How do I fly with my service dog?
Flying With Your Service Dog
Service dogs are not just for the blind! If you have a service dog that is an emotional support animal you may have experienced some problems when traveling with your dog. Every service dog card and service dog certification should be enough information to travel with your dog but unfortunately you may still run into trouble.
Before you travel taking some extra steps to insure that you can board your flight will save you a great deal of stress.
Visit Your Vet
No matter where you plan on traveling you will need a health certificate for your companion. You will need to be sure that the immunizations are up to date. Call the airlines that you will be traveling with to find out if there are any special requirements that need to be fulfilled by your veterinarian before you can travel with your companion.
For your companions protection have them micro chipped. Take recent pictures of them and write down facts about them, like their weight and any unusual markings or behaviors just in case something should happen to separate you from them.
At A Minimum
When traveling within the bounds of the USA it is not necessary to provide a service dog card or a service dog certification (although it is always a good idea to have them when traveling) as a matter of fact it is considered illegal to bar travel to anyone that is traveling with an obvious service dog but just in case have them.
When traveling outside the US the laws do not protect you.
Traveling Outside the US
Before you make your reservations for travel contact the consulate in the country that you will be visiting (most have websites) and see what the rules are for service dogs. Most countries are pretty liberal when it comes to rules and regulations but always always check!
Packing For the Trip
You will need to pack for your companion as well as yourself. Bring disposable bowls that can double as “scoops” after toileting. Bring an extra collar or harness just in case. Bring your companions favorite blanket so they can get rest in between the trip.
Flying with a service dog or emotional support animal requires that you make some considerations about your companions ability to handle the flight. Your animal may have to be handled at security check points at the airport. To make for an easier flight insure that your animal can tolerate being handled by strangers well.
Do make sure that your companion has enough off time from work to rest. Travel is usually very stressful for service animals. Remember they are worried about you AND they are worried about themselves as well!
[Editor’s Note: Please be aware that this material does not serve as legal advice. As with all blog content discussing any legalities, be sure to consult Federal and State laws specific to your area before implementing any of this advice into your practices.]