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What you need to know when shipping a pet via an airline

shipping a live pet

Whether you are buying (or selling) a pet, taking a vacation, or moving across the country with your furry little friend in tow, you may be faced with the issue of shipping live cargo through the airlines. Here are some “need to know” information about shipping a pet via plane to ensure safe and sound arrival.

Make sure your animal is healthy and mature enough to travel. They must be at least 8 weeks of age.

Use a shipping kennel or cage that meets the standards for size, ventilation, strength, and design. Your animal must have enough room to stand up and turn around. Kennels must be equipped with one food and water cup. Place a familiar blanket or your pet’s favorite toy in the kennel.

Mark the kennel with the shipper’s name, address, and phone number, and pick-up person’s name, address, and phone number (if different from the shipper).  Also place “Live Animal Stickers” on the kennel as well as the last time fed and watered.  Don’t forget to put newspaper or absorbent material on the bottom of the crate.

Animals may not be exposed to temperatures of less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit unless there is an acclimation statement by a Veterinarian.

Get a Health Certificate issued by a licensed Veterinarian.  It must be no more than 10 days old. Animals over 16 weeks must have rabies shots current. Do not give your pet sedation without your veterinarians approval.

Animals may not be brought to the airline more than 4 hours before a flight.

Do not give your pet solid food in the six hours before the flight. Animals less than 16 weeks of age must be offered food and water if transit is more than 12 hours. Older animals must have food at least every 24 hours and water at least every 12 hours.

Take note that many airlines will not ship animals on flights over 12 hours. Check with your airline cargo department regarding long flights.

Most airlines now charge a fee to take pets in the cabin of the plane. You must make a reservation for your pet and it must fit in a carrier under the seat.  Currently, fees for animals range between $50-$100 each way.  Check with your airline for prices.

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