Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dog and Cat
Pet Breed: Domestic Short Hair and Mini-Pinscher
From: Cape Town, South Africa
To: San Diego, USA
Hi, I have two extremely nervous small animals and we are taking them to the USA on a multiple-stop long-haul flight. I hear tranquilizers are no longer the norm (deaths due to breathing difficulties?) but I am very concerned about both of them surviving the trip unscathed - the cat hates being boxed and the dog hyperventilates when away from me and frightened. The dog is 9 (ish) and the cat is 3/4 years old. My vet recommended flying KLM as they have a vet check at Schiphol airport? is this good advice? The problem is our flights will be paid for by University California and we may have to fly a US carrier. If so, will stopping over in New York be a problem for the pets? I've heard it may. Any advice would be appreciated.
Pet travel can certainly be stressful, and we totally understand your concerns. Tranquilizers are NOT recommended (or even allowed, really). Rather, it's best to try to acclimate your pets to their travel crates in the weeks and months before the trip, and also you should try to keep life as calm, stable, and filled with exercise/playtime as possible.
We often fly pets using KLM because they have a pet-friendly travel program in place. Traveling through Amsterdam means your pets will be able to visit the KLM Animal Hotel, where pets can take a break from their travel crates and stretch their legs in a safe environment. The bottom line is this: whatever airline you end up choosing, just try to find one that does have a pet program. Continental and Lufthansa are also carriers we frequently use. Take a look at our blog for more information about pet-friendly airlines, and don't hesitate to contact us if you have more questions.