Southwest Airlines changing policies on service animals and emotional support animals

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By , NewsRadio 1080 KRLD

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - If you’re planning to fly Southwest, you’ll have to leave your emotional support gerbil at home.

Effective March 1, the Dallas-based airline, in-line with new regulations from the Department of Transportation, is only accepting trained service dogs on flights. No more emotional support animals.

"Only dogs. And dogs that have been trained to service people both for mobility and for psychological reasons," says Billy Sanez with GoFlyMore.com. "Those dogs have been trained and have all the right paperwork to fly."

Sanez says a lot of people were taking advantage of the ability to travel with pets as emotional support animals.

"There was a lot of gray area," Sanez says. "This recent ruling by the DOT and now the airline is making this a little bit more efficient."

You can still fly with your pet as part of the airline’s existing pets program, but you’ll have to pay a fee and only cats and small dogs qualify. For more information on the existing pets program, click here​.

Trained service dogs will only be permitted to fly if they have a DOT Service Animal Transportation Form.

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