Plan ahead for worry-free travel with your pet

Published: Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 8H

Traveling with a pet isn't easy, since there are more rules than destinations. Kelly E. Carter, president of thejetsetpets.com and AOL's resident pet travel expert, and Sheron Long, frequent international traveler and author of "Dog Trots Globe – To Paris and Provence," share their tips:

• Make reservations early. Airlines offer a limited number of cabin spots for pets, and they are first-come, first-served.

• Know the weight, age and kennel size and closure restrictions for the airline you're flying.

• Fees vary for pets, so be ready to pay at the airport.

• Know how much room you will have under the seat for your pet and your legs. Seatguru.com lists the dimensions on any seat on any aircraft.

• Ask for a window seat to keep your pet from getting kicked if fellow passengers want to leave their seats.

• Find out about frequent flier miles, since those policies differ with each airline.

• To prevent accidents, don't give your pet food or water on the flight. Ask for ice cubes and let the animal lick them as needed.

• Carry a portfolio that includes your pet's vaccination records, a photo, your vet's name and number, a list of medicines and references from managers of hotels where you have stayed.

• Try to fly nonstop.

• For international travelers, every country has its own regulations, paperwork and quarantine periods. Be prepared and patient.

• Don't give your pet a sedative. Most airlines won't take a sedated animal.

• Food is not allowed in pet carriers, but tape it to the outside in case the flight is delayed or if it lasts longer than 12 hours.

• If your pet is flying in cargo, ask how it will be transported from the terminal to the plane. Some airlines have air-conditioned or heated vans.

• Pack your pet with a toy or a piece of your clothing to reassure your pet while you are separated.

• Check Petflight.com for individual airline safety rules involving pets.

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