A Few Necessary Purchases
Make sure you are prepared with the proper gear. Whether your pet rides with you or the cargo area, you will need a carrier that is the right size. There should be enough room for the pet to turn around and stand up comfortably, but that is all. Consider adding pads underneath your pet’s bedding that will draw away wetness should he have an accident. If your pet will travel in the cabin with you, bring pee pads just in case there is a need to go.
Use Food and Water Carefully
If you feed and water your pet en route, you increase the chances that he will need to go to the bathroom. Give a light meal about six hours before the flight, and keep water at a minimum during the six hours before the flight. Of course, let your dog have a few sips of water to avoid dehydration, but do not leave water readily accessible at all times. This will increase your chances of getting through the flight without a potty break.
Getting your dog on the plane and through security will take a little while, so arrive plenty early, as much as three hours prior to the flight. If there is somewhere near the airport that you can walk your dog, do so while you wait. The more exercise she gets prior to the flight, the more tired she will be when you are on the long flight. Some pet-friendly airports, like the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, have dog parks you can use to let your pet run off some energy.
If you make these preparations beforehand, you should be able to navigate the busy holiday travel season with minimal stress for your pet, even if your plans involve a flight to visit family.