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What You Need To Know Before Taking Your Dog on an Airplane

These days, it’s pretty common to see more than a few four-legged friends onboard an airplane.

If you’re flying between LA, NY, San Fransisco, and Miami, odds are, you’ll probably see a number of dogs on your travels. You might even be sitting next to one!

Did you know that there is a difference between flying with a pet and flying with a Service Dog?

Most airlines allow pets in cabins, but there are strict rules for how you can bring them. Emotional Support Animals used to have different guidelines, but as of January 2021, most airlines have changed their policies. Service Animals have different rules.

Read on to learn the differences between flying with pets, emotional support animals, and service dogs.

Usually, only animals under 25 pounds are allowed in the cabin with you. To fly with an animal above 25 pounds, you’ll usually have to check them as cargo. This is not only traumatic for the animal, it’s dangerous.

There are many devastating stories of animals not making it to their final destination. Sometimes the animal gets lost or sent to another destination by mistake, and unfortunately, there is no shortage of incidents of animals not making it to their destination alive.

In 2018 Delta had 4 animal deaths in cargo. In 2017, United Airlines had 18 pet deaths. Alaska seems to have had the least amount of incidents, but we are missing the total number of animals carried, so we are dealing with incomplete information.

That’s part of the problem, what goes on after you’ve checked the animal in is a black box. Airlines don’t tell you and there is no visibility beyond the check-in desk. It’s difficult to find complete stats, but the stories are enough to caution pet owners.

If you have a large dog that you need to transport across the country, please consider making it a drive.

Up until 2021, most airlines allowed Emotional Support Animals to fly in the cabin for free.

Emotional support animals (ESAs) provide general emotional wellbeing to people with phycological disabilities. Psychological disabilities can include depression, bipolar disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders.

Many people were obtaining doctor’s notes to classify their dog as an emotional support animal so they could fly with them in the cabin for free.

Emotional support animals also had the privilege of sitting on the handler’s lap and were not required to be in a crate under the seat in front of them.

That all changed because too many people took advantage of the system and brought poorly behaving dogs with them.

Emotional support animals don’t get a free pass to bark, bite, growl, or use the bathroom in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Just like service dogs, emotional support animals are expected to behave in public and be under the control of their handler. Emotional support animals should complete a general good behavior training course. Just because your dog is certified, does not make them exempt from following the rules.

As of January 2021, American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines updated their policies to no longer consider emotional support animals as service animals.

Emotional support animals are considered pets and fly under the same airline rules as pets. To find out how to bring your dog with you, it’s best to contact your airline directly, with your reservation number.

Most airlines have a limit on the number of pets that are allowed in the cabin at a time. They will usually be able to accommodate your pet for a fee, provided the pet fits in a carrier under the seat in front of you.

Sometimes you can get an exception for bringing a bigger dog, or the airline will allow you to buy the seat next to you to accommodate the dog.

Always contact the airline ahead of time with as much notice as possible. Airlines do not have to accommodate your pet, so don’t count on everything working out without making a plan in advance.

All airlines will allow dogs that have been specially trained and certified as a service dog to fly in the cabin with you for free.

A service dog must perform a specific task that helps you with a disability. A disability can be a visible disability like a mobility issue, hearing impairment, or a visual impairment, or a disability can be non-visible or psychiatric, like autism, epilepsy, or panic disorder.

If you are bringing your service dog on board a plane with you, you still need to contact the airline in advance and let them know. While they should accept verbal confirmation that your dog is a service dog, it’s best to have visible identifiers with you such as a certificate, ID card, vest, tags, and/or leash.

Some airlines will also require a health certificate or might have their own paperwork, including a good behavior form you’ll need to fill out in advance.

This is why it’s important to always contact the airline in advance and discuss your plans. They will let you know if you need to fill out a form or have your vet sign any papers. If you’re bringing your dog as a service dog, usually the medical desk will help you with this. It’s always a good idea to have your dog’s proof of vaccinations with you when traveling.

At the end of the day, no matter if you are traveling with your dog as a pet, emotional support animal, or service animal, you are responsible for the safety, wellbeing, and behavior of your animal.

Always ensure your animal has what they need to travel safely and comfortably. If you are thirsty, hungry, or need to use the bathroom, they probably are too. Only put your dog through what you know they can handle.

Originally posted 2021-02-18 18:15:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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