Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Safer Air Travel for Your Pet

The Department Of Transportation (DOT) estimates that more than 2 million animals are transported by air in the United States annually. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in incidents during air travel, including; animals deaths, injuries and losses. This has led the DOT to require that domestic carriers with more than 60 seats, begin to report  the events in an annual report.  The law states that all events involving cats and dogs (it does not include other animals) be reported starting on January 1, 2015The new regulation applies not only to personal pets, but also to any cats or dogs that are transported, such as animals shipped by breeders (the previous rule did not cover breeder shipments). This will help pet owners to make an informed decision on the selecting a carrier for the safe travels of their pets.  
Here are tips to help your pet fly safely

  • Fit to fly.  Consider leaving your pet at home, if they are very young, very old or not in good health. 
  • Do your research. Regulations and fees vary depending on airlines and whether your pet flies in the cabin or as checked baggage. Be sure to check an airline's history of flying animals. Certain breeds can  also have more breathing difficulties and airlines may have restrictions (may not be able to fly in cargo hold). These breeds include pets with short snouts ( ie. pugs, and Persian cats)  Incidents of pets being lost, injured or dying have increased in recent years.  
  • Consider a pets-only airline. Pet Airways offers climate-controlled cabins outfitted with individual crates, and a flight attendant checks on the animals every 15 minutes. After landing, pets are given a bathroom break, and can be picked up by their owners at the airline’s Pet Lounge at participating airports.
  • Prepare the carrier. Make sure your kennel has room for your pet to turn around and stand without hitting its head. Check with your airline to determine any crate dimension requirements. The USDA requires the following: food and water dishes, "Live Animal" stickers, upright arrows and bedding.
  • ID tags. Attach contact information to both your pet's collar and its carrier.
  • Exercise. Before the flight, play with your cat or take your dog for a walk. 
  • Relax. Cesar Millan recommends using lavender oil as an "association scent" to help your pet relaxed while flying. In the weeks before the flight, he suggests putting a drop of oil on your hands at feeding times or before walks. Once onboard, “the positive association will allow him to calm down and remain relaxed.”