Know your dog before traveling. Strong bonds and training will matter.

Dog travel - know your petJust like humans, every dog is different. They have unique personalities and needs that good pet owners are aware of and respond to. No matter how independent they may appear, every dog depends on their owner for their basics: food,  shelter and attention. And, certainly, some dogs require more love and attention than others. Is your dog one of them that has grown overly dependent on you?

We get so many questions about keeping pets safe during air travel. Getting good equipment is essential. Acclimating your dog to its carrier is essential. Being a proactive pet traveler is essential. Choosing a good route is essential.

But do owners look into their dog’s eyes and truly understand that, when traveling, the need to know that you will find them again is paramount in their mind? To many dogs, that is extremely important and it must be reinforced. The strangers handling the crate, the unfamiliar surroundings, the fact that their owner is not in sight; it can all add up to a large amount of stress for your dog.

It is the bond between you and your dog that builds your dog’s confidence that you will return to them. So, how do you build their confidence? Simply put, you simulate the experience. You crate them, leave them and come back. Crate them, take them out of their environment, leave them and come back for them. The more often you can do this, the more your dog will know that they are not being deserted.

We all expect our dogs to understand what is going on when we take them out of their routine, load them in a crate, take them to a noisy crowded airport and put them on a conveyer belt that leads them down to people and smells they don’t know. But, dogs don’t understand unless they have been in similiar situations before without their master. It is past experience that is the teacher in this case.

If you have a dependent dog, be sure and train them and expose them to experiences out of their comfort zone prior to travel. Take them to a dog park. Take them downtown. Take them to you in-laws house. Doggy day care or a dog sitter nearby will work. And when you come back for them, take extra time for hugs, rubs and a lot of verbal praise. It will make a world of difference in your dog’s state of mind.

More information on preparing your dog for travel.

Airline Pet Travel: What Cargo Crate is Best for My Pet?

Airline pet travel - what cargo crate is best for my pet?When it comes time to fly with a pet that is too large to fit in the cabin, no one likes the option of transporting a pet in the cargo hold. As a pet owner, you can help minimize those risks. The most important consideration is choosing your pet’s crate. This will be your pet’s home on their journey, their safe place. You want to be sure that the crate is the right size and that it is constructed securely. This is not the time to cut corners; get the best crate you can afford for your own piece of mind and for the safety of your pet.

Then there is airline compliance. What features must the crate have to make it airline compliant? How do I choose which size to get so my pet will be comfortable? Are there accessories I need so that my pet has hydration and is easily identifiable?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has specific regulations regarding airline cargo crates that have been adopted by airlines worldwide. If you meet these regulations, then there should be no surprises at check-in. Read more to find out IATA regulations on airline pet cargo crates.

Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet

Airline pet travel tips for booking tickets for you and your petMany of our pet owners fly with their pets when going on vacation or traveling to see family or loved ones. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2012, 623 million people flew safely in the United States alone.

Whether it be the holiday season or any other time during the year, if you are interested in booking a trip with your pet in the near future, here are some tips for saving money when booking airline tickets during the holidays or any time of the year.

Book online, but always contact the airlines prior to booking your flight to verify there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold of that flight. Online ticket prices will most likely always beat booking on the telephone with a reservations agent. Call back after booking to make a reservation for your pet.

Fly direct. Layover only when there is not a direct flight between your origination and destination cities. Keep layovers to 2 about 2 hours and avoid laying over in the UK and Japan if at all possible when traveling internationally to keep costs down. Do not change airlines if you are traveling with a pet. You will have to claim and re-check your pet. Changing planes is OK; changing airlines is not. It is fine to book a one way ticket to transport you and your pet to your destination and a different airline for the return trip. This can be a great way to save money on your airline tickets.

Consider alternate airports. Oftentimes, it can be easier and cheaper to fly into a nearby large airport, rent a car, and drive to a smaller city. If your pet likes riding in the car, this will certainly be more fun for your pet than landing and transferring to a smaller plane to take off again.

Book your flight about 6 weeks prior to the departure date if possible. Tickets tend to be below the average price at this time.

For impending weekend travel, book on a Tuesday around 3:00 PM EST. This is when the airlines have re-priced their seats on flights for the following weekend. Always verify on the telephone that there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold prior to booking online and notify them after you make your reservations.

Fly on a Wednesday if you are traveling domestically. Business traffic is heaviest on Mondays and Fridays so fares tend to be more expensive on those days.

Take either the first flight out in the morning or the red eye at night. Ticket prices on early morning, dinner time, and red-eye flights tend to be cheaper than flights during normal daytime hours. Just be sure that, if you are flying internationally, your flight’s arrival time is during normal business hours during the week so you will not have to pay extra for a veterinarian to clear your pet.

Check Facebook and Twitter for special promotions. The airlines occasionally advertise special fares on social media. If you find one, move fast, as these bargains go quickly.

Check both large and small airline booking websites. Orbitz and Expedia are good to check, but don’t forget the smaller sites like Kayak which could have differing prices and deals on airline tickets. Also, be sure and check the airline’s website! Many airlines hold certain blocks of seats for their online booking and this can mean lower prices for you!

