When I first booked Sacha’s flights to London I had so many unanswered questions! Like for example, where will she go in the plane? How long will she be on the plane? Will she be safe on the plane? Will she have food and water on the plane?? And the list goes on and on and on. Well now that I have made it out the other end with a healthy and happy puppy, I thought I would try and ease any fur parent’s minds out there that may be planning to do a similar relocation.
In my first Getting prepared for take-off post we discussed crate training. This is very important because unfortunately, your pets are not allowed to travel in the cabin with you and will be stored below the plan within their crate. Please do not let this stress you out too much as the storage hold your pets travel in are completing pressurised and temperature controlled just like the main passenger cabin. Your pet will also be loaded onto the plan last and disembarked first to try and keep the process as stress free as possible.
When preparing your crate you will need to ensure that you tape any required paperwork to the top of your pets crate. Your international pet travel service will be able to confirm which paperwork will be needed. This ensures a smooth entry into your pets final destination. A lot of companies will also recommend that you tape a spare collar and lead to the top of the crate just in case. To give the crate a little personal touch you could also tape a little note to the top saying something like “Hi my name is Sacha and I’m friendly”. This personal note will ensure that the ground crew take extra care of your precious cargo. The inside of the crate will need to contain an absorbent, non-slip mat which your international pet travel service should provide. This just helps to mop up any accidents and helps keep your pet comfortable. Most airlines will also allow your pet to travel with their favourite toy. A little trick we used to help keep Sacha calm and comfortable was to have her travel with her fav toy and also a piece of my clothing that contained my scent. This familiar scent helps your pet relax during their journey. Your crate also must have a water bowl attached to the front door of the crate. The airline will then fill this bowl with ice cubes before take-off. The reason they use ice is because it lasts longer as it melt gradually and will help to prevent spills. The water bowl will be refilled each time the plane lands for refuelling.
A couple of Items that where recommended to me to keep Sacha calm while traveling was the Adaptil Collar http://www.adaptil.com/uk and the Thundershirt http://www.thundershirt.co.uk/. Both of these items are meant to be very good at keeping your puppy calm while travelling. I personally only used the Adaptil Collar with Sacha, which did help a great deal. If your pet is overly anxious please be sure to seek your vet’s advice.
It is recommended that you do not feed your pet 4 hours Before boarding the flight to avoid any unwanted mess and discomfort. They also recommend that you thoroughly exercise your pet before boarding as they will not get a chance to have a run around for a number hours (depending on the destination and whether there are stop overs). Your pet is not supervised whilst on the plan, however, please do not let this stress you as the cabin is dimly lit which encourages your pet to relax and sleep through the journey. I think you might find that your pet will leave the plan more rested and less jet lagged than yourself!
All of the ground crew are fully trained in how to care or your pet whilst on the ground and they will be checked on each time the plan lands. We decided to have Sacha fly directly from Australia to London with no overnight stop over. This flight went from Brisbane to Sydney where she swapped plans, then went onto Abu Dhabi and from there straight to London.
When Sacha arrived to her new home she was happy, clean and all in one piece!