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Airborne Pets


What you should know about airline pet carriers

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Mar 02, 2008

The best way to travel with your pets is with an airline approved carrier as there may be a time when you will have to travel by airline, which requires a specific type of carrier.. You can buy any kind of carrier to keep your pet in during car, bus or train rides but remember that transporting your pet by airplane requires specific measurements and safety precautions for carriers going on board aircraft. For example, airlines only approve carriers made out of strong plastic or wood. Carriers made of wiring or fiberboard are usually rejected for air travel.

The basic rules for airline approved carriers are to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet during flights. There is a standard guideline, the Live Animals Regulations, with which airlines all over the world must conform to, and so each airline has developed their own policies, according to their own experience and practices. To be safe, you must call your preferred airline and check their policies first. Airlines have measurement guidelines not only for inside the carrier, but also for its external sizing, on which they determine the charges of your pet carrier as cargo. Approved small-size carriers are around 21 inches long and 16 inches high, with a door width of 15 inches. The larger carriers can go up to 40 to 48 inches long and 27 to 35 inches high, with the carrier opening to widths between 30 and 35 inches. In between, there are still different sizes to choose from, according to the size of your pet.

The best way to fit your dog or cat in the approved carrier is to have it stand inside, taking into account its full height, the length of its body from nose to tail, the width of its body across the shoulders and the height of its legs. Your pet should be able to not only stand up inside the carrier, but also lie down and turn around with ease. Airlines also approve carriers that have proper ventilation and secure locks and latches. Some carriers come with their own water bowls, which can be removed and replaced without having to open the main carrier door, and stickers necessary for air travel. These stickers usually indicate that there is a "Live Animal" inside the carrier, as well as arrow stickers pointing the right side "Up." Attach an ID tag to your pet's collar with its name and your mobile number written on it. Also make sure that the collar does not catch to anything inside the carrier.

While some airlines enforce a strictly one-pet-per-carrier rule, other airlines will allow two adult-sized pets in one carrier as long as each pet does not weigh more than 30.9 pounds, and as long as the two pets are already used to sleeping together. Pets that weigh more than 30.9 pounds should have their own separate carriers. Smaller animals can travel together in one carrier if they come from the same litter. You may want to leave some food for them, if it is a very long trip.

Get your pet used to the carrier by leaving it open in its favorite places in your home, leaving a few treats inside the carrier. The pet will explore the carrier on its own and eventually learn to hang out inside for periods of time. Also, try leaving your carrier open the day before you take your pet to the vet, so your pet will not be too scared to go to the vet. This will ensure that your pet is comfortable in its carrier and will have a less stressful flight than if you force it into a carrier you bought the day before your departure date.

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What you should know about airline pet carriers
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