Pet owners that are traveling with their small dog are understandably thrilled when any airline agrees to allow their pet to travel in the cabin. This is essential for some dogs and owners where there may be a severe case of separation anxiety, for both parties, and it means that you can keep an eye on your pet as they travel under the seat in front. However, pet owners cannot get complacent about the situation. Not only are these pups under strict rules in regard to their place on the plane, other passengers may not be so keen to see them.
Here are some important considerations to make before taking a dog onto a passenger flight
It is important to keep these animals contained as much as possible so they are under control, they need to stay within their carrier and certainly can’t start wandering the aisle and causing a nuisance. A big concern right now for travelers without dogs is the rise in passengers claiming that their pet is a service animal, for therapeutic needs or help with disability. While there are those that clearly need a guide dog or hearing dog with them, others are exploiting the airline system to get their dog to travel beside them, rather than under the seat in front. At least service dogs are generally calm and good natured enough not to travel without bothering other people.
Also, remember that, what may be a precious, perfect fur-baby to you may be a noisy, smelly annoyance to those that do not like dogs. Barking, feeding and evacuations need to be kept under control without affecting the other passengers. Think of it a bit like parents that take a baby on a flight – similar rules apply. Try and tire the dog out before boarding with a good walk so they sleep through the flight. Minimize water intake before the flight to reduce the need to go to the bathroom. A protective pad in the carrier can help if there are accidents. Dogs should also be kept amused as much as possible with a chew toy to distract them. Other items of comfort could also help to settle them.
Then there are those that may be allergic to dogs, or even afraid of them. A nervous flyer confronted with an anxious toy dog may be in for a rough journey. Also, squeak toys are out as a form of entertainment because they are sure to put other passengers on edge. Dogs that shed a lot and have a lot of dander can be a big problem in these confined areas so be careful if taking them out for a bathroom break.
Like humans, there are some dogs that are just not cut out for airline travel
In the end, if a dog is too anxious, high-strung or badly behaved then it shouldn’t be on the plane. Not only will it make the journey more stressful for those around, it is not fair on the animal either. Really think about the experience of all concerned when decided whether to fly with a dog, and not just your personal needs. In some cases, it really isn’t worth it for anyone concerned.