Traveling with Your Pets

Flying with Your Pets
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If your animal can't be with you in the cabin, the general rule of thumb is not to put them on an airplane. Despite new regulations issued by the Federal Aviation Administration to implement the Safe Air Travel for Animals Act, both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States strongly urge that you avoid putting your pet in a plane's cargo hold. The animals can be subject to rough handling when loading and to extreme temperature changes en route.

If there's no alternative, then follow these suggestions:

• Visit your vet within ten days of departure to obtain a signed certificate of health that your pet needs for boarding.

• Book a direct flight whenever possible to eliminate glitches that might occur when the animal changes planes.

• Know the airline's restrictions. Some limit the weight for an animal and his crate to 70 to 120 pounds.

• Minimize your animal's anxiety by letting him try out his crate ahead of time. Place it in your living room and line it with his favorite blanket and toys.

• Fly midday in winter and mornings in summer to avoid dangerous temperature extremes.

Additional Info:
For more tips, check with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (212.876.7700,, the Humane Society of the United States (202.452.1100,, and the Air Transport Association of America (202.626.4000,'s resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from

Published: 11 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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