FX Excursions

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Traveling with Pets

by Felicity Long

Dec 3, 2017

© Insonnia | Dreamstime

Travel Tips

We all know pets can be part of the family, so when you just can’t leave home without Fido, here are 10 travel tips, courtesy of The ARK at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the world’s first privately-owned animal reception terminal and quarantine, opened in January 2017.


  • Research individual country and state requirements: Some countries require advance notice before allowing you to bring your pet, so plan ahead by using the USDA-APHIS Pet Travel
  • Know your airline: Did you know some carriers restrict certain breeds? Also, some airlines aren’t equipped to handle live animals at all, and if you want your pet in the cabin with you, check in advance whether that’s allowed. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to weather and heat considerations when making your reservation.
  • Register and microchip your pet before your trip: This is actually a good idea anyway, since even the best-behaved animal can get lost. Be sure also to put all the key information on your pet’s collar.
  • Bring a copy of veterinary papers: Hopefully you won’t need to refer to these, but just in case, it’s a good idea to have an extra copy of anything you might need to show a vet unfamiliar with your pet.
  • Pack mindfully: This may seem like a no-brainer, but in addition to an extra day’s supply of pet food — just in case of flight cancellations or other delays — don’t forget to bring medications and a first-aid kit.
  • Bring extras: Pack an extra collar and leash with you when you travel, and consider even keeping a current photo of your pet in the unlikely event he or she gets lost.
Dog traveling in airport

Photo: Madrabothair | Dreamstime

  • Consider booking direct flights when possible: Delays and other issues are minimized when you avoid travel connections, so look for non-stop flights if available. Also, try to time your flight to non-peak hours to make for a less stressful experience.
  • Keep calm: Remember your pets can pick up on your mood, so take a deep breath and do your best to keep stress and anxiety at bay.
  • Invest in a good travel crate: If your pet is flying as cargo, be sure the travel crate is in good condition and International Air Transport Association compliant. Acclimate your pet to the crate beforehand and consider using a pheromone collar or spray to help induce calm. It’s also a good idea to attach a photo of your pet and emergency contact information to the crate, just to be on the safe side.
  • Luggage vs. your pet companion: While you may not be comfortable separated from your pet, be aware juggling luggage and a pet carrier at a crowded airport can be an exercise in frustration. Passengers flying out of JFK might want to book their flight a day before their four-footed friend. He or she can stay at The ARK Pet Oasis, where staff provide food, water, outdoor relief, roomy kennel and, of course, plenty of attention. The company will then provide transportation to the airline and ensure the travel crate is properly marked, labeled and ready to be checked in.


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