Fly off season. Transporting during the summer to or from hot weather cities can be challenging due to heat embargo rules. If possible, fly with your pet in the spring or autumn and avoid major holidays if possible. Baggage handlers are especially busy during holidays and time for attention to our pets and their needs may be limited. Tickets also tend to be more expensive during the holiday week due to higher demand.

Become a frequent flyer. These programs have become very popular with airline travelers and can afford significant savings. Some airlines even offer frequent flyer miles for traveling pets!

Be flexible. If you are willing and able to keep to a flexible schedule, your chances of finding inexpensive airline travel with your pet will be greater.

Airline travel can be expensive, especially if you are traveling with larger pets. These tips may help you save money next time you are booking your airline reservations.

Pet Travel: Tips for Traveling with a Pet During the Holidays

Holiday pet travel - tips for traveling with a pet during the holidaysTime for the Holidays!
Holidays and travel seem to go together as we all want to be with loved ones during this special time of year. There are few reasons to leave your pet behind. With a bit of planning, pet travel can be safe and comfortable. Who would not want their pet to enjoy the holidays with them and their family?

Keep your pet safe like you would your children. Get the right equipment. Know your destination and the services it offers your pet. Get a good pet friendly hotel and understand its policies.  Be considerate of other travelers. Keep everyone on their schedule and stay calm. This is an exhausting time of year, but time to share excitement with those you love.

Make merry memories with you and your pet with these travel tips for holiday pet travel.

Pet Travel to Australia – Changes in Import Rules in 2014

Traveling with your pet to Australia? Changes are coming in 2014We get a lot of questions about traveling to Australia with a pet. It is an exciting and beautiful destination and worth spending time exploring with your pet.

Australia just announced changes to its import policies which will make it easier and less expensive for pet owners to bring their dog or cat Down Under. Starting in February 3, 2014, pets will be able subject to reduced quarantine (30 days to 10 days) if they have a Blood Titer Test (RNATT) done between 6 and 24 months prior to entry. (Presently, regulations call for 3 months ahead of time.) This will reduce costs for quarantine, much less time spent away from our pets.

There is another important change to the rules for pet import to Australia. Dogs and cats originating in non DAFF approved countries can enter Australia through an DAFF approved country as long as they meet the regulations to enter the approved country.  No longer must pets reside in the approved country for six months prior to entering Australia.

You will still need an Import Permit and your pet will need a 15 digit microchip and veterinary health certificate. There are also vaccination requirements and tests. More information on taking a pet to Australia. If you are planning a trip to Australia with a pet and you already have an Import Permit, you can change your permit as long as you remit a fee and are not importing your pet until February 3, 2014.

There are other changes as well. You can compare the old and new policies here:

Need a pet friendly hotel in Australia?

Military Heroes: A Salute to our Dogs on Veterans Day

Veterans Day DogAs Veteran’s Day is approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to re-visit our most popular blog post of all times regarding the dogs who have served us in the military. Kudos to the brave canines who have ventured into dangerous situations, sometimes giving their lives for our freedom. We salute them. See blog post on military dogs

Image courtesy of


Pet Travel: BBC Reports Concern Regarding Pet Travel Scheme Changes

Pet Travel to UK - Pet Travel Scheme concernsThe BBC is reporting that concerned animal welfare and veterinary groups are concerned with a heightened risk of rabies in the United Kingdom after the Pet Travel Scheme was changed last year. According to the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), “during 2011, 85,774 dogs entered the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. In 2012, that rose to 139,216 dogs – an increase of 62%.” These groups feel that 21 days is not enough for the vaccine to be effective.

The issue is not so much about pets traveling to the UK from countries with active rabies programs like the United States, Canada or Mexico. It is steming from concern about illegal puppy importing from countries in Eastern Europe where rabies is “endemic.” It appears that, for those who are caught, a 3 week quarantine is more tolerable than a 6 month quarantine. The sale of puppies has become a big business in many countries in Europe and the Middle East where some breeds have risen to a new stature among the middle and upper classes and importers from other countries can more easily advertise their puppies.

One could certainly argue that the tourist industry has certainly benefited from the relaxed regulations. We would hope that the United Kingdom would not find cause to reverse its ruling. Countries that actively fight rabies should not be penalized for their efforts.

Read more about Concern about pet travel and the new Pet Travel Scheme rules. Picture courtesy of

Pet Travel: Top Tips for Traveling with Pets

This is a great blog post with tips for traveling with pets:
We are quoted along with other experts on pet travel. We encourage you to be an educated and pro active pet traveler, especially if you have not traveled with your pet before. Let us know if you have any concerns or questions. We would be happy to help.

Pet Travel: USDA Offices Running with Limited Staff During Shutdown

For those planning to travel with their pet in the coming months, be very aware that the United States Federal Government shutdown has caused all the USDA offices to operate with limited staff at best. It will be difficult to obtain USDA endorsement of veterinary and Annex II certificates until the shutdown is over. We recommend contacting your State USDA office and see if they will accommodate you. Be sure and make an appointment if you can. JFK and LAX offices are open to foot traffic if you are anywhere in the vicinity. Hopefully, traveling for pet owners will be easier real soon!