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Commonly Asked Questions

AE Pets understands and appreciates the anxiety that pet-owners can have when it comes to transporting their pets, especially internationally.  Pets are their children.

We are happy to answer any questions.  E-mail or contact us anytime, and/or see answers below to commonly asked questions.

Is it safe for pets to fly?

Air travel is as safe for pets as it is for people. Your pet will travel in a special cargo compartment within the aircraft. This compartment is both climate controlled and pressurized for your pet’s safety and comfort, and it is on the same air circulation system as the cabin.

Elderly pets and pets with medical conditions may present a higher risk, however.   All pets must pass a health examination by your—or our—vet to travel domestically or internationally.    International travel will require an examination by a USDA-accredited vet.  We can assist with helping you find a veterinarian who is certified to complete this exam.  Note:  Not all vets are USDA-accredited.

Should I tranquilize or sedate my pet before air-travel?

The American Veterinary Medical Association and International Pet & Animal Transport Association (IPATA) strongly recommend against tranquilizing your pet.  Some airlines may also refuse to transport an animal that appears to be sedated.   It is standard operating procedure for some airlines to ask a pet-owner if a pet has been sedated.

Should your pet have an extremely anxious temperament, please speak to AE Pets about alternatives to sedatives.   There are various steps that can be taken to alleviate any stress by your pet.  For starters, it is recommended that your pet be exposed to their travel crate weeks prior to their departure.

Secondly, their owners should remain relaxed and not transfer stress to their pets.  While some pet owners may be anxious about being separated from their pet, we urge owners to remain calm when around your pets.

Can I take my pet on vacation with me?

In most cases you can take your pet with you on vacation, however there are many factors to consider, especially if traveling overseas, or some U.S. island territories.  Sometimes preparatory veterinary work or time-frames may be impractical for short journeys, or your pet may be quarantined at destination or upon return home.  If you are handling the transport yourself, then having to deal with the stress and paperwork for getting a pet into a foreign country—and remember the pet needs to get back—can take a lot of fun out of the vacation. Some larger pets may also be unable to travel to remote locations that are serviced by small aircraft.   If you are unsure or overwhelmed by all the variables, please feel free to discuss with AE Pets.  AE Pets recommends either hiring a pet relocation service to assist with the round-trip, or leave the pet with friends or family.   But we discourage vacationing by air with a pet internationally or domestically without assistance from one of several pet transport companies.

Will my pet have food and water during the journey?

We will give your pet a drink of water at the airport before departure.   Where possible, we may also provide frozen water, as this enables the crate to be moved without the water spilling, and your pet can take water as the ice melts during travel.

Food is not provided during the flight because it can be a choking hazard, and large amounts of food may make your pet feel uncomfortable in its crate.   Technically, humans and pets can go weeks without food.   It’s the hydration that needs to be addressed.  However, please prepare portions of your pet’s food in a plastic bag. We will attach these portions to the outside of the crate at pick-up time, and they will be available in the unlikely event that your pet’s trip is delayed.

What about temperature extremes?

Most airlines do not ship pets in extreme heat or cold, as your pet will be briefly exposed to weather on the tarmac during loading & unloading.  Once loaded onto the aircraft, your pet will enjoy temperatures similar to those in the passenger cabin.   The warmer temperatures are actually monitored more by the airlines than the colder winter temperatures because not all aircraft have air-conditioned cargo compartments.  But remember, at 30,000 feet, extreme high temperatures do not exist, and all live animal cargo compartments are heated.

Airlines consider the temperature on the ground at origin, destination, and any transit points along the way.  Should temperatures fall outside of approved ranges at origin, destination or transit points, your pet may not be permitted to travel on its scheduled flight.  Some locations such as Houston, Texas are commonly embargoed for all pet transport during summer months.  This may disrupt your personal travel plans.

With access to many flights, AE Pets can schedule your pet’s travel for the coolest time of day (or night) in the summer and the warmest time of day in the winter.

What about brachycephalic (snub nose pets such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and some breeds of cats) breeds?

Dogs and cats with flat or snub noses are classified as brachycephalic breeds, which may pose a higher risk during transport.   These breeds have a compromised respiratory system and cannot breath as efficiently as non-brachycephalic breeds.  As pets regulate their body temperature by panting, snub-nose breeds are more inclined to overheat in warm weather.  For more information, please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachycephalic_syndrome.

Some airlines restrict most brachycephalic breeds outright, while others do not.  It varies by airline.  Sometimes airlines require certain accommodations to be met such as a one-size-larger travel crate for some breeds to allow for better circulation of air.  AE Pets works with all major airlines and can assist in determining whether a specific airline will allow certain breeds.

May I send personal belongings with my pet?

Yes.  But please don’t send anything valuable since these items can be confiscated by the airline, customs or quarantine.  An absorbent blanket that smells like home should go inside the crate. Many pets like to have a favorite toy with them, but do not include large bones or other heavy objects that could be hazardous in the event of turbulence.   Water and food bowls—without food—as well as an absorbent blanket is required by all airlines.

Can I rent my pet’s crate?

We do not rent crates, since the crate would need to be shipped back to us here in the United States.  That is not economically feasible.  Most pets are usually more relaxed when traveling in their own familiar crate that does not have any residual scent from unknown animals that previously traveled in the crate, so we urge owners to provide new crates for each pet.   AE Pets can provide you with an airline-approved crate.  But typically, it is much more convenient for the pet owner to have us assist you in purchasing a crate.   Ideally, that crate is delivered directly to your home, where your pet can become acclimated over the weeks leading up to departure.

What if my pet needs to urinate during the flight?

“Potty accidents” are common, so we line the bottom of the crate with a thick layer of paper and personal bedding items to absorb any in-flight accidents.  Like humans, your pet may experience a little dehydration during the flight, which will reduce the need for urination.

Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.