Taking your four-legged friend with you on holiday is a matter of course for many dog owners. If you choose the car or the train as the means of transport, this usually does not pose a major problem for either the dog or the owner. It is more complicated when traveling by plane with a dog.
For many dog owners, the thought of not taking their dogs on vacation is a terrifying one. Traveling to nearby vacation spots is usually not a problem for the dog. Air travel is different. But what does such a journey mean for the dog? Does the stress the animal is under during the trip outweigh the benefits of such a vacation? Dog owners should ask themselves whether the dog would not be better off with a relative or in a competent kennel, advises Rainer Schröder, chairman of the BHV. After all, the flight and the organization of a transport box and pet ID card plus vaccinations for the respective travel destination not only cause a lot of stress for the owner, but also for the dog.
Dog on the plane: uncomfortable traveling in a transport box
Most airlines allow smaller dogs (between six to eight kilograms depending on the airline ) in the cabin to get promoted. However, the dog must be accommodated in a suitable transport box. This may be a maximum of 55 centimeters long, 40 centimeters wide, and 20 centimeters high. The dog must be able to stand, lie and move in it. In general, all transport boxes must be closed, leak-proof, and escape-proof. The transport boxes are not provided by the airlines but must be purchased by the owner himself. The dogs must remain completely in the box throughout the flight. A fee of between 30-50 euros applies for the carriage of a small dog on short and medium-haul flights. For long-haul flights, it can also be up to 100 euros.
Larger dogs must go in the hold
The situation is different for larger dogs (from six to eight kilograms). You are not allowed to fly in the aircraft cabin and must spend the flight in the hold. The transport boxes for large dogs must also be equipped with a food and water container that can be filled from the outside. Both containers must remain empty during the flight. This can be a problem, especially on long-haul flights, as the dog cannot be supplied with water. The carriage of large dogs costs between 75-100 euros for short and medium-haul flights, depending on the airline, and between 150-300 euros for long-haul flights.
Exceptions are guide dogs, assistance, or partner dogs. These are usually allowed in the cabin and are also transported free of charge, provided that all safety requirements are met.
Precautions before flying with a dog
But how do you prepare for a flight with a dog? First, find out about the entry requirements of the holiday country. For example, dogs are not allowed to be transported to and from Great Britain or Ireland. The labeling of the transport box is also particularly important. On the transport, the box should be written in different languages so that the content is a living being. A copy of the pet ID card and your address details should also be attached. In this way, the owner can be sure that all important documents are immediately handed in an emergency.
In any case, dog owners should book their flight with a dog very early, but at least 48 hours before departure, they should register the dog with the airline. This is the only way to ensure that there is still a free seat in the cabin or the cargo hold. Because the transport places for animals are limited on each flight. Dog owners have to expect to say goodbye to their dogs about an hour before departure.
Air travel means stress for the dog
However, out of love for animals, all dog owners should ask themselves whether the transport box in a cargo hold is the right place for their family members. In the case of turbulence and take-off or landing, things can get very uncomfortable in the cargo hold. Even if the cargo holds in this area are air-conditioned, the dog would have to get by for many hours on long flights without food and water, let alone exercise. Dog owners should therefore carefully consider whether they want to put their dog through the stress of a flight. In any case, you should refrain from flying with your dog for a short holiday.