Pet Travel FAQ’s
For some peace of mind, here are a few of our frequently asked questions.
Is cargo travel really safe for pets?
Safety is a top concern when it comes to considering a pet move, and we’re confident in saying that yes, pet air travel is safe when you’ve taken all the necessary precautions. To start, this means choosing a pet-friendly airline whose cargo area is pressure and temperature-controlled and who has solid, established pet safe policies in place. Before you travel we also recommend talking with your vet about any health concerns, helping your pet get to a healthy weight through diet and exercise, and perhaps most importantly, working to crate train your pet well before the move.
Is my pet safe and where will my pet travel in the aircraft?
Your pet will travel in a pressurized, heated and ventilated cargo hold inside the airplane, located just below the passenger compartments. Tie-down straps secure your pet\’s flight kennel to the deck of the cargo compartment. Your pets will be safe 🙂
In what sort of flight kennel (crate/box) should my pet be transported?
A pet from North America travels in a plastic container while those from the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa travel in wooden boxes constructed to the dimensions of the pet. Regulations require that your pet be able to stand erect, turn comfortably and lie down with ease in the shipping container.
What can my pet travel with inside the flight kennel?
We recommend their usual blanket/pillow (something you aren’t afraid to lose and nothing too big and bulky) and a familiar soft object (such as a T-shirt or favourite toy as long as it is not an animal or meat product) along with the required water dishes.
Should I do anything special to prepare my pet for flight as it relates to food and water?
Familiarise your pets with the flight kennel they will use a few days before the trip. Very importantly, there must always be water available before, during and after the journey. Water must always be available (which is why all travel boxes have a water bowl in it). As to food, however, it\’s actually best that most animals (including dogs and cats) travel on an empty (or close to empty) stomach. We understand that you worry your pet will be hungry, especially if it\’s a long-haul journey, but we ask that you trust this bit of very important advice: Do not feed your pet for at the very least 4 hours before you drop them off at the airport for departure, and preferably longer. We generally aim for about 8-10 hours. Unlike human beings who need (or feel they need) to eat regularly, many types of animal, including dogs and cats are very capable of and even comfortable with going without food for a good 24 hours. Of course we agree that this is not what you want to do every day but in an air-travel situation, we promise you that all your pets and animals will be just fine. In fact, they will be better than if you do feed them because of the dramatically reduced risk of toileting (urine and faeces) in their travel box, which means they stay cleaner and more comfortable overall. Reduced likelihood of nausea/vomiting in case they have any kind of reaction to the movement of their crate or as a result of anxiety (though it should be said that vomiting under any circumstances is quite rare). Sound scary? Try not to worry too much. This approach really does work very well indeed.
How are pets handled at transfer airports?
Many airports around the world offer animal care lounges, animal hotels, and animal transit facilities. Pets that require a transfer during their global journey are cared for between flights by dedicated airline animal care professionals who understand the needs of traveling and relocating family pets.
Should my pet receive sedatives, tranquilizers, antihistamines, anti-anxiety or other drugs before flight?
Not at all. Nothing should be administered that reduces their ability to respond to their environment. Veterinarians around the world recognise the inherent dangers of tranquilizers, sedatives and such because they may alter pets’ physiological responses to flight.
Will my traveling and relocating pet be stressed during the flight, and are there any post-flight effects?
If you pre-flight condition your pet to the travel kennel and reduce food intake, stress is minimal and usually causes no post-flight effects. The captain of the aircraft flying your pet is given a manifest of what is aboard the aircraft during flight. The temperature of the animal cargo area is controlled by the captain and the flight crew, assuring safe transport of your family pet.
How do I measure my pets for the travel crates?
What happens if my pet soils their crate during the flight?
If required, how will my pet deal with quarantine?
Veterinarians agree that pets handle the various quarantine periods with surprisingly good outcomes – probably because they do not have a sense of time. Dedicated animal care professionals at the various quarantine stations around the world take their jobs seriously and care for your pet in a proper, conscientious, responsible and professional manner.
Can I take my pet as excess baggage?
Yes, however, this must be organised by the client with the airline directly as we only assist with pets travelling as manifest cargo.
Collars and leads?
If you would like to leave your dog with a lead and collar it gives us the opportunity to give your dog a walk just before we take him or her to the airline. We will then attach the lead and collar to the outside of the box. Note: Please don’t put your best lead with your dog- whilst we will secure it to the box as well as we can, there is still the chance that the lead could be lost in transit.
Does anyone check on my pet during the flight?
The ground-handling crew put your pets on the flight and in most cases, the pilot controls the temperature of the pet hold. Other than that, no one checks your pet during flight.
Can my Pets travel in the same carrier/crate together?
It depends on the destination and the airline. It is generally possible, however, we do not recommend it as there is no way of telling how your pets will react to one another whilst on the flight and it is better if each pet is in his or her own separate crate for transport so as to avoid any potential fighting.
Can I rent a shipping crate?
No. Crates are sold as part of the move for you to keep.
What happens if my pet soils their crate during the flight?
The airline staff will not load a pet onto an aircraft if the crate has been soiled. As airline staff are not permitted to removed pets from crate and clean the crates our AeroPets will be called to the airport to clean out the crate. If we are required to attend the Airport to clean a soiled crate there will be an additional charge for this service. It is also likely that the pet will need to be put on a later flight by the time the crate has been cleaned and the pet is ready to go. Soiled crates are one of the most common causes of late arrivals and missed connections and the only solution is not to feed your Pet before the flight. They should be given water as normal.
When is their flight booked?
Unlike people, pets/cargo travel bookings can only be made 2-3 weeks prior to departure. There is no way of booking their flights months in advance.
Can any vet complete the VHC or are there special vets?
Yes, any private vet can complete the VHC (however we do recommend Paws-Resort Pet Travel Clinic as they are vets that know the requirements and will make sure everything is completed correctly) or we send you a “dummy copy” that we pre-complete for your private vet to copy over and sign, etc.
What do we do with the crates / containers?
Those are yours to keep. You can do with them what you like once you are in your new country/home.