Sometimes flying is the best way to travel and may involve taking your Labradoodle on board an airplane or shipping him ahead. Although thousands of pets are transported by air every year, when the occasional one dies due to an airline mishap during transport, it makes headlines.
Horror stories abound about dogs shipped in too hot or too cold cargo containers, who, as a result, have either suffocated or frozen to death. But airline awareness about travel for pets has improved in recent years.
You can help minimize risks to your Labradoodle by following these guidelines:
Contact the airline in advance to determine their pet regulations. Try to book a direct flight or one with a minimum number of stops. Travel on the same flight as your Labradoodle and ask to see them being loaded into the cargo hold. If possible, fly during the cool parts of the day in warm weather and warm parts of the day in cool weather.
Investigate an airline's pet transport policies and procedures before buying your dog a ticket. Find out what the accommodations are like. Is the cargo hold climate controlled? How long will your dog have to wait before he is brought off the plane at its destination? What other types of cargo will be shipped on your flight? Will someone hand-deliver your dog, or will he be whisked into the airport along with the luggage?
If you have a small dog, you may be able to take the animal on board with you as long as he is in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Contact the airlines to determine if this method of transport is allowed and for the accepted crate size.
The Humane Society of the United States recommends not shipping short-nosed dogs, such as Pekingese, Chows, or Pugs, or cats in airplane cargo holds. Because of their shortened nasal passages, these breeds are more vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heatstroke.
If your dog is to be shipped in the cargo hold, purchase a sturdy, United States Department of Agriculture-approved carrier or shipping crate that is large enough for him to stand up and move around in. It should have adequate ventilation, and the words "Live Animals" should appear on the front top of the crate.
Put some comfortable blankets or bedding on the bottom of the crate. Close the crate securely but don't lock it in case airport personnel must open it in an emergency.
Fit your dog with ID tags that have your name, address, and phone number as well as the address and phone number of your destination. Carry a photo of your dog in case he is lost.
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