Air travel with your animal involves a lot of forethought and prep work. This is a new experience for you and your pet so you want it to go as smoothly as possible. With the right planning you can have an enjoyable experience without having to leave your animal behind. Here are some things you should do before planning a trip to the airport.

First things first, if your pet doesn't already have one, it will need an ID tag before it can travel by air. These can be purchased at places like Wal-Mart or your local pet store. They usually run about $7.00 and they are well worth it. You should include your name, address, and current phone number. A lot of countries, including Europe, require that your pet have an embedded microchip identification tag when traveling by air. Veterinarians and shelters are the only persons and facilities that can read this number. You can order these online for about $50.00. You can enter your pet's information in a free PETLINK international database that is included in this price. You should also schedule your animal for a visit to the vet no more than 10 days prior to traveling by air. During your visit make sure that all vaccinations are up-to-date. Obtain any vaccinations that are required by law pertaining to your destination. Before you air travel with your pet obtain your pet's vaccination record, including rabies shots, along with a certificate of health from your vet. Make sure that you bring an current photograph along, as well as, a digital copy, incase your pet gets lost.

Your pet should be at least 8 weeks old and weaned before it can travel by air. You will want to bathe, groom, and clip your pets nails. You will want to bring along your animals favorite blanket, toys, are food dish to make them feel more comfortable. You should not feed them a big meal before traveling to prevent them from becoming sick. If I were you, I would bring along a portable kennel for hotel rooms. Animals left alone in a strange environment can experience separation anxiety and a portable kennel will ensure your pet doesn't tear up anything in the hotel room. You can also place a do not disturb sign on your door when leaving your room so that the maid doesn't startle your pet.

Something to consider if your pet belongs to the bradycephalic breed. An English bulldog is an example of this type of breed. These animals have a short pushed in nose and a flat face. They usually have noisy breathing, and can suffer from heat exhaustion very quickly. Be cautious when traveling with these breeds of pets. There are carriers that are specifically made to carry on airplanes that fit under the seats. If your animal is small enough consider purchasing one of these. If not try to book nonstop flight before any air travel with your pet will be taking place. If it cold weather try to fly midday. If it is warm fly later in the day. Bring a leash with you incase your pet has to go through the scanner. You should place your pet in its crate yourself. Airlines have these or you can get them at the pet shop. When you board your plane notify the flight attendant that you have an animal in cargo. Before you fly, always check with your airline to be confident that you are up-to-date with the latest regulations regarding your pet, and you should have a worry free trip.