Between the Gold: 7 Travel Tips for Flying with a Puppy

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14.9.16

7 Travel Tips for Flying with a Puppy

As many of you know I have been traveling more than I can count for the past few months.  I have had checked bags, carry- ons, duffle bags, book bags, suitcases and totes.  Picking up and repacking each bag at each stop.  But this time I had a very special piece of cargo! 

Meet Gunner!




He is a 8-week old pitbull terrier who has literally captured our hearts.





Traveling with my other bags has always been a fairly simple task.  But traveling with this 11 pound ball of joy was not quite as simple.  Between finding the right carrier, keeping him calm and so much more, the trip ended up being quite eventful. There is just so much more I wish I knew before taking off with this pup.  But nevertheless you can always learn as you go. Here’s 7 things I’ve learned about traveling with an 8-week old puppy!

  1. Research, research, research. Thoroughly research which airline you decide to travel. Each airline has different rules and regulations about pet travel.  Rules about the size of the carrier, rules about where the pet can sit, restrictions, fees and so much more.  No two airlines are alike.  And trust me, it’s so much better to have this information in mind before arriving at the airport opposed to being surprised with some rule once you get there. 
  2. Talk with your vet.  Airlines require your pet to be at least 8 weeks old and vaccinated before they can fly.  Now I have heard that some airlines actually require your pets vaccine record or a health certificate before allowing them on the plane.  Southwest did not but I had them with me just in case.  The worst thing is being almost prepared.  Also while we’re on this subject, talk about calming techniques with your vet.  Luckily for us, Gunner has such a calm temperament. Of course he did not like his space restricting baggage carrier but after the ride to the airport all the crying was out.  Figure out your pups temperament and talk with your vet on ways to keep them calm during jet setting. 
  3. Toys! Though Gunner was more worried about snoozing, having toys available gives your puppy something to do while he flies.  This is self explanatory. I mean we all love our distractions (i.e. listening to our music or playing with our phones).  Well so would he.  And even if your puppy decides not to play with it like Gunner did, at least he has a comfort item there just in case. Leading with that topic. 
  4. Comfort.  Gunner is about 2 seconds away from not being able to fit under the seat in front of me anymore.  It was super important to me that he had a carrier that gave him enough room to do the good ‘ol pitbull lay, while also following airline carrier dimension regulations.  Another comfort for me was not having a wet carrier.  Lining the carrier with puppy pads is a great idea.  They are very easy to change if your pup has an accident.  Luckily Gunner lasted the entire way! He’s not potty trained yet but doesn’t have a ton of accidents either. This brings me to my next point.
  5. Fasting.  Put your pup on a food fast the night before.  For me I gave Gunner dinner at about 8/9pm and then he got nothing but a few sips of water before leaving the house in the am.  Sounds harsh, but unless you want your puppy using his carrier as the puppy restroom it’s best to hold off on the food and liquids.
  6. Plan. Plan your route to the airport. Plan on whether or not you think a layover is good for your pup.  Plan potty breaks.  And most importantly plan for slip ups.  I originally bought two carriers, just in case the airline told me the one I brought along for the trip was too large.  I prepared for extra purchases in addition to his air fare just in case.  Planning ahead allows you to be a little free of worry in the airport.
  7. Enjoy! Last but not least try to have fun.  You and your puppy are going on an adventure together! Maybe it’s even for the first time like me and Gunner. This is a great milestone and you don’t want to miss out on the fun of it by worrying about your pups safety and travel time.

I sincerely hope next time we travel is just as good as this time! Any puppy tips to loan me? Me and Gunner would love to hear from you!

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