full bladder or stomach, as accidents brought on by nervousness can happen. Your pet should fast six hours before your trip and should use the toilet as close to the departure time as possible.
  • Make sure your pet has access to water, enough to keep them hydrated but not enough to fill them up.
  • Before heading to the airport, make sure your pet is well exercised, as they’ll be more likely to rest due to exhaustion.
  • If your pet is flying in a separate cabin, don’t create a big goodbye scene as it will only upset them. If you remain calm, they'll remain calm and will settle as soon as you leave.
  • To keep your pet calm, make sure they’re traveling with their blanket or toy as this will help comfort them and keep them relaxed.
  • Do not tranquillize your pet as it will take longer for them to get accustomed to their new surroundings. Their temperature may also drop during the flight.
  • We all love aromatherapy or deep tissue massages to help us de-stress and this can also be used to relax your pet before travel. Try massaging a little lavender oil on the base of their head or on their back.
  • To help avoid separation anxiety before your flight, put your pet in the crate and walk away with good energy and good body language.
  • Leave them in there for about fifteen minutes before returning, then open the door and let them come out when they’re ready. Remember the crate is not a prison or a negative place, so don’t feel bad for crating them - it’s for their own safety and comfort when flying.

We love our pets and they’re an important part of our family, they're reassuring and a constant presence in our lives. Pet Insurance provides peace of mind and can help to cover the cost of unexpected vet fees when your pet needs treatment due to an accident or illness.

For Governmental information relating to ‘Pet travel: entering and returning to the UK’ please visit: Taking your pet abroad overview.

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