Sedating pets airline travel
Taking your pet on a few short drives in the container may also help them become used to travelling in it.
For more tips and a detailed pet travel packing checklist, check out our travel blog where we speak to the RSPCA and Australian Assistance dogs for expert advice.
Some containers are already fitted with protective kennel mats which can absorb liquids and odours, but you may have to purchase this item separately.
Getting your pet comfortable with their container is the best thing you can do to calm their nerves (and your own! Put their favourite toy or a comfort item such as an old shirt with your smell on it in the container and encourage them to sleep in it, explore it and become comfortable with it at home.
Seasoned pet travel pros recommend taking some wet wipes to clean the container (and your pooch or puss) at their destination.
After they are out and about, give them a little light exercise, keep them hydrated and treat them to a good meal.
After you check your pet in (at least 90- to 120-minutes prior to departure), they will be taken to the freight/cargo area.
For domestic and short-haul journeys, plastic and steel mesh containers are the norm within Australia, while metal or wooden crates may be more suitable for animals such as large dogs if they are travelling long-haul.
If your furry friend is accepted as cargo or checked baggage, they will be travelling securely in the aircraft hold – a climate controlled space perfectly safe for animals.
The hold is usually located under the main cabin or at the front or rear of some aircraft.
Be sure to visit an AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) certified vet well in advance of your trip, at least 30 days prior to travel.
The vet may need to vaccinate your pet for rabies depending on your country of origin, take blood tests and write a note for you to submit to the appropriate government body.
There are natural calmers to help your pet if they are particularly anxious or hyperactive, but this should be discussed with your vet during your pre-flight visit.