Many pet owners see their furry friends as part of their family, even as their own children. That’s why more pets do things humans can do. About 37% of pet owners travel with their pets every year.
But here’s the difference between a pet and a human — pets require specific transportation protocols, especially on airplanes.
Because of these standards, there are pet travel rumors floating around. If this is your first time taking Fluffy or Fido on a trip, you should know what’s true and what isn’t true.
Don’t be hesitant to give your fuzzy pal a travel experience of a lifetime! Here, we bust 6 common myths about pet travel.
1. Cargo Hold Is a Bad Temperature
Many pet owners are warned that the cargo hold on an airplane is either too hot or too cold. Your furry loved will be uncomfortable throughout the whole flight, especially if your flight is long.
Here’s the difference that many people don’t realize — animals are held in an area separate from your luggage.
The luggage cargo hold is as cold as 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) but the animal cargo hold is kept at 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
While 45 degrees may be a tad too cold, 65 is neither too hot nor too cold.
What if you have a hairless pet? Keep a warm sweater on them, just in case they get a little chilly on the plane.
2. Pet Travel Is the Same With Every Airline
We would like to think every airline is understanding of pet travel. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case. All airlines are different.
Some have strict standards for pet travel and others are very lenient. Other airlines have stricter standards on animal safety. Some even let your animal sit with you on the airplane rather than a separate cargo hold.
Before booking a vacation for you and your animal child, choose your airline wisely. Check their pet travel standards and be aware of any extra fees, health standards, and additional insurance you have to pay.
You also need to ensure the hotel you stay at is pet-friendly and the overall standards of bringing a pet to a specific destination (some states and countries are more pet-friendly than others).
3. Pets Get Injured or Even Die in the Cargo
We don’t like to think of our little fur balls in harm’s way. While there is never any true guarantee of their safety, ensure that every airline is concerned about your pet’s well-being while in the cargo hold.
Have pets been injured or died on airlines? Yes — however, it’s rare. Airplane safety is extremely advanced, not only for humans but also for pets.
The best way to ensure your pet’s safety on an airline is by researching the best airline for your pet. Find one that takes caution with your pet, upholds strict safety standards, and has positive reviews from other pet owners.
4. Sedate Your Pet First
Do pet owners sedate their pet before a long flight with no side effects? Sure. But is it actually recommended? No, not at all.
Sedation is a powerful medication. Your pet can risk serious side effects, such as loss of muscle control and memory loss. Giving them too many sedatives increases the chance of negative side effects.
Does your animal suffer from anxiety and you’re concerned about their well-being on the airplane? Ask your veterinarian. They may provide anti-anxiety medication or a holistic substance before recommending a sedative.
If a sedative is your only option, your veterinarian will provide specific dosing standards to reduce the risk of negative side effects. However, most veterinarians don’t prescribe or recommend sedatives, except for very problematic animals.
5. Driving Is Better Than Flying
Can you drive to your destination as another option? If all else fails, sure, take your fur baby on a road trip.
There are many factors involved in driving. This includes your vehicle, your pet, and where you’re traveling.
If you’re driving cross-country in a sedan, your pet will be uncomfortable sitting in the car for hours on end. But if you’re driving to the next state in an RV, your pet will probably be cozier.
While your pet may feel a little anxiety on an airplane, the flight only lasts a few hours. From here, they don’t have to worry about traveling for the rest of the day.
If you really want to drive over flying, remember the six-to-eight hours rule. If your trip lasts six hours and no more than eight, your pet will likely be fine.
Anything longer and you should opt to fly unless you’re traveling in an RV or large vehicle.
6. You Don’t Need to Prepare Your Pet for Travel
This myth depends on your pet. Some pets are used to traveling or staying in their carrier for long periods of time. They may be fine on an airplane without prior training.
If this is your pet’s first time on an airplane, you should train them in advanced.
Animals have a different psychology than us. We’re not informing them months in advanced about this trip.
One day, we just put them in a carrier in an unfamiliar setting, usually away from you for hours at a time. This will send even the bravest animal in a state of panic.
When training your pet for travel, start small. Leave them in their carrier briefly. Make sure this isn’t the same carrier you use for discipline — you don’t want your pet thinking they did something wrong.
From here, leave them alone for a little while. Leave the house for a few hours longer than usual. Your pet may not like it, but they will trust you will come back.
Let Us Help You With Pet Travel
Whether you’re moving or on vacation, pet travel can always cause uncertainty.
This is why we can help you. Take a look at our services. We offer both ground and air transportation options for pets.