Critters & CreaturesMoving

Moving your pets

As you start making your moving plans, you realize – what about my pets? How do we move them?

The posting message is in, and now you are moving to the other end of the country. As you start making your moving plans, you realize – what about my pets? How do we move them? Well, there are a couple of ways they can travel across the country or out of Canada. You can take them with you while you drive, or you can fly with them.

Flying Your Furry Family Member

Should you decide to fly with your pets, there are a few things you need to consider. With Air Canada, you can fly with your pets either in the cabin with you, in the baggage compartment or even ship them with Air Canada Cargo. There are a few details you do need to be aware of, though. Air Canada strongly recommends that you let them know you are travelling with a pet within 24 hours of booking your flight, in case there are any issues with bringing a pet on the flight. In the case of a dog, Air Canada will need to know the breed and the dimensions of your pet carrier. You will also need to check in a full 30 minutes prior to the recommended check-in time, and you will not be able to use web check-in or airport self-service kiosks.

If you decide to bring your pet in the cabin with you, the pet and pet carrier’s combined weight can be no more than 10 kg, and the dimensions of the pet carrier can be no larger than as follows:

    • For a hard sided carrier: height: 23 cm (9 in), width: 40 cm (15.5 in), and length: 55 cm (21.5 in)
    • For a soft sided carrier: height: 27 cm (10.5 in), width: 40 cm (15.5 in), and length: 55 cm (21.5 in)
    • In general, the cost of bringing your pet in the cabin with you ranges from approximately $50 for domestic to $100 for international, per direction. It is important to remember that your pet carrier will count as one standard item towards your carry-on baggage allowance.
    • A limited number of pets are allowed on flights operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge, or an Air Canada Express flight operated by Jazz, Sky Regional, Air Georgian, or Exploits Valley Air.

Should you decide to have your pet fly in the baggage compartment on the same flight as you, then the combined weight of pet and pet carrier can be no more than 32 kg, and the dimensions of the pet carrier no bigger than 292 cm (115 in) in linear dimensions (length + width + height). This will cost approximately $105 per direction. If you want your pet to fly with Air Canada Cargo, it is best to call 1-(866)-615-1155 for details and reservations. Perhaps conveniently, pets flying with Air Canada Cargo do not need to be accompanied. There are restrictions, however, on when your pet can fly in either the baggage compartment or with Air Canada Cargo. From June 20 to Sept. 10, pets are not allowed in the baggage compartment due to the potential of extreme heat – a serious issue for standard June or July postings. For Air Canada Cargo, there are only summer restrictions if you are flying into certain American cities. There are also winter restrictions on flying pets in either the baggage compartment or cargo, but it is best to contact Air Canada or Air Canada Cargo for full details on these restrictions.

Driving With Your Furry Family Member

Alternatively, you can take your pet with you as you drive across the country. A large concern when driving is finding accommodations that are pet-friendly. Many hotels have specific rooms set aside for guests with pets. This information can often be found on a hotel’s website. TripAdvisor is a wonderful tool for planning a cross country trip with pets, as they allow you to search for pet-friendly hotels and also provided you with handy reviews of hotels. There are many other websites available that offer travel tips and resources for traveling with pets, and they too include links to pet-friendly accommodations. As well, it is best to have some manner of securing your pet in the car, like a pet carrier, to prevent driver distraction, and keep your pet safe, as well. Be sure to budget time in each leg for periodic breaks for your pet.

Once you have chosen your pet’s mode of travel and made all the arrangements, you may want to think about how to make the trip as comfortable as possible for them. For example, take a series of shorter trips before heading out on your long one will allow your pet to get used to the pet carrier. This might help the trip go more smoothly for all members of the family.

Happy travels!

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Deborah van der Linde

Deborah is a librarian who is passionate about books, storytelling, and writing. Thanks to her husband Adam’s military career, they have had the great fortune of living all across Canada. Deborah and Adam have two delightful children and a dog that thinks he’s one of the kids.

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