Were you ever told that practice makes perfect? It turns out that this also applies to flying with dogs! After Pierogi's fifth flight and Gilly's second, we're finally becoming more comfortable with flying together. We've learned a lot along the way, but here are our 9 best tips for flying with dogs:
1. Book the aisle seat. For the longest time, I was a diehard window seater. But, we all know that the inner seats come with the least amount of wiggle room and you'll need every bit of space when scooting on and off the plane with your dog. Also, don't walk down the plane aisle holding your dog carrier like you're holding baseball park concessions. Otherwise, you'll end up swiping every single person on the way to your seat...oops!
2. Develop a plan. The last time around, Mike and I each claimed full responsibility for one of our pups. We also discussed logistics like how we would navigate the airport together (with luggage and dogs in tow). It went something like: I walked into the airport with both dogs in their carriers, Mike followed with our luggage, I popped a squat off to the side, Mike checked our bags and then at last, we each had a free arm for a dog!
3. Bend and snap! (Legally Blonde? :) Slide and zip! After a ridiculous amount of trial and error, we've finally figured out the best way for us to secure Pierogi and Gilly in their travel carriers. By the way, this is the only carrier that we've tried, but we have no complaints! It's flexible with plenty of zippers, pockets and a pop out wall and is the approved size. To easily secure your dog in a travel carrier, unzip both ends of the travel carrier and support your dog on his hind legs. Then, partially slide the carrier over your dog and zip the top closed - with your dog's cute little hind legs still standing. While still holding the carrier over your dog, lower him to a sit and then zip the bottom closed. Bam!
4. Resist taking your dog out of her carrier more than necessary. See #3. Plus, your sweet pup will truly be the safest inside of her carrier.
5. Know that every airline's pet policy is different and it's important to read the fine print. When we flew with Pierogi over the holidays, our airline required our pet carrier to have a special tag and we had to have certain paperwork readily accessible. This last time, we didn't need either! The fine print will specify all of the details, so be sure to take the time to read and understand the policies. For instance, one airline's pet policy requires an additional phone call to fully secure your pet's spot and restricts the total number of pets that can be on board.
6. Know that every airport's pet relief area is different. Many airports now have indoor pet relief areas, but the rules and amenities vary. One airport that we traveled through only allowed service animals in their pet relief area, while another opened the room to all animals and was exceptionally well maintained.
7. Get ready to hold onto your squirmy dog. Each time that we've gone through airport security with Pierogi and Gilly, we were required to take them out of their carriers and hold them without collars or leashes. It's always a tense few minutes :)
8. Split the nuggets. If you forget these, chicken nuggets also make great pill hiders.
9. Embrace the chaos. The airport is...the airport! It will always be chaotic, but the one thing that always makes us smile are all the dog lovers that we've met while in transit.
Have you ever flown with your dog? What are some of your best tips?
Woof! (Hey, there!) Pierogi, Gilly and Sarah here. Thanks for stopping by our dog blog. We're a little dog-obsessed around here and Pierogi & Co. is all about inspiring you to enjoy the dog days. Because life's more fun with your best (furry) friend by your side. So grab a bone and follow along as we stop to sniff the flowers...