We all know that dogs are man’s best friend. But how can we make sure they are a pilot’s best friend, too? Having a canine co-pilot can cause a few safety concerns, but it can also be a rewarding experience. There are even animal rescue organizations that depend on general aviation pilots to transport rescue animals to their new homes. If you’re planning on bringing a dog on your next flight, here are some tips on how to keep your canine safe and happy in the skies.
While some dog owners opt for a harness to secure their pups to one of the seatbelts, this may not always be the safest option. Some dogs can get anxious and try to chew through the seat belt, which could result in chaos in the cockpit. Depending on the size of your aircraft (and the temperament of your pup) you can turn your backseat into a dog den by laying down towels or blankets to protect your interior. You can also enlist the help of passengers to help secure your dog during flight and keep them calm.
A great alternative to letting your pup roam free in the cockpit is by using a pet crate or travel carrier. To make it more comfortable for your furry friend, fill the crate or carrier with soft, washable bedding or towels for easy cleanup. Make sure the crate isn’t too big or too small—a good carrier is one that’s no more than twice the size of the dog itself. Secure the crate so that it doesn’t move or slide about the aircraft in turbulence or takeoffs and landings.
As part of your preflight routine, give your dog plenty of exercise to ensure they work off any extra energy before the flight. Ideally, you want your furry friend to sleep and relax during the flight. Make sure your dog has used the bathroom before the flight, especially if you’re planning a longer trip. Finally, check that your dog isn’t wearing a loose collar or leash that could potentially choke them during the flight. By taking the right precautions before bringing your dog aboard your aircraft, you can ensure your pet is a flight companion and not a dangerous distraction.
Do you have a dog that loves to fly? Share a picture in the comments and be sure to tag Hartzell Propeller!