How do I get my pet acclimatised to the travel cage?

The best practice is to get your pet travel cage as soon as you know you are moving. This will allow you time to introduce your pet to the cage and see it as a safe place.

Start by placing bedding or blankets with you, the owner’s scent, so they feel secure and safe. Also, start using the cage from day one and putting your pet in it for short periods at a time, this will get them used to the cage and know that they will be coming out.

We strongly do not suggest leaving this until a few days before travel, as it may cause more stress for your pet.

Where does my pet travel in the plane and can I visit them?

Pets can either be loaded into the rear hold of the aircraft, or in some aircraft the forward holds are used. There are specific loading requirements for live animals, and this can differ by each aircraft. Unfortunately, the cargo hold is not accessible for visits from owners, or crew as there is no connection between the cargo hold and the passenger cabin.

The hold is dimly lit, pressurised and is temperature controlled.

Does the Captain and crew know my pet is on-board?

Yes, the airline cargo department will have completed a document notifying the Captain of all pets travelling on the flight. This document is signed by the Captain on each flight.

Should I feed my pet before travel?

We want to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, so if you have a morning flight, we suggest you feed your pet the night before and if you have an afternoon or evening flight, then a light meal in the morning would be recommended. Pets will be in their cages from check-in until (in most cases) they arrive at their destination and are released from their cage by their owner.

Can I sedate my pet for travel?

The simple answer is no. If your pet is stressed or has separation issues, the best advice we can give you is to acclimatise your pet to the travel cage in advance of travel, so they recognise this as a safe place.

If you are anxious, there are natural calming sprays that can be used. Most veterinarians would strongly advise against sedation.

How can I make my pet comfortable for travel?

The most important aspect is to ensure the travel cage is the correct size for your pet.

There are regulations that agents and airlines need to follow to help you decide on the correct size cage. These are mandated by IATA Live Animals Regulations. Pets should be able to sit, stand and turn around naturally in the cage.

Also, all collars will need to be removed before travel and it is advised that there are no toys in the crate as they are classed as a choking hazard.

What happens on the day of the flight

Most airlines ask that your pet is checked in 4 hours before the time of departure.

During this time, the airline will carry out their checks and security of the pet, cage and the paperwork. Once this has been completed, the pet will be held in a quiet area of the facility prior to being taken to the aircraft. Pets are usually loaded an hour before departure and are given water prior to take-off. On landing at destination, the pets are amongst the first things off-loaded from the aircraft and are taken back to the local cargo facility and held while customs procedures are carried out.

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