Be honest about your pet's ability to travel. If your pet is very young or old, or is ill, pregnant, or recovering from surgery, it may be better for all concerned to look into a pet sitter or kennel rather than take a chance on injuring your pet by taking it with you. If you are in doubt, ask your veterinarian. If your pet has not traveled before, try a short overnight or weekend trip first.
Be Aware Of The Risks
Regardless of how cautious you and the airline are, there are always significant risks involved anytime you decide to transport your pet by air.
Assess Your Pet's Readiness For
The United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") regulates air transportation of pets and requires that all pets be at least 8 weeks old and weaned at least five days prior to flying in order to be transported by air. We strongly recommend that you err on the side of safety and not transport any pet under 12 weeks of age. Additionally, ill, very nervous, pregnant, or older pets should not be transported by air.
Certain breeds including Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Boxer, Chow Chow, Lhasa Apso, Pekinese, Pug, and ShihTzu dogs, as well as Himalayan and Persian cats should not be transported by air as these breeds are more susceptible to breathing difficulties caused by the thin air at altitude.
With your index finger and thumb, gently ease the eyelids apart. If his eyes are nice and clear and you can see your reflection in them, then he is fine. If they look somewhat milky and foggy, then he may need vet attention, depending on the clarity of his eyes.
Look at his Nose
Is it wet and cold? Your dog is perfectly fine. However if his nose is warm and dry, this may mean he is dehydrated and needs a drink. That is the normal reason for a dry nose, however, consistant dry noses can be a sign of internal problems which would need a vets attention.
Step 3 Examine his Ears
Look inside his ears. A very severe problem is when he has lots of black clumps of earwax, and this often suggests damage to the brain. It could, however, just be a yeast infection in his ear, which is often occompanied with an odor. Ear infections are not serious, though untreated can cause hearing damage. They can be treated at home with an ear wash. If it is persistent it will need vet care. Another item of interest in the ear is the scent. Is there a strange smell wafting from their ears? This can mean irregularity in eating, but it is nothing to be worried about.