Flying with a service dog can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. If you make the proper precautions ahead of time and follow a few guidelines throughout the day, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a smooth trip to your final destination.
Keep reading to learn some things you can do to make sure both you and your service dog have a pleasant experience while traveling by plane.
Stay up to Date with Airline Guidelines
Each airline has a different set of guidelines. You need to ensure that you know the rules and policies for the airline on which you are flying.
It can be challenging to know when these sorts of policies change, but having this information sent to you is one of the benefits of registering your service dog.
You should also alert the airline that a service dog will accompany you. Often, the airline will give you a bulkhead seat so that you have more room for your service animal.
Contacting the airline directly will also allow you to clarify any aspects of their policy that you might find unclear. Seeking clarification ahead of time will ensure that you don’t encounter any issues on your flight day.
Visit the Vet
Before leaving on your trip, you should pay a visit to the vet to ensure your service dog is fit to fly. You also need to be sure that the dog is up to date on all its shots. Some airlines will ask for documentation of the animal’s vaccinations as well as a wellness report. Having these records ready to go will ensure you won’t run into any problems with the airline.
Arrive Early to the Airport
You don’t want to be rushing to make your flight at the last minute ever, but especially not when you have a service dog in tow. Make sure to get to the airport in plenty of time to ensure that everything goes smoothly, and you can leisurely make your way to the gate.
If you have to have a layover in between flights, it is advisable to make the stopover longer than you usually would to ensure that you and your service dog have plenty of time to make it to your next gate. It can be tough to rush through an airport with a service dog at your side.
Do Not Feed Your Dog Right Before the Trip
Depending on the length of your flight, not feeding your service dog before might not be possible; however, it is best to avoid if you can.
Some dogs can become sick when adjusting to the change in altitude and cabin pressure. Not having much in their stomach can help limit vomiting and diarrhea if this happens.
Waiting to feed your dog will mitigate the risk of accidents on the flight or at the airport.
Service dogs are specially trained to detect changes in mood and behavior in their owners. If you are full of anxiety while going through security at the airport, your dog will likely pick up on that and become anxious as well.
Do everything you can to remain as calm as possible while traveling so that your dog can stay relaxed as well. Paying attention to this issue will help everyone to have a pleasant experience while traveling.
While traveling is exciting for many people, others find it incredibly stressful. Unfortunately, worrying about a service dog can often add to this stress.
However, if you keep the above tips in mind, you will likely be more than prepared to travel with your service animal and handle any situation that comes your way.