Preparing Your Dog for Flying

Dogs love a good vacation too, if they're prepared for it.
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One of the great things about dogs is that they're willing to go pretty much anywhere you go. But if travel involves hopping onto an airplane, make sure your baby is prepared for an easy flight. If you're both going to another country, make sure she has the proper documentation so she doesn't get stuck in red tape at the airport.

Get a Clean Bill of Health

Even for domestic flights, proof of vaccination will be necessary before your dog will be allowed onto the plane. Take her to the veterinarian to ensure that she is healthy enough for travel and to ensure that you have the proper records. Also, if your dog takes prescription medicine, ask your vet for extra and make sure any prescription information is printed clearly on her tag. This will help others understand your dog's needs and may prevent someone from trying to steal her.

Get the Proper Carrier

Different airlines have different policies regarding the size and type of pet carrier you can bring into the cabin or store in the pet area. Generally, however, pet carriers should be large enough to allow your dog to stand, lie down and turn around fully without bumping into the insides of the crate. Many airlines, such as KLM, require there be food and water and an absorbent blanket in the crate. Know your airline's pet policies. Some allow pets in the cabin, others do not.

Update Her ID

Make sure your dog wears a collar with tags for her license, any medical information and her name. AAA recommends an additional tag with your name and contact information, plus the name and number of an emergency contact back home. Some dog parents have their pets tattooed with an identification number, while others have their vet implant a microchip under the dog's skin. Whatever method you use, make sure all information is current and accurate.

Get Her Used to Traveling

Dogs who are unaccustomed to traveling, especially on airplanes, may find the experience frightening. Some people assume that tranquilizers are the right solution, but these may actually increase your dog's stress or not work. A better approach is to socialize your dog. Expose her to other people and animals, especially if she is normally a homebody, and take her out for drives. This can help reduce the fear of the unknown as well as the likelihood of her acting aggressively due to stress.