11 Things to keep in mind while pet transfer by plane

Transferring pet’s is not at all an easy task. Whatever the method can be, pet shipping needs too many minutes planning to make it husselfree and safe for your pet. Preparing to transfer your pet includes a lot of stressful work to do. And if the transportation is going to be done by airlines, then it demands much more requirements to fulfill than road shipping.


Although, transferring pets need several measures to follow that would ensure your pet’s comfortable shipping. When it comes to cover a long distance transport, then flights or cargo holds are the best and fastest mode of transferring pets. Therefore, in this article I am going to point out some checklist for compliance with related requirements and regulations of the airline  shipping process.

1. Crate Selection and acclimation of the crate to the pet

You must follow the rules of IATA and the certain airline’s regulations while choosing the flight crate for your pet. The crate should be well ventilated and enough space, so that your pet can freely move and stand up in the crate. The crate should not be smaller than the animal. Instead of fabric one, select a crate that is made of hard plastic. For domestic flights, it should be ventilated from three sides and for international from four sides. The crate door must have a spring lock system. The crate’s bottom should be covered with comfortable padding and removable for cleaning.


After preparing the crate, make your pet know about it’s crate. Encourage and reward your pet to play and take naps inside the crate. To make it familiar with traveling in the crate, take it for several short trips and observe the animal’s action inside the crate. In case of any problem, fix it before traveling long.

2. Appointment with your vet

Arrange an appointment with a licensed vet for your pet’s health check up. Also, ensure that all the essential vaccination is done before traveling. The medical procedures should not be older than 10 days from the traveling schedule and the vaccine should be given before 25 days.

3. Documentation

You need to gather an authorised road permit or endorsement for pet transportation according to the airline’s policy. Also, you will need updated medical prescriptions and vaccination records of your pet. You must need an Airline Veterinary Health Certificate to transfer your pet by air.

4. Age restrictions


According to IATA rules your pet should be at least eight weeks old and properly weaned before being shipped to a flight. Some airlines demand the pet of 15 weeks to ship as they want to ensure that the pet’s respiratory system has been developed well.

5. Breed Restrictions

Don’t not transfer your brachycephalic breed pets via flight or cargo holds. Those push nosed animals may have breathing problems and heart strokes due to high altitude air pressure.

6. Food and hydration

Avoid feeding your pet immediately before boarding. Schedule feeding at least 3 to 4 hours from departure. Otherwise, it may cause nausea and stress diarrhea to the animal. Don’t let your pet drink too much water during travel. Give it wet food instead that will keep it feeling good and dehydrated. This is something which you should remember even when opting for ground transportation services like citizenshipper where you can mention the food related measure to the driver. 

7. Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals transportation


Sometimes service animals are allowed to travel in the flight cabin as they are about to support physically unable people to travel by air. Also, emotional support animals or ESAs are permitted to be taken with the passenger into the cabin if the passenger shows any mental health professional’s authorization letter. 

8. Customized Identification

Attach customized microchip identification with 15digit code that meets ISO standards while transporting pets internationally. Along with that affix a temporary travel tag with your exact contact details, name, address and any alternative contact to your pet’s collar and with its crate too.

9. Flight selection


Book direct and non-stop flights to avoid plane changing hazards. Make sure that the certain flight is well accommodated and fully climate controlled for pet transportation.

10. Climate embargos

Avoid transporting your pet in weather extremes. Cargo holds get vigorously hot and cold during summer and winter days that may cause heat stroke and can make your pet freeze during cargo shipment.

11. Using sedatives

Most of the airlines have strict restrictions on tranquilizing living animals in the cargo holds. You should have proper reference from an accredited vet for using sedative to your pet. Instead of sedation, you can give your pet pheromones and Zylkene to the pet to keep it calm and settled during the transportation process.

  • Jessica

    Jessica is a passionate pet lover and veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. Her blog serves as a reliable source for pet health advice, ranging from preventive care to handling emergencies.

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