This photo is the the last dog I actually flew with — and she was about this age and size when I did it on the “Red-Eye” from SEA to MSP. The amount of adoring and photos — thank you Japan Air flight attendants — was so fun and The Beej loved it!
For the upcoming AKC / Eukanuba National Championships, the dogs will be adults, but some won’t be any bigger than The Beej was for her trip. Since this trip was with a dog in the cabin with me, I’ll go over a little of that process with you — dogs in crates flying with you and shipping dogs are slightly different scenarios.
With any luck, your dog is lying down in the airline-approved pet carrier (we call those crates in my house) and you have your tickets/boarding passes in your hot little hands with very limited additional carry-on items. For our tale, you have all ready been to the desk to check in so you are ready to head to the TSA check point.
Your companion will need to be shown to the TSA agents — and not like you present them at a dog show. When I traveled with The Beej, she was small enough that I could carry her through the metal detector, larger dogs may walk through with you. This is where practicing new experiences will pay off! If you have neglected that part and your dog won’t walk through, you’ll be invited to a secondary screening party. Okay, perhaps it isn’t that type of party… If this happens, you can anticipate that the dog will have a visual and physical inspection by the TSA officers.
What about the carrier/kennel/crate? That might go through the X-ray machine, but rest assured that your dog won’t be inside it when that happens. If you have a dog that gets really rambunctious, you can ask to be taken to a private room so your fur family member is less likely to bust out and take a running tour of the airport. If — for whatever reason — you need to be patted down, ask to put your dog back in the crate, no sense asking for trouble in case your dog becomes protective of you and tries to bite a TSA agent.
Traveling with pets is a lot like the Boy Scouts motto — always prepared. Get to the airport early, and that means earlier than you would normally get to the airport. Don’t carry along a lot of extra stuff — trust me here, you will need free hands to get through security and move through the airport easily. I know this part seems like a logical step, but you would be surprised — don’t take your pet out of the carrier until after you have taken off your shoes, belts, and placed items in bins to be scanned. I know, seems so easy, but if you are traveling during the Eukanuba or Westminster weekends, I guarantee you’ll see that tip ignored.
This tip is crucial to your success too. Have a leash to put on your dog and loop around your wrist. Yes, I know your dog is the one dog in the universe that won’t get spooked at the TSA check point, but do it for me anyway. This is a place that is confusing and full of people who are terrified of flying — no dog in their right mind wouldn’t notice the tension of airport travel.
Please share you pet travel tips in the comments!
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