Air Travel with Your Pet Explained by Our Veterinarian in Rancho Cucamonga

If you are planning air travel with your pet, the following information should make your journey easier. If you have any questions about taking your pet on a plane, please don’t hesitate to call our animal hospital in Rancho Cucamonga!

Flying with your Pet in the Cabin with You

  • Most airlines require pets to be 15 lbs or less to fly in the cabin with their owners (this weight includes both the pet and the carrier). This also means the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you.
  • Check with the airline about the carrier size and dimensions. Most airlines sell carriers or you can buy one from a pet supply store.
  • Be sure to confirm with the airline the day before travel that your pet is coming with you.
  • Remember that you will need a USDA Health Certificate in most cases. Check with the airline as to how recent the certificate must be issued. The USDA considers a health certificate good for 30 days but many airlines and states have their own ideas about how long a health certificate should be valid (10 day is typical for domestic travel). Some states require special vaccinations. Foreign countries often require special notarization of the certificate beyond a signature from your veterinarian in Rancho Cucamonga so be sure to check with the consulate regarding what you need.

The US department of Agriculture maintains a great website to help you find information regarding health certificates and travel documents to most countries in the world.

Some animals may be stressed or frightened by travel. Your Rancho Cucamonga veterinarian may consider prescribing mild sedatives or anti-anxiety medication for your pet. If your pet is traveling in the cabin with you, you may just want to have them on hand in case of unexpected anxiety. In order to obtain tranquilizers, you would need an examination by our veterinarian in Rancho Cucamonga or your own before they can be prescribed.

Your Pet as Checked Luggage

  • Some airlines have maximum weight requirements. Be sure to check if you have a big dog.
  • Most states will not accept animals younger than 8 weeks of age.
  • Federal regulations require each kennel, or crate, be properly marked as follows:
  • Display a “Live Animals” Label with letters at least 1 inch high, on top and on at least one side of the kennel.
  • Indicate the top of the kennel with arrows or “This End Up” markings on at least two sides.
  • Feeding Instructions Label: If food is necessary, it must be attached to the outside of the kennel.
  • Feeding Certification Attached: Certification must be attached to the kennel stating that the animal has been offered food and water within 4 hours prior to drop off at the airline. IMPORTANT: Do not feed your animal in the 2 hours prior to departure, as a full stomach can cause discomfort for a traveling pet.
  • Contact Information Label: Make a label with your name, address, and phone number at origin and destination cities and attach it to the outside of the kennel. It is also a good idea to include your pet’s name on the label (in case of escape, it may help to call the animal by name).
  • Include two empty dishes: One for food and one for water, securely attached to the container and accessible from the outside.
  • Absorbent material: The kennel must contain absorbent material or litter. (Black and white printed newspaper is a good choice). Please note that the use of straw, hay or wood shavings is prohibited for international shipments.

According to the Animal Welfare Act, there are specific temperature guidelines to which airlines must adhere.

Ambient temperatures in holding areas for cats and dogs must not fall below 45 degrees F for more than 4 consecutive hours.

Dogs and cats must not be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees for more than 45 minutes when being moved to or from a holding areas.

If temperatures are to be lower, a certificate from the veterinarian must accompany the pet stating that the pet is acclimated to lower temperatures.

If you are traveling abroad, be sure to check the importation requirements of the country you are visiting. This link will take you to the requirements as well as list animal transporters for your convenience:

Contact our Veterinarian in Rancho Cucamonga to Learn More

Call Alta Ranch Pet & Bird Hospital today to learn more about air travel with your pet and to make an appointment with your Ranch Cucamonga vet. You can contact us by calling 909-546-4868 or by making an appointment online.