Over the last few years, there has been a 40% increase of animals being transported via airplanes, with the largest increase in 2018. It's not uncommon for people to travel with their pets, whether dog or cat, and more pet owners are now bringing their dogs and cats onto the plane rather than keeping them in the cargo hold, sedated, in a crate.
So are dogs allowed in airports?
No – for the most part, passengers cannot bring their dogs, leashed or unleashed, into the terminal (unless it's a service animal that the person needs and that's lawfully can be inside the building). All dogs must be in a carrier/kennel, and ready to travel according to airport's and/or airline's rules and regulations.
You've probably seen some leashed dogs outside of the kennel in the airport. While more pet owners are bringing their dogs and cats with them onto the plane, a large chunk of that are also assistance dogs travelling as “support” or “service” animals for their owners. While some of those are legitimate service animals, many are also transported under these labels simply to avoid ticketing.
Because of this, the number of animals present at airports has consequently increased throughout the country. Airports have to accommodate all these pets, which can occasionally be a daunting task. Considering the fact that many of these animals aren’t trained for the role that they are supposed to perform, dealing with them can get messy and even dangerous on occasion.
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Are Dogs Allowed in Airports and Tips for Traveling with Your Pup
Transportation of pets by plane is very stressful for the owners, and even more for the animals themselves. Flying through the air is not a natural condition neither for people nor the animals. But for the animals, potential consequences are more difficult to predict.
Unlike a man who is aware of the change and is able to adapt to a new environment during the flight, dogs don’t understand what is expected of them and what they need to do during the flight. Plane flights are, without a doubt, very stressful for your pooch.
If you're preparing to fly with a dog, when it comes to airports, many factors must be taken into consideration. Different airports throughout the US have different rules when it comes to pets in general, and which breeds are allowed and when.
Last December, a girl was bitten by a dog on a Portland airport while waiting for her flight, because the dog wasn’t secured in a transport crate and was free to roam around. Similar cases have prompted more fierce regulations at US airports, and many of them are cutting down on the number of animals that are allowed to enter.
One of the issues is that different regulations govern airliners and airports, and where the former acknowledges emotional support pets, the latter doesn’t. This disparity makes any further resolutions much more difficult because different laws have to be coordinated in order to accomplish anything.
Many airports have rules regarding emotional support animals that obligate owners to keep their animals in carriers, or to keep them on a short leash if they are too big to fit in a carrier. Owners of smaller dogs will have a much easier time when it comes to transporting our furry buddies by plane. However, for any type of dog, there are steps to take in order to make the process go as smooth as possible.
There are also specific regulations for dogs urinating or defecating on airport grounds that state that the owner is obligated to stay on site until the janitors take care of the problem. Regardless of the regulations, we should always strive to be fully prepared to avoid any potential incidents or unpleasantries that might occur at airports or in planes. Here are some tips on how to do so.
Plan in Advance
Always try to get a direct flight route to wherever you’re going, because changing flights only complicates things further and forces you to keep track of different rules for different airports. Also keep in mind that as stressful as the process might be for you, your dog has it worse.
Prepare Your Pup Beforehand
Get your pup to play with the carrier before the journey itself in order to reduce the stress of the flight. Try to tire him out a few hours before heading to the airport, because the chances are that he will be more cooperative and less nervous.
It’s important that the animal gets the chance to stretch and run around for a while as it will spend the entire journey cramped up inside the carrier. If your dog is nervous by nature, try to find some calming products that might ease the process. If you are unsure whether it is safe to give it to your pooch, or what exactly you should use, consult with your veterinarian.
Consult with a Vet
Always make sure beforehand that your dog is fit for a flight in the first place. Get your pup vaccinated and carry with yourself a copy of his vaccine card for the worst-case scenario, or if an airport manager asks for one.
Don’t Skimp on the Carrier
Picking the right airline approved carrier for your dog is essential for a flight or similarly stressful situations. The type and the size of the carrier are important not only because of your dog’s size but also because of the space that it has to fit in.
As there are more dogs on airports than ever, overcrowding has become an issue, which is why ergonomics have a top priority. Always research the type of plane that you’ll be using and the amount under-seat space that it has available.
Be There on Time
Being on time means arriving a few hours before the flight. Try to get to the airport early to avoid potential lines and to double-check if everything is in the right order.
Take your dog out for a walk before heading to the airport so that he can empty himself. Moreover, bear in mind that not many airports have dedicated pet relief areas and, by taking care of your dog’s needs beforehand, you can eliminate a whole layer of problems that can arise during the flight.
Set an Example
Make sure that your dog stays in the carrier for the remainder of the flight. You might have to take him out of it while walking through the security line, but try to have control of the situation during this part of the process as well. Hold your pup firmly as you pass through the metal detector and diligently return him to his carrier once you’re done.
Being well-prepared when traveling with your dog by plane is the best thing to ensure that you are confident everything will go as planned. Getting all the necessary information about what is allowed and what isn’t when it comes to airport rules about dogs is the first thing to do. Make sure your pup isn’t stressed and that its needs are taken care of, and everything should go smoothly as butter.
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