Top Tips for Traveling with Your Pet - United Hub
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Top tips for traveling with your pet

By The Hub team, May 25, 2016

Traveling with your four-legged friend doesn't have to be stressful experience for you or your pet. Our specially designed program, PetSafe®, provides travel accommodations for animals that are not eligible to travel in the aircraft cabin. If upcoming flight plans involve your pet, be sure to keep the following tips and recommendations in mind to ensure that he or she has the best travel experience possible.

Plan ahead

Advance planning can go a long way for your pet and many items are required in order for your pet to travel.

  • Make sure your pet meets health requirements. Prior to your trip find out about any required vaccinations or health certificates. If the pet is traveling outside the U.S., it can be more complicated as pet requirements vary by country.

View our Pet Restrictions page for more information..

Before you go

The first step in planning travel for your pet is to ensure your pet's kennel meets the IATA and USDA requirements for air travel. If kennel requirements are not met, your pet will not be accepted for travel.

  • Ensure that your pet's kennel is large enough. Your pet should be able to freely stand, turn around and lie down without being cramped by the roof or walls. Also, make sure your pet's head or tips of ears cannot touch the roof of the crate.
  • Label the kennel. Always label your pet's kennel with contact information for individuals in both the departure city and the destination of your pet's travel.
  • Acclimate your pet to its kennel before traveling. If your pet has never flown before, buy the kennel as early as possible before travel. Use the time before the trip to get them familiar by gradually increasing time spent in the new kennel, using positive reinforcement training.
  • Take your pet for a walk before the flight. To help your pet relax on their flight, you should take them for a long walk before travel. A "tired" canine does better than a "wired" one on a long flight.
  • Feed your pet no earlier than four hours before leaving for the airport. Doing so will allow enough time to avoid any unfortunate accidents during the flight.

For more information visit our kennel requirements page.

What to pack for your pet during the flight

Now that your pet is ready for the flight, make sure the following items are packed to ensure your pet has smooth ride.

  • Toys are not allowed on or inside the kennel. For safety reasons toys are not allowed inside the kennel with your pet but you may provide a thin blanket or bed for your pet to sleep on.
  • Include food and water inside the kennel. Two dishes that firmly attach to the inside door of the kennel for food and water are required, and you also have the option of securing a leash and a collar as well as up to 16 ounces of dry food to the top of your pet's kennel.

United PetSafe

Our PetSafe service, named the "Best Pet-Friendly Airline" by Global Traveler's Leisure Lifestyle awards, is available at nearly 300 airports worldwide. In 2015 we carried nearly 200,000 pets safely — approximately 550 pets per day. PetSafe services feature onsite pet hotels at our Houston, New York/Newark and Chicago airport locations, veterinary staff to ensure the safety of animals that travel with us and approximately 70 temperature-controlled vans.

For more detailed information and helpful tips, please visit united.com/petsafe.

There you'll find handy checklists that can be downloaded to ensure that your pet will be ready for his or her trip. Additionally, you'll find details on breeds with country-specific embargoes and requirements.

Contact United PetSafe for detailed requirements at 1-800-575-3335 (U.S. & Canada), +1-832-235-1541 (other locations) or by email at petsafe@united.com

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