FLYING WITH DOGS DOMESTICALLY IN AUSTRALIA
It is no wonder more people are choosing to fly domestically with their dogs. When we go away for a relaxing break, we want the whole family to be there, human and non-human members alike. The dog deserves a break from the routine as much as we do. But looking at airline information can feel a little overwhelming but remember this is nothing compared to travelling overseas.
Here is a breakdown of the information to make it all a bit more manageable.
ENSURE YOUR PET HAS A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH
Firstly, before you even think about taking your dog with you, he or she will need to pay the vet a visit and receive a clean bill of health. Most airlines ask for a certificate from a vet within 2 weeks of the travel date confirming your dog is fit to travel. You don’t need to sedate the dog for the flight, but if you are concerned, raise this with your vet at the checkup. The vet will be able to prescribe a mild sedative if they share your concerns but this is rarely the case.
CHECK YOUR DOG IS WELCOME IN THE AREA
Australian Interstate Quarantine has a list of areas where the transportation of animals in prohibited. Check with them before you travel domestically across the country with your dog.
GET THE CONTAINER ORGANISED
In Australia, airlines only allow service dogs to travel in the cabin. All pets must be placed in the animal cargo hold. Don’t worry, airlines have trained staff who handle your dog’s travel plans, they are not just thrown in by the average baggage handler. The hold is temperature regulated and pressurised like the cabins so your canine won’t be suffering down there.
You will need to provide the container though. The container must be approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and should be large enough for your dog to stand up straight, and fully lie down and stretch in. For domestic travel, plastic and steel mesh containers are usually fine and are readily available in pet stores. If you have a very large dog, you might find that you a problem that will need a custom solution.
BOOK WELL IN ADVANCE
Airlines only have a certain number of spaces for pets on each flight. Therefore, it is essential you book early while they still have availability. Some airlines require you to make the travel arrangements for your dog through a specific portal rather than on the general booking pages.
GET YOUR PET USED TO ITS TRAVEL CONTAINER
The first time your dog gets into the travel crate should not be on the morning of the flight. Spend a couple of days prior to the flight getting your dog used to the container. The flights aren’t going to be that long.
ON THE DAY
On the day of travel, make sure your dog has been properly exercised and is suitably tired out. Keep them as calm as possible. Most airlines recommend not giving the dog solid food during the 6 hours before the flight to ensure their stomach is settled.
If you were stuck on a flight with no reading material or movies and nothing to look at, you would be bored. So, make sure your dog has something to play with. Putting an item of your clothing in there with them will also help to keep them relaxed on the flight.
Check the location of where you will need to collect your dog from at the other end. Most airlines have a specific collection point for animals. You will want to make sure you have plenty of treats ready to give them at the other end.
Regular dog fliers also recommend bringing wet wipes to clean your dog and the container at the end of the trip, in case things got a little messy mid flight.
Dog travel has come a long way in recent years and carriers have seriously refined their pet travel procedures. With companies like Virgin, your dog can even earn frequent flier points now, so there is no excuse not to take them with you on your next holiday.
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