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  • Writer's pictureLeilani Nichols

Traveling on a plane with a cairn terrier puppy

Traveling with a puppy can be a little stressful for first time puppy transport, but with a bit of preparation, you can ensure that your furry friend stays safe and comfortable during the journey. Here are some tips for traveling with a puppy in the airport and on a plane.

Our puppies fly all over the country as in-cabin carry ons with their owners. We handle all of the health/travel paperwork for a flat fee of $150 at our vet, and ensure it is done in a proper window prior to your travel date. Delivery to Portland International Airport is also available for an additional $150.

Get a carrier: A good quality, airline-approved carrier is essential for traveling with your puppy. Look for a carrier that is spacious enough for your puppy to move around a little, but not so big that they can't feel secure. It should also be well-ventilated and have a secure latch to prevent escape. I prefer carriers with both shoulder strap and handle options as well as pockets in the side to hold things like a couple of wee pads/gloves/garbage bag/ and high value treats.

This may be specific to Cairn Terriers, but their terrier personalities are resilient enough that travel doesn't seem to bother them, even at a young age. Our puppies are generally very confident travel companions even on their first flight home.

Pack essentials: Make sure to pack all the essentials for your puppy, such as food, water, treats, and a toy. You may also want to bring a pee pad or two, just in case of accidents. Winning toys for our terriers have been anything small enough for a 4lb puppy to chew on, or toys that crinkle no matter where they bite it.

Check in early: Arrive at the airport early to allow time for check-in and security. Let the airline know that you will be traveling with a puppy, and they will advise you on any specific requirements or restrictions.

Keep your puppy with you: Once you're through security, keep your puppy with you at all times. Don't leave them unattended, even for a few minutes. People will likely approach you wanting to pet your puppy, do not allow this as they could unwittingly spread viruses to your puppy. DO not use airport pet relief stations. Allow the puppy to have accidents (they're very small at this age) and throw them in the trash. You do not know how well sanitized the ground or surfaces are ANYWHERE that you travel. Your puppy should be 2 weeks past its final puppy vaccine before exposure to any public surfaces.

Be prepared for take-off and landing: During take-off and landing, your puppy may feel discomfort due to the change in air pressure. Offer them a chew toy or a treat to help them alleviate the discomfort. Most airlines only require the puppy to under the seat in front of you during take off and landing. The rest of the flight you can keep the carrier and puppy in your lap.

Don't overthink it. Traveling with a puppy isn't such a big deal. Limit their exposure to surfaces and people, keep easy cleaning supplies with you (wipes, garbage bag, wee pads), and bring toys and treats (keep it simple).

Happy travels!

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