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Carrying a dog

If you are travelling with a dog or cat, you must say so when you make your reservation. All airlines will allow at most one dog in the pressurized portion of the cabin (to prevent barking fights). The dog must be in a travel cage that fits under the seat in front of you and sedated. (If the dog is small, try to get a cage that fits under the seat, so you can keep watch on the pet. Otherwise, the dog will travel in the pet area of the baggage section, and you won't see the dog until the flight is over. The pet area is pressurized but may not be heated/cooled. Get nonstop flights since the pet area can get pretty hot while on the ground.)

Many airlines require that the dog be given a tranquilizer supplied by your vet. Most veterinarians no longer recommend sedating your animals when transporting by air.

America West and Southwest will take pets, (cats and dogs as cabin pets). There is a charge per direction and they must have a health certificate and fit under the seat . AA, UA and US all take dogs. US charges $30. AA and UA charge $50. (Small dogs.) United charges $50 per carrier for cats in the pet area, $30 for cats as underseat baggage. All carriers require a recent (10 days old or less) veterinary certificate of health, but rarely look at it.

All airlines embargo pets if the outside temperature is in the 90's (or perhaps even 80's). AA won't carry a pet if the temperature is less than 45F (enforcement of this rule is uneven). UA says they won't handle pets when it is -10F. US says they always handle pets except on certain commuter flights. US allows you to bring your pet out to the gate and have it boarded just before you get on the plane. AA sometimes will, but usually won't, allow this.

Because of airline restrictions and the poor ventilation and care available during flights, it is best to refrain from air travel with your dog. Some airlines will allow you to purchase the seat next to your in First Class, allowing the dog to remain in a confined bag or crate, in your full view.

Carrying a dog
If you must take your dog somewhere where he is able to walk freely, a soft-side carrier may be the answer. For airline travel, your pet must be able to stand up and turn around inside the bag or carrier. The measurements are very important for your pet's safe, comfortable travel.

Measure length from the front breastbone to the base of tail plus 6" for medium breeds and 10" for large breeds. Measures height: from the floor to the shoulder. For airline travel, it is not necessary that the crate be as tall as your pet's head. Width is measured the same as height without adding any extra inches.

Traveling by car is the best mode of transportation for a dog. Travel car seats, harness hookups and a product called OG-GONE DEVICE (backpack style car seat) can be useful. The safest option for long distance travel is a hard-shell plastic crate.

Some hotels and motels do allow pets. Country Inns and cabins frequently allow small dogs. Here is a website that can help with the question about hotels/motels where pets are welcome. It is best to call ahead first too.

A directory of pet vacation destinations can be found at

Opportunities for vacations with your pets are beginning to open up. Visit the "Vacation with Pets" site at

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