Dealing with traveling pets can be tricky, whether it is car travel or air travel. We will discuss traveling with pets on car as well as traveling with pets in airplane.
Traveling pets by car
Pets can sometimes prove to be a distraction in the car, but if you know the best place for the pets in your car, and if you manage things properly, traveling with pets by car can be a great experience.
- Dogs should not move around in car
In order to safely travel by car with your dog, you should put the dog in a crate which should be anchored to the car by means of a seatbelt or some other secure means. Seat belts or dog restraints are useful for keeping your dog from moving around in the car. This provides for a distraction free driving experience. However, seat belts or dog restraints are not much reliable when it comes to protecting the dog during a car crash.
- Cats belong in the carriers
It is common for cats to not be comfortable traveling in the cars. Therefore, the cats should be kept in carriers. This will ensure the cat’s safety as well as yours. Don’t forget to restrain the carriers in your car so that they do not bounce and move around and hurt the cat. You can do this by securing seat belt around the carrier.
- The front seat should be left for humans
The pets should be kept in the back seats of cars. In case the pet is in passenger seat (in crate or out of crate), if the airbag deploys, it can result in your pet getting injured.
- Ensure that your pets head is inside the car
Cats and dogs should be kept safely inside car. If you allow the pet to stick his head out of the window, it can result in your pet getting injured by the particles of the debris. It can also result in your pet getting sick because of the cold air getting in to the lungs. Transporting your pet in the back of open pickup truck is not a good idea, so avoid it.
- Give a lot of rest stops to your pet
Make frequent stops in order to allow the pet to eliminate and exercise. But make sure that you never let the pet leave your car without an ID tag, a collar and leash.
- Take a human buddy with you
If possible, you should try to share the pet care taking and driving with a family member or a friend. It will allow you to use the restroom or get some food at the rest stops without any worry, as there will be someone to keep an eye on your pet.
- Don’t leave the pet alone in the car
Quick pit stops might feel like very little time to you, but even few minutes are too long to leave the pet in the car by himself. Heat is one of the hazards: When it is 72° F outside, the inside temperature of the car can go up to 116° F within one hour. If it the temperature is 85° outside, the inside temperature of the car, when the windows are open can go up to 102° in only 10 minutes. And if you return after 30 minutes, the inside temperature of the car can be 120° and your pet can suffer from irreversible organ damage or even death.
Another big hazard that is there all around the year is the thieves. Your pet can easily get stolen if you leave them in the car alone.
Traveling with pets by airplane
When planning to go somewhere with traveling pets, you should go through all the options and then book a flight.
Air travel can prove to be risky for the pets
It is recommended by the HSUS that you should take into consideration all the risks before making the decision of whether to transport the pets by airplane. Traveling with pets by air can be especially dangerous for the animals who have “pushed in” faces (in medical terms it is known as “brachycephalic”). These include Persian cats, pugs and bulldogs. These animals have short nasal passages which leave them vulnerable to deprivation of oxygen and heat stroke.
You should consider all other alternatives to flying. In case you are planning to bring the pets on vacation, driving is normally a better idea. If you cannot travel by car for any reason, it might be better for the happiness as well as health of your pet to leave them behind under a pet sitter’s or a boarding kennel’s care. But sometimes this will not be possible and you will have to decide, if the benefits of taking the pet on air plane outweigh risks.
If you make the decision of flying with the pets, choose the cabin when possible
In case transporting the pets by air is only available option, find out from the airline if the pet can travel with you in cabin. Most of the airlines allow the passengers to take a small dog or a cat in the cabin with them for some additional fee. Still you should call the airline in advance as they have limits to the number of pets allowed in a cabin. In case you are transporting a dog, ensure that your dog meets size requirements of the airline. If you are not too sure of the regulations, there are a number of companies that can guide you through entire process of flying with your pet.
Questions to ask if the pet is flying with you in cabin
You should contact your airline and ask the following questions, if the pet is flying with you in cabin.
- Will you be allowed by the airline to take the small dog or cat in cabin with you?
- Are there any special requirements related to immunization and pet health?
- Do you need to take any specific kind of carrier? Many airlines, accept the hard-sided carriers as well as the soft-sided carriers (these can be more comfortable for the pets), but some airlines only allow some brands of the soft-sided carriers.
- In case you cannot take the pet in cabin, are there any restrictions of airline on transporting the pet in cargo hold?
Precautions should be taken when bringing the pet through the airport security
The carrier of your pet will have to pass through security screening with you. There are two options for you: The first option is to be sure that the pet is harnessed securely so that you can safely contain the pet outside the carrier while the carrier gets x-rayed. And the second option is to request special secondary screening in which you will not have to take the pet out of the carrier.
Be aware of dangers of flying the pet in cargo hold
Although most animals that are flown in cargo area of the airplanes are safe, you should know that some pets are lost, injured or killed on the commercial flights every year. Excessively cold or hot temperatures, rough handling and poor ventilation are the main causes.
Most of the airlines in the US are required to report all the companion animal incidents which take place in cargo hold and the consumers can study different airlines performance record before they chose the airline.
Some handy tips if your pets must fly in cargo hold
In case your pet has to travel in cargo hold, following are some great tips to increase chances of a safe flight when you have traveling pets.
- Take direct flights. By taking direct flights you’ll avoid the mistakes which take place during the airline transfers. You will also avoid the possible delays in getting the pets off the plane.
- When possible, you should try to travel on same flight as your pets. You can ask the airline if they can allow you to watch the pets being loaded in to the cargo load.
- When boarding the plane, you should notify captain as well as a flight attendant that you have a pet that is travelling in cargo hold. The captain after knowing that there are pets on the plane might take some special precautions.
- Don’t ever transport the brachycephalic animals like Persian cats, bulldogs or Pekingese dogs in cargo holds.
- In case you are travelling with pets during the winter or summer months, choose those flights that accommodate temperature extremes. During summers, early morning or late evening flights are better. During winter, afternoon flights are better.
- Put such a collar on the pet which cannot get caught in the doors of the carrier. Put identification information on collar. The information should include your name, your home address and your telephone number. Put another piece of information on the collar with a temporary travel ID with telephone number and address where one can reach your or some contact person.
- Put a travel label on the carrier. The label should have your name, telephone number, permanent address and final destination. Also mention where you or some contact person can be reached when the flight arrives.
- The nails of the pets should be clipped in order to protect them from getting hooked in the holes, door and other crevices of the carrier.
- Introduce the carrier to your pet at least a month before the flight. This will result in less stress for your pet during travel.
- Don’t give tranquilizers to your pet unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Ensure that the veterinarian understands that prescription is for the air travel.
- Don’t feed the pet for 4 to 6 hours before the flight. You can give some water to your pet. Put some ice cubes in water tray attached to inside of the kennel or crate of your pet.
- Carry a recent photograph of the pet. In case your pet goes missing, the photograph will help the airline employees in carrying out the search effectively.
- Avoid flying with your pets during the busy travel times like summers and holidays. It is more likely that your pet will undergo rough handling during the busy travel periods.
- When you reach your destination, you should open the carrier as soon as you are in some safe place and take a look at your pet. In case anything is wrong with your pet, take it to a veterinarian immediately. Get your pet examined and get the results of this examination in writing, including time and date.