How To Prepare Your Pet for Long-Distance Shipping With United Airlines

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated February 23, 2024

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Traveling with your pet on a long-distance journey can be a stressful experience for both you and your furry companion. Preparing your pet for long-distance shipping with United Airlines is essential to ensure a smooth and comfortable trip. This article will outline the steps to help you prepare your pet for their big adventure.

Understand United Airlines Pet Policy

The first step in preparing your pet for a long-distance shipping journey with United Airlines is to familiarize yourself with their pet policy. Policies differ from one airline to another. For instance, you’ll find many differences between Jet Blue pet policy and United Airlines’ policies, like allowing small pets, such as cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds, to travel in the cabin if they are kept in an approved pet carrier.

Larger animals may need to travel in the cargo hold, following specific guidelines set by the airline. Reviewing United Airlines’ pet policy and ensuring your pet meets all the requirements before booking your flight is essential. You can check the Jetblue pet policy for more information on other airlines’ policies.

Choose the Right Pet Carrier

Selecting an appropriate pet carrier is crucial for your pet’s comfort and safety during their journey. United Airlines has specific size and weight requirements for pet carriers, which vary depending on whether your pet is traveling in the cabin or cargo hold. Make sure to choose a carrier that meets these requirements, provides ample ventilation, and allows your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

Visit Your Veterinarian

Before embarking on a long-distance shipping journey with your pet, schedule a visit to your veterinarian. The vet will perform a thorough health check, ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations, and provide a health certificate if the airline or destination country requires.

Additionally, discuss any concerns you may have regarding your pet’s ability to cope with the stress of air travel and ask for advice on minimizing anxiety during the flight.

Prepare Your Pet for the Journey

To help your pet adjust to the experience of air travel, gradually acclimate them to their carrier before the trip. Allow your pet to explore the carrier, and encourage them to spend time in it by placing their favorite toys, bedding, or treats inside. Additionally, consider taking your pet on short car rides in the carrier to help them become more comfortable with the sensation of travel.

Packing Essentials for Your Pet

When packing for your pet’s long-distance shipping journey, include essential items such as a leash, collar, waste bags, food, water, and any necessary medications. Be sure to attach a travel tag to your pet’s carrier containing your contact information and details of your pet’s destination.

Day-Of-Travel Preparations

On the day of your pet’s flight, exercise your pet before leaving for the airport to help them burn off excess energy and stay calm during the journey. Feed your pet a light meal a few hours before departure to minimize the risk of an upset stomach during the flight. Ensure your pet has access to water throughout the journey, and bring a collapsible water dish for use during layovers.

FAQs

What are the size and weight requirements for pet carriers on United Airlines?

United Airlines has specific size and weight requirements for pet carriers depending on whether your pet is traveling in the cabin or cargo hold. For in-cabin travel, the carrier must fit under the seat before you and not exceed 17.5 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 7.5 inches high.

For pets traveling in the cargo hold, the carrier must be large enough for the pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably but not exceed 40 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 30 inches high. The combined weight of the pet and carrier cannot exceed 100 pounds for cargo hold travel.

Does United Airlines require a health certificate for pets?

Yes, United Airlines requires a health certificate for pets traveling on cargo hold or international flights. A licensed veterinarian must issue the certificate within ten days of travel and should state that the pet is healthy and fit for air travel.

Can my pet travel in the cabin with me?

United Airlines allows small pets such as cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds to travel in the cabin, provided they are kept in an approved pet carrier that meets size and weight requirements. However, some restrictions apply depending on the destination, and not all aircraft can accommodate pets in the cabin. It’s essential to check with United Airlines before booking your flight.

Are there are breed restrictions for pets traveling on United Airlines?

Due to safety concerns, United Airlines has specific breed restrictions for pets traveling in the cargo hold. Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) dog and cat breeds, such as pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats, are not accepted for cargo hold travel due to their increased risk of respiratory issues during air travel. It’s essential to check with United Airlines for a complete list of breed restrictions. Consider alternatives like JetBlue or Alaskan Airlines if your pet’s breed is banned by the airline.

How Can I Help My Pet Stay Calm During the Flight?

To help your pet stay calm during the flight, gradually acclimate them to their carrier before the trip, encourage them to spend time in it, and consider taking them on short car rides. On the day of travel, exercise your pet before leaving for the airport, feed them a light meal a few hours before departure, and provide access to water throughout the journey.

Conclusion: Preparing for Long-Distance Shipping with United Airlines

Preparing your pet for a long-distance shipping journey with United Airlines involves adhering to the airline’s guidelines, ensuring it is healthy and acclimated to its carrier, and following the necessary precautions to make the experience as stress-free as possible. However, if you’re looking for alternative shipping options, consider using a dedicated pet transportation service like CitizenShipper.

CitizenShipper connects pet owners with experienced, reliable, and thoroughly vetted pet transporters. With a wide range of transportation options, flexible scheduling, and door-to-door service, CitizenShipper offers a personalized and stress-free solution for shipping your pet long distances.

By preparing your pet and exploring all available shipping options, you can ensure a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable long-distance journey for your furry friend.