December 28, 2020
Have you ever considered flying your pets within Australia?
While flying your pet can come with some risks, Cecil the travel dog, who has travelled extensively within Australia and overseas, has some practical advice to minimise the risks and make your journey less stressful for your and your pet.
In Australia, the airlines that fly dogs are Qantas, Virgin Australia and Rex. Contact them directly if not using a specialist pet travel company and plan to do it yourself. The most important thing to remember is to book your pet’s flight before your own due to limited spaces. Cecil advises that “You might have to call domestic freight rather than the usual booking number if you are preparing by yourself.” But please be advised that due to the pandemic, it is likely that you will be required to use a professional service at this current time.
#Tip 1: Invest in an IATA approved container
Some airlines have particular requirements regarding the type of crate you use. When we flew our cat we used a Vari Kennel but check with the airline guidelines. Cecil says “You should be able to stand, lie down and turn around comfortably in your crate.”
#Tip 2: Travel in cooler months
The main risk to your pet can happen by waiting on the tarmac before departure or during their arrival. When pets are loaded on the plane or unloaded after landing there is always a period of time before they are taken inside. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce these risks. It is advised that you should not travel when it’s too hot – avoid flying during summertime, and try to find a flight that leaves early in the morning or in the evening. Also, Cecil adds “Consider rescheduling your flight if the weather conditions happen to be severe on the day.”
#Tip 3: Check your pet’s breed
Brachycephalic or flat-faced, and snub-nose breeds such as pugs, French bulldogs and cats, which include the Exotic Shorthair or Persian, should avoid flying in the hold as they are much more likely to suffer from heat and respiratory stress. You can find out more by visiting the Qantas website on brachycephalic breeds.
#Tip 4: Fly direct
Your humans should try to book direct flights for you and make sure it is not going to stopover for long periods of time en-route to the final destination.
#Tip 5: Prepare the paperwork
Ensure all the necessary paperwork is in order before you travel. It is also advisable to take extra copies of anything. A vet check-up will be required prior to flying to ensure your pet is safe to fly. Cecil says “Make sure you’re up-to-date with vaccinations and worming.”
#Tip 6: Avoid feeding prior to flying your pet
It is advised not to give your pet a full meal prior to travel.
#Tip 7: Don’t sedate your pet
Many pet travel companies advise against sedating your pets before boarding and Cecil suggests “An Adaptil collar could help instead.” Another tip for calming the nerves of your pet could be putting a towel that smells of you so they have something with them that smells familiar.
#Tip 8: Attach a water bottle and insert an absorbent mat
Remember to attach a water bottle to the pet carrier if it is not already built into the crate. Cecil says “There should be two water funnels attached to your cage.”
#Tip 9 Arrive early
Make you arrive early and know exactly where you are dropping your pet at on the day of the flight. Give your pet the last chance to stretch his or her legs, and check all documentation is in order.
#Tip 10 At the Destination
Proceed to the freight or cargo terminal as soon as possible to pick up your furry traveller. Cecil says “By then they will want to get out of the carrier.”
Unfortunately, in Australia, dogs and cats (except registered guide dogs) are not usually allowed to fly in the cabin. However, contrary to popular belief, pets do not travel “with the luggage”, but in a separate section of the hold, where there are the same conditions that human passengers would experience in the cabin: it is pressurised, climatized and dimly lit.
For further information:
Regional Express Airlines (REX):
If your pet exceeds 30kg, they will need to be consigned as freight. Your pet will be charged at a minimum rate of $5.50 per kilo. This will include the weight of the pet pack.
Cannot accept live animal bookings on the day of travel and must be submitted a minimum of three business day (72 hours) prior to the scheduled time of departure. For urgent booking requests (less than three full business days before departure) please call 13 12 13.
Virgin Australia can accommodate pet travel on most domestic flights, where we have appropriate pet handling arrangements in place at each end of the journey. Read more on Virgin Australia’s website.
Cecil the travel dog is an Aussie who calls Italy home,
follow his journey @cecilthetraveldog