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As the number of animals who fly increase so does the number of reported mishaps. In 2017, domestic airlines transported 506,994 animals, of which 24 died, 15 were hurt and one was lost, according to the DOT. As a result carriers are tightening restrictions leaving many pet owners confused about what’s allowed. 

Here are four dos and four don’ts for worry-free travel with your cuddly companions:

  1. Id your pet.
    Have microchips implanted and make sure they are wearing external tags that include current contact information. 
  2. Don’t let your pet ride loose.
    Always restrain your pet in a well-ventilated crate.
  3. Check species and breed restrictions.
    Did you know many airlines forbid brachycephalic (short-headed) dogs because they are more susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Examples: Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Chow, Pug.
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute.
    Contact the airlines as far in advance as possible to avoid unexpected fees, being denied boarding, or even having your pet flown back to your place of departure!
  5. Carry the necessary paperwork.
    Including import permits from the destination country and a health certificate that meets the country’s requirements. 
  6. Don’t sedate your pet.
    Allow your pet to get comfortable being inside their travel crate while at your house. Let them sleep and eat inside it. If it’s a comforting space, your pet will want to be in it during travel.
  7. Consider using a professional pet shipper.
    Find one at the International Pet and Animal Transport Association website.
  8. Get your pet checked out.
    Get a clean bill of health from your vet and make sure vaccinations are up to date.
  9. Don’t assume your pet will be allowed to travel in the cabin with you.
    Plan on using the carrying crate, and ensure that it meets the requirements for air travel established by the International Air Transport Association.
  10. Remember water!
    Don’t forget to put water in the carrying crate for the journey.