With the holiday season upon us, many people will be traveling, and many will be taking their furry companions along with them. After all, our pets are part of the family, too!
Airline travel with pets is always scary. There are always stories of mishaps, accidents, and the occasional death. As much as we want our pets to be with us to celebrate the holidays, we hesitate to take them with us due to these issues.
So, how can we protect our fur kids when traveling? What steps can we take to ensure that they will be safe and healthy?
Christina Selter “Pet Safety Lady” founder of Bark Buckle UP the trusted authority for pet travel safety, recently emBARKed her national airport tour live from LAX. The tour was formed to help educate pet owners on how to travel safer with their pets. “Safety starts on the way to the airport so to ensure ultimate safety, comfort and convenience for two and four legged passengers be sure to plan, pack and follow the rules”, said Pet Safety Lady. Her airport tour will take a giant BITE out of pet air travel commotion. Her Furry friends help her demonstrate airline approved pet carriers, crates and “BONE”afide pet pat down TSA style.
The following was taken from the Bark Buckle Up website on how to safely fly with your pet.
When flying with a pet, your first decision is whether you can take him/her on board (in cabin) with you or if your pet is larger then 20 pounds (carrier included) you would need to transport via cargo. Not all airlines allow pets in cabin and some do not allow as cargo, so call that specific airline directly.
A pet traveling via in cabin is your carry on bag, fee would apply and they MUST stay in their carrier the entire flight. Most airlines have a maximum quantity of pets per flight and REQUIRE reservations.
Your pet’s health and immunization need to be in good standing and each state requires Rabies vaccination.
Airlines do require specific type of carriers by size and you should LOCK your carrier to prevent your pet from escaping. For in cabin pets with carrier should be less then 20 pounds the pet must be able to stand and fully turn around in the carrier the size slightly varies per airline, but on average the maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 19" long x 13" wide x 9" high and for cargo airline requirements also differ slightly, so call that specific airline directly.
If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, you can increase the chances of a safe flight for your pet by following these tips:
Use direct flight and if not a direct flight use same carrier whenever possible. Because the pet owner is responsible for getting the pet at baggage to transfer to other airline, but if same airline they will transport your pet between flights.
If traveling during the summer or winter months, choose flights that will accommodate the temperature extremes: Early morning or late evening flights are better in the summer; afternoon flights are better in the winter.
Carrier should have a lock, ID, flight information, pet photo, owner information and emergency contact (the Free Bark Buckle UP Pet Safety Kit works great and be sure to laminate it). Also keep the same information in your wallet.
Do not ship pug-nosed dogs or cats such as Pekingese, Chow Chows, Bostons, Pugs, Puggles and Persians (mix of these breeds) in the cargo hold. These breeds have short nasal passages that leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke in cargo holds.
Pet needs to wear a collar/harness with current ID tag.
Let your pet get used to his/her carrier at least a month before your flight this helps to minimize his/her stress during travel.
Do not feed your pet for four hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip.
Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless your veterinarian has prescribed for them. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for air travel.
Clip your pet's nails have to help protect against their hooking in the carrier's door, holes, and other crevices.
Avoid when possible, flying your pets during busy travel times such as holidays and the summer.
Packing for pet travel is simple the same rules apply as when you pack yourself or children. Most carriers have a side pocket to fit all of this easily.
- Pack medicines in your carry on
- One meal or snacks in your carry on (in case of flight delays or cancellations)
- Photo ID attached to carrier and same in your carry on
- Travel bowl (folding ones are easiest)
- Bedding for the carrier
- Poop bags
- ID tag on collar or harness
- Toy or chew bone
- Fresh water (get after in airport)