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All you need to know about international travel with a miniature dog

Though miniature dog breeds are small and easy to transport, certain challenges that are unique to miniature breeds must be considered before planning your travel.

If you are planning to travel internationally with your miniature or small dog, here’s what you need to know.

Invest in the right crate

Though miniature breeds require the smallest crate, it is a good idea to measure your pup before getting the crate. IATA recommends that your dog must be able to stand upright, turn around and lay down comfortably in their travel crate.

A rigid, plastic crate that is paw and bite-proof is recommended for international pet travel. Do not opt for a soft-sided pet carrier; they are not approved for international travel to and from Australia. Some European countries allow small breeds to fly in the cabin; a soft-sided pet crate can be used in such situations.

The crate must conform to all IATA regulations and have ventilation on all three sides. Remember to arrange for the crate weeks ahead and acclimatise your pet to the crate. Crate training is an essential step in the process of international pet travel; it ensures your pet is comfortable, safe and calm during the journey.

Visit the vet

Miniature and small dog breeds are vulnerable to health risks that bigger breeds may not be susceptible to. Small dog breeds are known to suffer from health conditions such as hypoglycaemia, diseases of the spine, bones and nerves, tracheal collapse and breathing issues. Before you plan your international trip, take your small doggy to the vet for a complete health assessment to ensure he or she is fit to fly.

Make sure your pet is vaccinated and microchipped with an ISO-compliant microchip before travel. If your small dog is overweight or suffers from other health complications, work with your vet to manage the condition before flying.

Brachycephalic breeds

Snub-nosed small breeds such as Lhasa Apsos, Apple Head Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Pugs need special care while flying. These dog breeds are vulnerable to respiratory distress during air travel because of their short snouts. If you are planning to fly internationally with a snub-nosed breed, make sure the travel crate is well ventilated and avoid flying during hot days. Brachycephalic dogs over-heat easily; they need proper care and expert handling during travel.

Choose a pet-friendly airline

A pet-friendly airline is mandatory while flying with small and brachycephalic breeds. Not all airlines accept snub-nosed breeds in the cargo hold because of the safety risks involved. Pet-friendly airlines see that your pet is boarded and disembarked on priority. They have several safety procedures in place to make sure your pet is comfortable and calm during the flight.

If you are unsure about which airline to choose, reach out to a pet transport agency to assist you with the pet relocation.

Travelling in the cabin

Some airlines allow small breeds to fly in the cabin of the aircraft in a pet crate stowed under the seat. However, all dogs travelling to and from Australia are required to travel in the cargo hold, irrespective of the size of the dog. In the cargo hold, your pet will be placed in a special climate-controlled area dedicated to pets, and the crate will be secured firmly to the floor of the aircraft.

If your pet is travelling in the cabin outside of Australia, he or she has to be accompanied by an adult passenger. Your pet’s crate must have a waterproof bottom, enough ventilation, and large enough for your pet to be able to stand up and turn around without difficulty. To travel in the cabin, the total weight of the crate, including your pet, should not exceed 8kg.

Moving with a miniature dog?

International pet transport with a miniature dog is comfortable and stress-free when you have an accredited pet transport agency to assist with the move. If you are planning to move with your miniature or small dog, get in touch with the team at Petraveller for a detailed pet travel itinerary.