Airline Travel Safety Pet Care Tips at Ark Animals

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Pet Airline Travel Safety

Welcome to the pet care section of Diana L. Guerrero's Ark Animals. Pet travel is on the increase. Learn how to insure pet airline travel safety in this article. Feel free to visit the media room for press releases, recent media coverage, and related items.

Pet Airline Travel Safety

Pets are part of the family. However, traveling with a pet can be a challenge. That is why so many stay at home in familiar surroundings under the care of a pet sitting professional or other pet care specialist. If you decide to travel with your precious pet, be sure to preplan so you can ensure pet safety and enjoy a relaxing holiday.

One of the first priorities prior to travel should be a trip to the veterinarian. If you are traveling across state lines, or into another country, check to see if you need any health certificates, international permits or other documents.

In addition, provide a travel tag and pet ID card. Travel tags are additional tags that list an emergency contact name and number. Make prior arrangements with friends, family or an agency in the destination area and list their contact information. The trendy pet ID card shows a picture of the pet along with vital information so you can prove you own the animal, or provide copies to search agencies if you lose your pet during travel.

For ultimate trip ease, don't forget to make airline and hotel reservations for your pet. Some airlines restrict the number of animals that fly in the cabin with owners. Select hotels will gladly accommodate pets if they have advance notification. (You can now find travel books to help you in this quest.)

Depending on the size and species of your pet, airlines may let the animal travel in the cabin via a crate. The crate should allow the animal to be comfortable and should be lined with absorbent material or a towel-in case of an accident. Travel crates and kennels are usually secured under the seat of the person in front of you. However, you can also get a soft carrier that slings over your shoulder. There are also products with wheels and extendable handle.

Your animal deserves the best travel experience. Think of them as small children and make sure they get them some exercise and toileting opportunities prior to final boarding. In consideration of other seated passengers, you may want to alert the flight attendants to your animal arrangements so they can let the passengers seated adjacent to you know that you will be traveling with a pet. This is helpful to people who have allergies and who may need to switch seats as a result.

While pets are traveling in the cabin, it is important to know that federal law does not allow you to take the pet out of the carrier. You can dispense water and some food during long trips, but use common sense and do it after any food or drink service.
Also, most pet crates come with (or allow you to purchase) accessory bowls that clip right onto the door. Keep these empty and you can dispense water and food in small quantities without opening the door. This helps avoid a big mess and allows you to monitor the animal.

If your pet is not a good traveler, check with your veterinarian for alternative therapies such as flower remedies or other homeopathics. In most cases, heavy tranquilization is not recommended.

Sometimes the animal cannot travel with you in the cabin of the plane. This is when additional shipping guidelines are necessary for the ultimate experience and safety. Pet owners should:

  • Decide to fly when temperatures and moderate. Don not fly pets during extreme heat or cold snaps.
  • Ask for a direct flight because transfers between planes increase the chances of loss or injury to a pet.
  • Ask and watch to see that your pet is loaded last. This is especially important during adverse weather conditions. This simple step will also insure the animal is taken off the plane first.
  • Ask that all crew members be informed that a pet is on board.
  • If you are uncomfortable about how your pet is being handled, say something.
  • When an animal is being shipped to another person, or to you, without a human escort, ask to fly the animal "counter-to-counter, priority parcel, or similar special shipping parameters.
  • To avoid illness or death, check to see if any dry ice (or other hazardous materials to pets) will be housed in the cargo area.
  • Make sure shipping crates are marked with contact information of the people from the originating location, destination location, and any connecting locations.
  • Have "Live Animal" signs on the crate or a personal sign that is attractive to airline baggage personnel. Try something like, "My name is ____. I am taking my first trip to______. Please say hi so I am not so scared.
  • If you are receiving an animal via plane, arrive before the plane lands and alert airline personnel that you are there to pick the animal up.
  • If the pet has problems or the plane is delayed, find a sympathetic airline employee and let them assist you.

Taking a few pet precautions prior to airline and holiday travel can keep your pet safe and give you peace of mind.

About the columnist: Since 1978 Diana L. Guerrero has worked professionally with both wild and domestic animals. Guerrero has been affiliated with, and certified by, a variety of animal programs in the USA and Europe. Based in California, she writes, consults, and speaks. Information on her animal career programs, training courses, and her books {What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality (SkyLight Paths, 2003), Blessing of the Animals (Sterling, 2007), Help! My Pet is Driving Me Crazy (Guerrero Ink, 2007), Animal Disaster Preparedness for Pet Owners & Pet Professionals (Guerrero Ink, 2007)} can be found in this web site and in the shop. Questions for Guerrero should be submitted via the blog comments or membership forum.


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