They say dog is a mans best friend, however when it comes to the beloved dogs and pets of some of the clientele that frequent the use of corporate jets you can be assured their furry friends are literally living the high life. Over the years I have flown an array of pets, dogs, cats and even valuable falcons in the Middle East. As one would expect just as with their owners these very special travellers will also be served with best money can buy. There is nothing but the best for these pampered pets.
Karl Lagerfeld often travels with his beloved Siamese cat Choupette, who has clocked up some serious jet mileage, as well as having two maids and her own twitter account. Giorgio Armani often travels with his beloved band of pugs Monty, Maude, Margot, Maggie, and Molly. In the Middle East where prized falcons fetch sums of thousands (in Qatar falcons having been reaching sums of over 275K). It is not uncommon for whole aircrafts to be chartered for the falcons and their handlers.
When it comes to the cuisine for these special guests there is no slopping pedigree chum or Felix in a plastic dish for these guests. The fact of the matter is they probably eat better than you or I. On short sectors it is unlikely that any catering will be required. However longer trips may take some careful planning, both cats and dogs can be fed a host of gourmet food, there are many pet friendly recipes, which can be found online and adapted to suit. (Which will delight both dog and owner) For example dogs can be given be given chicken, beef vegetables and rice and presented on the aircraft crockery or at least a china plate. Dogs can eat, fish (with no bones such as salmon) and other non fatty cuts of meat. It should be ensured however that the food is not prepared with salt, pepper, garlic or onions as the latter are toxic for dogs.
Just a word of caution especially with dogs given their penchant for eating pretty much anything they can get their paws on, there are certain fruit & vegetables such as grapes, raisins, tomatoes, avocado can be toxic. These must be avoided, both in food sources and in the cabin décor, fruit basket etc, also consider the flowers we adorn the cabins in. Lilies, daffodils, chrysanthemums are toxic to dogs. Always check this – there are plenty of online resources for this for guidance.
For our feline guests the best of fish, prawns and boneless meats on a china dish goes down a treat. (Apparently Choupette is rather accustomed to king prawns however served on custom made Goyard or Louis Vuitton crockery of course). Just a note certain flowers are toxic to cats also, especially lilies, azaleas, chrysanthemums and these should be avoided on-board. Again there are many good resources online for cat recipes and foods to avoid.
There are going to be long flights where the animal will need to relive themselves, for dogs have puppy trainer pads and find a designated spot for their ‘business’, especially for male dogs rather than the carpet or side of the aircraft. Also having some home comforts such as a bed or blanket will help them get settled. For cats if they do settle inflight have a blanket (or just a newspaper they love sitting on anything unusual) and consider a clean litter tray being placed in the cabin depending on flight time. Cats are particular though and may have their own ideas.
Pets Travel Scheme
In the UK The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they comply with the regulations. It also allows pet owners in the UK to take their dogs, cats and ferrets to other European countries and then return with them without need for quarantine. The required documents and information can be found on the official DEFRA website. Some countries however have stricter schemes – Johnny Depp was recently testament to that when he was caught bringing his two Yorkshire terriers without the proper process. It really is not worth the risk.
Do and don’ts
I have heard suggestions of giving ice cubes to dogs to keep them hydrated – big no no, this can cause severe stomach spasms and illness. It is also wise to keep things well out of the way. I was told a story about a dog that ate a packet of it’s owners contraceptive pills on-board, que a frantic call to the medical provider, said dog was fine although it probably wasn’t going to be getting pregnant anytime soon.
On a serious note, the animals must be secured for take off, landing and turbulence to avoid injury. If the animal has a pet carrier/cage for a larger dog it is best to have it somewhere in case of bad turbulence or an emergency. Also watch out when you open the doors into the cabin I almost tripped over a small dog which wouldn’t have gone down well with the owner.