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11 tips for traveling with your pet

What to consider when planning to travel with your four-legged companion.

We’re not going to beat around the bush --traveling with a pet can be challenging. Let's say it can be challenging but not impossible. The most important thing to achieve this is to arm yourself with patience, follow all of the instructions and correctly position yourself. The latter is what we will help you with through this article.

1. Confirm with the airline

The truth of the matter is that the airline has the last word in relation to the way you should travel with your pet. For this reason, we recommend that before planning your trip, you contact the airline or check their website for their “traveling with pets” guidelines. Generally, the rules for accepting pets depend on the size of the pet and how much space for animals there is on the flight, as some airlines limit the number of animals that can travel per flight.

2. Provide peace of mind for you and your pet

It’s important to make sure that your pet is used to the bustle, since airports are usually very crowded places with an array of constant noises such as: suitcase wheels, people walking and talking loudly, among others. Also, it is likely that if your pet is traveling on just a chain or strap, people will approach to pet him or her. If your dog or cat does not enjoy this type of environment, you may want to consider bringing a cage appropriate for its size.

3. Beware of removing your pet from its cage if he/she gets nervous

When pets are not used to traveling in a cage, they may become tense. You must be careful if you’re going to remove your pet from its cage as it has been known to occur that the pet runs away due to rattled nerves. This can cause an uncomfortable mishap for you and the rest of the people at the airport.

4. Help calm your pet’s anxiety by exercising before traveling

The day you go to travel with your pet, take it for a long walk and/or play with it so that it exhausts its energies. That way when it's time to travel, he/she is more likely to stay calm.

5. Do not give your pet too much food or water

Most vets recommend not giving a pet food or water at least two hours before the flight, as they will spend a long time without being able to relieve themselves.

6. Take your pet to relieve themself before entering the terminal

In SJU Airport’s public areas, there are designated zones of dirt and grass for pets to relieve themselves before entering the terminal.

7. Take one last chance to go to the bathroom before boarding

If you need your pet to go to the bathroom one last time before boarding the plane, we have also designated an area for them to do so near Gate B2.

8. If your pet is traveling with you in the main cabin, help him/her feel safe

It’s normal for pets to be nervous on a flight -- especially during take-off or landing. If possible, offer him/her security. Make him/her feel like everything will be okay.

9. Make him/her feel like they are in the comfort of their home, as much as possible

If possible, include your pet’s blanket and/or favorite toy in the cage or nearby area. This will make your pet feel more comfortable. Try to give your pet the best and most relaxing environment during the trip.

10. Take responsibility for your pet

Bring materials to clean your pet and attend to their needs. Remember that the responsibility of your pet is yours alone.

11. If it is not absolutely necessary, do not travel with your pet

Although each year nearly two million animals travel on airplanes to and from the United States, the truth is that traveling can cause a lot of anxiety for pets. Studies have shown that under these circumstances, an animal may experience levels of stress that make them act in unexpected ways. For this reason, we urge you not to travel with your pet unless it’s absolutely necessary.

For more information, you can access the page of the US Department of Transportation, here.