What You Need to Know About Flying With a Dog to Florida
Flying is sometimes stressful, but flying with a dog can make you feel even more anxious. In general, most domesticated dogs that weigh 20 pounds or less can travel with owners as long as the carrier fits under the seat. Service animals usually can’t fly for free, and if they’re bigger, they’ll likely travel in the luggage compartment.
Unfortunately, the current COVID-19 situation only makes flying with a dog more difficult. Many airlines don’t allow pets on the plane unless they meet specific requirements. Also, since your destination may entail a mandatory quarantine, finding a pet-friendly hotel might be troublesome as well.
Since Florida remains one of the best states to visit in the US, you might wish to travel there. This is what you should know about flying with a dog to Florida.
You’ll Need to Follow a Checklist
Some of the most common questions to ask before flying with a dog are:
- Is the microchip or import permit necessary?
- Should I do a titer test?
- How do I book a quarantine hotel?
- Will the airline let me take my dog with me?
Always make sure to consult with your vet before deciding on a trip. They know your dog’s health status and can help you make a decision. Since the coronavirus pandemic is still going strong, it’s not advisable to travel with your pet unless necessary.
If you must travel regardless, make a list of things you need to do and requirements your dog should meet. With it, you’ll manage the whole process with ease.
Prepare Your Dog’s Papers Beforehand
When it comes to moving your dog in and out of Florida on domestic flights, your dog should have an Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection within 30 days of issuance. Based on Rule 5C-3.009, the OCVI should also state that your dog is disease-free, did not come from a rabies-infected area, and didn’t have any prior exposure to rabies-infected animals.
Your dog will also need to be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases if it’s older than three months. It should also receive anthelmintics and be free of internal parasites. In case you’re transporting your dog to sell it to a new owner, you must comply with Florida’s Pet Law. While it’s not a Florida requirement, some counties demand that your dog wears a rabies tag.
If your dog is older and you worry about vaccine side effects, you might still be eligible for a health certificate. Let the licensed veterinarian examine the animal. If they decide that the vaccine will compromise its health, they can issue the certificate regardless.
International Travels Are a Little Different
If you’re coming to the US from abroad, there are more requirements to consider when flying with a dog. The CDC has specific requirements that your dog should meet before entering the US. These rules are mostly related to the vaccination and health of your pet.
In case you’re bringing in a dog for sale or adoption, you’ll have to follow additional requirements. Besides vaccination, the dog should be at least six months old and have an import permit issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
When it comes to entering Florida with your dog, you should abide by Florida Pet Law and Rule 5C-3.009 as well as all the CDC and APHIS ones. This will ensure you can enter the US safely and enjoy your Florida stay.
It All Depends on the Airline
Once you talk to your vet, head over to your airline of choice to find the list of rules to follow while flying with a dog. Besides the necessary documentation, different airlines set different rules for flying with a dog. This also depends on whether you already live in the US and wish to fly domestically or internationally.
BlueJet allows small dogs and cats on the plane if they’re small enough to fit under the seat. United Airlines has canceled PetSafe and military pet travel, while some pets are still allowed in the cabin if they meet certain requirements like paperwork, age, and can fit under the seat.
To fly with Southwest’s domestic flights, your dog should fit into the airline-approved pet carrier. For Southwest, reservations are required in advance. Your dog should not show destructive behavior, and you should also pay a fee of $125.
American Airlines allows for carry-on pets and service and emotional support animals aged at least eight weeks. Delta Airlines banned all PET travels except for those that can fit into the cabin and service animals. These airlines are also on the list of the most pet-friendly airlines around.
Keep Your Dog Safe
Many pets lose their lives while flying on an airplane. This is why you must be extra careful to ensure your dog handles the flight well. Don’t feed it on the day of the trip. This reduces the risk of vomiting and nausea. Use pet carrier pads, and make sure you have some extra ones on you, as well as some towels, zip lock bags, and latex gloves.
If you know your dog will be too stressed out, your vet can prescribe some sedatives. If a pheromone collar doesn’t help, you can ask your vet to prescribe trazodone, gabapentin, or similar medications. Remember to give one dose to your dog a few days before the trip to see if it causes any side effects.
While you should limit food, don’t limit water, especially if your flight is long. Make sure to check on your dog, calm it down, and never open your carrier unless you’re in a secluded space. Keep in mind that some people don’t like dogs and don’t want to deal with a runaway puppy.
Flying with a dog doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Gather all information beforehand and contact Florida officials if necessary. Make a list of requirements your dog has to meet and start working on those months before your flight.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The pandemic created a crisis, and flying with a dog is still not the best decision to make. If you really must travel with your furry friend, make sure it’s safe.