Preparing for air travel with a pet

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As summer comes to a close, some travelers may be squeezing in last-minute vacations.

That means more animals will be at the airport, which is why the Transportation Security Administration wants to be sure pet owners know the best way to fly with smaller pets.

The most important thing is to make sure the airline allows your animal on the plane.

Once that's set – and you're at the TSA checkpoint – you should carry your animal with you as you walk through the machine.

This can be in your arms or in a carrier. Just do not put your animal on the conveyor belt to be scanned. Then, be prepared to possibly do a secondary security check, like a hand swab.

And while you've packed for yourself... don't forget about your furry friend.

"Bring an empty water bottle," TSA Regional spokesperson Mark Howell said. "Liquids are not allowed through the security checkpoint in excess of 3.4 ounces, but if you bring an empty water bottle you can fill it up from the backside of the checkpoint. The process will be the same for any animal that's coming through the security checkpoint."

Treats, a leash and a collar with an ID tag are also good to have.

If you've got a bigger pet, there's a step you need to take before you even book your flight.

"What you need to do with those is check with the airline as well," Howell said. "They have restrictions, again with breeds and species, but also if the weather is extremely hot or cold they may not want to transport the animal at that point as well, because it's going to be in the underside of the aircraft."

Once through security, South Bend International Airport has a special pet relief area.