- Most people don’t understand the difference between Pets and ESA’s
According to 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, only 88% of the American population considers themselves pet owners, this is up 56% from the last survey taken in 1988. Because so much of the population owns a pet, many people see an ESA out in public and assume that this must be a pet with a funny jacket on. This couldn’t be further than the truth, if you’re an ESA owner you understand the invariable difference between the Emotional Support your animal provides and your family pet. Because there is such a high percentage of pet owners in the United States, it is imperative that ESA owners take important and sometimes, extreme measures to make their ESA possesses a visual that is distinctly different than a pet. Remember it’s possible for the public to transport their animals in planes, this requires them to be sedated and placed in the undercarriage of the plane. ESA owners have a distinct privilege to have their animals in the seats, according to their therapist’s recommendation and the airline’s guidelines for these pets. That is why tip number one is to remember to bring your ESA’s jacket and proper identification.
- Check with your Airline’s requirements, They’re Updating This Quickly
Because there has been a 75% increase in ESA travel aboard flights within the last year, many Airlines have seen their fair share of publicity both good and bad. It is important to remember that because of recent news, Animals are just as safe on flights as humans, yet there has been a shift in public views of ESAs and their owners. It is important that while traveling with your ESA that you adhere to the guidelines set by the company and airline that is providing you with transportation. Check their ESA policies on their website and check with your Certification provider to ensure you have the correct documentation for your pet’s certification. The airlines’ primary goal is to satisfy all of their customers, so if you’ve got an ESA they are more than happy to accommodate.
- Make Sure You’ve Prepared Your Animal for Flight
This is important because while you may think your animal is prepared for flying, you never know for sure until you’ve brought them on a plane. The best thing to do to prepare your animal for flight is to expose them to as many public situations as possible. Take your ESA out in public frequently, especially expose them to other animals, people and areas. Getting your animal trained at an obedient school will help with their behavior in public as well. Don’t forget that your ESA is still an unpredictable animal, so even when you think you’ve got them under control, you need to prepare for if you don’t. Many ESA owners opt for a muzzle for their animal, or a special heavy vest to keep your animal calm on a flight. This will help to calm your ESA, which ultimately is what will keep you calm as well, and will let your ESA perform their primary job as an ESA, calming you down. This will not only provide you with the appropriate services that your ESA provides but will also give assurance to the other passengers on the plane that your flight will be as smooth as if there wasn’t an animal on the flight.
- Bathroom Before Take Off!
Many people forget that there aren’t bathrooms for animals on the flight, so letting your pet take care of business before the flight is essential to the trip going smoothly. There are many airports now that have separate rooms or areas designated for animal relief. There are also companies offering a sort of animal diaper option if your pet is very young or has had bathroom accidents. The problem with the diaper option is the courtesy to your seat neighbors in the cabin. Be sure you have an appropriate option for taking care of this type of waste that may be unpleasant for yourself and others on the flight.
- Go for a LONG walk before the flight
A long walk can be the difference between a calm trip and a very uncomfortable trip. Even if your ESA is well trained and has experienced travel that is similar to that of the flight, it is important to remember that your animal has different requirements than you for traveling. Remember that they will not be getting the physical activity that they normally would at home. Even the ability to walk around like they would at home will be restricted on a flight. The best thing you can do before a long flight is tiring them out. Many people opt for the sedative option, although with ESA’s it is important to feel supported and attended to by your ESA throughout the flight. A walk tires them out just enough to still maintain their job as an ESA and at the same time continue their services as an ESA. A walk will also help with their ability to stay in the same seat throughout the flight.
- Be careful about how much water you give them on the flight
Water administering is very important. They will probably be fine (depending on how long your traveling for) without eating food for the duration of your flights, but water can be important for keeping them busy and keeping them hydrated. Altitude and the overstimulation of the experience of flying can quickly dehydrate your animal. If you notice yourself getting thirsty on a flight, your pet is probably also thirsty as well. Keep in mind their capacity for water is very different than your own, if you’re already monitoring their water intake at home, you may be aware of their usual amount and can plan accordingly. Although if you are not aware, be sure that on a flight you are not offering water too often, this may mean more accidents or changing of diapers.
- Consider booking a trip with layovers
If you’re not into changing doggie diapers, or the trip your planning has more than 6 hours of a single flight, consider breaking up the trip into pieces. If you leave your dog in a crate at home while you’re gone, they may already be familiar with long periods of time in a crate although don’t risk it if your pet has free access to water and the bathroom normally, prepare accordingly. If your flight is as long or shorter than you would leave them at home alone, you may be fine.
- Bring a carrier for your pet
If your pet is familiar with a carrier, this might be the best option for your ESA. There is always the option for your pet to sit on your lap, or under your seat but bringing a carrier for a quiet area that your pet can hide in, it may be the best option for your ESA if they are not quite familiar with flying. Many animals find that carriers are comforting and can provide a smooth flight. Another reason for using a carrier is that this option prevents any run-ins with other animals or passengers that your animal may be overstimulated by. By providing your ESA with a quiet and safe space, they can feel comfortable on a flight.
- Pack all the necessary items for when you arrive
Remember when you get to your destination, you will need all the things your animal needs at home. The most important being food and water, and any specific medications that your animal uses at home. Other things you may want to bring are toys, blankets, walking essentials like poop bags, leashes and bathing tools. The necessary items once you get to your destination may be readily available for purchase. Often traveling with all the things you need takes up a lot of room in your luggage. If you do end up purchasing all of the items you need once you land, consider donating these to a local shelter after your animals use. This all depends on the length of your trip as well, shorter trips may be easier to pack for, longer trips may be cheaper to buy the items once you land.
- Ensure that your destination is prepared for an animal’s arrival
Depending on where you’re going, consider the accommodations like hotel stays, the guests you’re staying with or meeting with, and the country you’re traveling to. Many countries have quarantine policies that your airline is not necessarily going to make you aware of. It is imperative that if you’re traveling to a different country that you inform yourself of their animal and health department’s regulations.