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Touring with pet pals

Tuesday, 29 November 2011
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November 29, 2011




It is a great trip when all the beloved members of the family travel and enjoy together. And truly anyone who has a pet knows that they are one of the most beloved of family members. Increasingly, people are opting to take this important member of the family with them. It is a great idea, certainly, but there are a few aspects that need to be taken care of before you set on a journey.

We will talk about air travel specifically as that is the one with the most legal requirements and also has a potential to become tedious. Whether your pet (dog or cat,) can travel with you will depend on many legal factors outlined by various authorities such as the respective airline, the destination countryÔÇÖs government and international travel authorities such as International Air Transport Association (IATA). Carrying pets on board will require special arrangements, both on your part, and the authorities arranging the travel for you, i.e. the airline. Here are a few factors that you should consider before you set on a journey with your pet.

Travelling with Dogs and Cats

If you are planning to travel internationally with your pet, there are many rules and regulations from all concerned authorities, on having a pet on board. There are weight, type, age and size limitations that are specified depending on the airlines or the respective destination country. All these safety guidelines are concluded after a lot of research and deliberation about the safety of other passengers as well as the pet.

  • You cannot carry a new born pet. There is also a specification about the number of pets on board. Most airlines will not allow more than two pets. Other factors to be considered are that the pet must not appear to be physically distressed, injured or over tranquillised.
  • Feed your pet such that you have sufficient interval before starting for the journey. The kennel must have empty┬ádishes attached and water cups, accessible without opening kennel door.
  • The check-in process for pets at the airport may take some time therefore it is recommend that you arrive at the airport three hours before your scheduled departure time.


Service Animals

Service Animals are mostly dogs that are trained to guide people, who have a physical disability such as blindness or deafness. Certified, professionally-trained service animals assisting PEOPLE with disabilities are carried, free of charge, in the passenger cabin, provided the pet is harnessed or on leash. The pet must be certified as having been trained to assist a person with a disability by a professional service animal institution.




The essential documents could be counted as health certificates, vaccinations and travel documents. The pet passport should be issued by a qualified vet. You will need to get a valid health certificate for your pet that is signed by a qualified vet. The certificate should be issued between two and eight days prior to departure


Health Certificates and Vaccinations

You will need a valid certificate stating details about the inoculations specified for the pet, (cat or dog,) at least 21 days before departure. Documents containing date and brand of the rabies vaccine (in case of dogs,) or other specified vaccinations.


Travel Documents

The essential travel documents such as your passport, visa and ticket and the petÔÇÖs passport and ticket should be ready much in advance.┬á It would be beneficial to contact the local embassy of your destination country for the policy on pet travel, rules and other requirements.


Miscellaneous Details


Apart from the ticket cost, if your pet is travelling as check-in baggage and the transfer at airport lasts longer than a couple of hours, you will have to pay an additional fee to cover the animalÔÇÖs care during the transfer.

Investing in the Kennel

The pet must fit (i.e. sit, stand and lie down,) comfortably in the kennel. Some airlines specify
the brand or material of the kennel. Allow five days for your pet to get used to its kennel before the flight.

  • Kennel must be preferably lined with an absorbent material. It could be a blanket, newspaper or other absorbent material on floor. Some materials like straw or plastic are prohibited.
  • Kennel must have ÔÇÿLive AnimalÔÇÖ and ÔÇÿArrow UpÔÇÖ stickers.
  • Door lock on kennel must be secured. .
  • No wheels are allowed on the kennel.


Microchip Identification

Microchip is a device, smaller than a grain of rice, inserted underneath a petÔÇÖs skin to help retrieve information about the pet if it goes missing. Just a name tag or label with basic identification details will suffice for airlines but microchipping is becoming increasingly popular. This chip contains information about the pet and the pet owner and can be read through specific chip-reading softwares. There are many brands and companies that sell and register such chips.

The petÔÇÖs kennel must have a name tag or label with these details: Name and address of the owner, description of the pet, such as colour of coat and feeding instructions. Secure the aforementioned label or name tag to the side of the kennel stating the petÔÇÖs details.

Modes of Travel

In the Cabin

Only cats and small dogs including travel bag or kennel can be taken into the cabin. The specification that most airlines have regarding the size of the kennel is that it should fit under the seat in front of you and should be spacious for the pet.

If you wish to take your pet with you in the cabin, you should make your reservation by telephone at least 48 hours in advance. Some airlines allow only a limited amount of kennels throughout the cabin.

Check-In Baggage Compartment

Cats and dogs may travel as check-in baggage in a special ventilated part of the aircraft. Your pet must be transported in a kennel, which complies with the legal requirements of the international travel authorities, airlines and the destination countryÔÇÖs policies. You can purchase such a kennel at larger pet shops.

If you wish to transport your pet in the hold, you must make your reservation by telephone at least 48 hours in advance. Some airlines do not transport animals in the hold for flights that are longer than two hours as the baggage hold of the aircraft cannot be heated.

As Freight / Ship / Cargo

If your pet cannot travel on the same flight as you are, shipping your pet is also a good and safe option. If you intend that your pet should be transported as freight, the rules are pretty much the same as carrying them in the cabin or carrying them as a check-in.

The pet meets the airlines weight and age specification. Most airlines insist that the kennel provided by the pet owners must be spacious and safe. There is specification of size and the kennels can neither be too small nor too big.

Travelling with a pet will certainly be a very complicated and demanding endeavour but with few basic precautions and preparation, you can ensure the trip will be safe and comfortable for you and your pet.
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Last modified on Monday, 16 February 2015 11:54