In a previous blog post, we've talked about traveling in the car with your pets. In this post, we'll go further into traveling long distances by either train or even on the plane. Stick around to find out more about airline restrictions, what breeds are and aren't allowed to fly, and more information about long trips with your companion.
Traveling by train
Taking the train is an easy way for you and your pet to get from A to B. Pets are permitted on all trains within Germany, but there are restrictions based on the size of your animal.
- Guide dogs and other assistance dogs are not required to wear muzzles and may travel without a ticket.
- Small pets (the size of a domestic cat and smaller) are permitted onboard in a transport box without a ticket. This box must fit under the seat or on the shelf above the seat.
- If you bring your large dog (larger than a house cat) with you, you pay the price of a children's ticket for your dog's ticket. If you're traveling by Deutsche Bahn, you have to buy the ticket in advance (when booking, indicate that a child aged 6-14 is traveling unaccompanied), and you will receive a physical ticket via mail.
- When traveling across international borders, the ticket for your (large) dog is 50% of your ticket.
- The most important thing to remember is that a dog always has to be on a leash and wear a muzzle (unless it's in a bag or transport box) when on the train. Depending on the railway company, rules and prices might vary. When traveling with your pet, always plan in advance!
Traveling by plane
Nowadays, there are plenty of pet-friendly airlines that are more than happy to let you take your pet with you. But unfortunately, not all breeds of cats and dogs are permitted on the cargo due to health risks. So-called snub-nosed breeds have anatomically constricted airways and therefore, shortness of breath. The stress caused by the transport or high temperatures at the departure, transfer, or destination airport can lead to circulatory problems and thus increased shortness of breath. As a result, your pet can cause serious damage to its health or even die during the trip.
If your dog or cat is small enough to fit in the cabin, you still may bring it with you. An example of snub-nosed dog breeds are:
Shih Tzu dogs are not allowed in cargo.
- Bull Dogs (all breeds except American Bull Dog)
- Pug (all breeds)
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Boston Terrier
- Chow Chow
- English Toy Spaniel
- Japanese Chin
- Japanese Spaniel
- Pit Bull
- Shar Peo
- Shih Tzu
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Some snub-nosed cat breeds are:
- Scottish Fold
- Exotic Shorthair
- Selkirk Rex
Dogs and cats that weigh more than 8 kg including, the transport container, are not allowed to travel in the cabin. Moreover, your pet should be at least 12 weeks old when going on a plane. If you travel to the US, the minimum age is 16 weeks. Your pet has to be in a transport container that complies with the IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations, and the box must be secured with screws. Plastic locks are not accepted. When putting your animal in the container, make sure that it is not wearing a collar, leash, muzzle, or harness with which it could accidentally strangle itself or choke on. However, you can put a blanket into the container for comfort. Generally, traveling by plane with your pet for longer than 12 hours is not recommended and even restricted on some airlines.
Transport box requirements:
- The crate must be large enough so that the animal can stand in it in a natural position and has enough space to lie down and turn.
- The crate must be escape-proof, water-proof, and have ventilation openings on all four sides. The openings must be so small that no part of the animal's body can pass through them so that it cannot injure itself and that protection from bites or scratches by the animal is guaranteed.
- The inside of the box must not have any sharp corners, edges, or protruding nails that could injure the animal. Moreover, the container must be lined with an absorbent blanket or mat.
- Empty food and water bowls must be attached to the cage and fillable from the outside.
- The containers are not allowed to have any wheels.
- Each transport box should only contain one pet.
Small dogs or cats that weigh a maximum of 8 kg together with the appropriate transport container can be taken into the cabin. Here, the minimum age is also 12 weeks and 16 weeks if traveling into the US. A securely lockable soft-shell bag is required to transport small dogs and cats in the cabin. You have to bring this with you and it usually cannot be purchased at the airport.
Transport bag requirements:
- The total weight of the transport container including the animal is a maximum of 8 kg.
- The transport bag must be lockable, waterproof, and bite-proof as well as lined with an absorbent blanket.
- The animal must be able to stand, lie down and turn in its natural position in the closed transport bag.
- Your pet must be able to be stored under the seat in front of you.
To get an idea of the costs, you can find a short overview of the prices for checked-in pets and cabin pets for different pet-friendly airlines. The prices vary with each airline and depending on the size of your pet as well as the route. All prices are shown in USD and are charged for each flight. (Applies per flight direction. Return flights and stop-overs are charged too).
Disclaimer: Each airline and railway company has different requirements on how many pets you can bring, the maximum size of the crate, and prices. Before you book a trip for you and your furry friend it is important to get informed about the preferred airline or train company or call a hotline for help.
If your pet has any health conditions or you are worried about taking your pet on a plane with you, consult with your vet first. As always stay healthy and make sure to always have your pet's best interest at heart. Safe travels!