Airline Pet Carriers and Cargo Pet Crates – Choosing the Right One for Your Pet

If you and your pet are planning to ride in the car or fly in the cabin of an aircraft, the first thing you need to do is to is to measure your pet. If your pet is at most 18 inches from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and between 12 and 14 inches high from top of head to the ground, there is a good possibility that your pet can travel in the cabin with you if your airline’s pet policies allow it. If your pet is larger than that, they will have to travel as checked baggage. Very large dogs, unaccompanied pets or pets flying to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or South Africa will need to travel as air cargo.

In Cabin Pet Travel

Unless your pet must fly as air cargo, contact the reservation department of the airline and notify them that you are flying with a pet. Most airlines allow only a limited number of pets in the cabin, so make your reservations early. Ask the airlines the dimension under the seat in front of you on the plane that services your route so you know what space your have to work with. If you do not have a flexible airline pet carrier, you need to get one. The airlines will require that your pet can stand up and turn around in the carrier. Do not stuff your pet into a carrier that is too small. The airlines will not accept your pet on the plane.

Additionally, the carrier must have a waterproof bottom and plenty of ventilation. The fasteners and zippers must close securely. An absorbent pad or two are really a must, especially for long trips. A high quality, padded shoulder strap is a big help, especially if you have other carry-on items. Your pet carrier will be considered by the agent as a piece of carry-on luggage.

If your pet is too large to travel in the cabin, but not over about 70 (or so) pounds, your pet can fly as accompanied checked baggage if your airline offers this class of service. You will check them in at the ticket desk where luggage is checked. Your pet will fly in an area of the airplane which is temperature and pressure controlled just like the cabin. You will need an IPATA compliant cargo pet crate.

– Your crate should be made of sturdy plastic and large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around.
– The fasteners must be secure and many airlines require steel nuts and bolts instead of plastic fasteners.
– The crate must have adequate ventilation in the sides, and all four sides must be ventilated on international flights.
– Live Animal stickers with writing at least one inch tall must be present on the sides and top of the crate.
– Food and water bowls must be attached to the door of the crate and accessible to baggage handlers.
– The lock on the door of the crate must be a spring lock mechanism that cannot be opened easily. (Many pets are clever escape artists!)
– No wheels are allowed on any crates.
– Unless the crate is of a medium size or smaller, handles are not allowed.
– On international flights, a health certificate must be attached to the outside of the crate for inspection.
Pet absorbent pads are a good idea to keep your pet dry and smelling good.

Here is information on how to measure your pet for a pet crate.

Cargo Travel

If your pet is over 70 pounds (for most airlines) you will need to make a reservation with the cargo department of the airline. Ask them the location of the cargo department of the airport you are traveling from because you will need to drop off your pet at that location. Your pet can travel on the same flight as you and will be in the same compartment as if they were traveling as checked baggage. The crate they will travel in will be subject to the same requirements as those above. If a giant airline cargo pet crate does not fit your pet, you need to contact the airline for a carrier or the IPATA regulations for crates for larger pets or contact us at info@pettravel.com for custom crates..

Whether your pet travels in an airline pet carrier or a cargo pet crate, be sure and give your pet time to be acclimated to the carrier. Keep the pet carrier out where your pet can become familiar with it. Put a toy or treat inside and always keep the door open. Don’t forget lots of phrase when your pet goes inside. If possible, take your pet for a trip to the dog park or someplace fun in the carrier or crate before your trip. Doing all of these things ahead of time will make the trip far smoother when travel day arrives.

More information on airline pet carriers and cargo pet crates.

Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals

pet friendly vacation rentalWhen planning a vacation, what is brought to mind is usually a pet friendly hotel or perhaps a resort. However, if taking a pet along, then consider a pet friendly vacation rental, especially if you plan to stay in one place for a while.

Vacation rentals generally come equipped like a home with one or more bedrooms, sheets, towels, an equipped kitchen and some degree of privacy. Depending on the length of your stay, your vacation rental may include maid services.

There are basically three types of pet friendly vacation rentals:

1. Places where a group of cottages or cabins are grouped around some recreational facility, generally either a lake or a river. You will find lots to do with your pet at these places including hiking, boating, tubing, swimming, tennis and horse back riding.

2. Mountain cabins generally offer more isolation, but still allow for a perfect family vacation with a pet, as there will be recreational activities nearby.

3. Private homes are available that vary from a small home, either in a city or in the countryside, to palatial beach front homes that may include servants, private pools and chefs and more.

When staying in a pet friendly vacation rental, take good care of the furnishings. If your pet is allowed on the furniture at home, don’t forget to bring extra sheets to protect the couch! A little prevention will save a lot of time when it is time to leave.

PetTravel.com offers thousands of pet friendly vacation rentals, especially in Europe. Search for pet friendly vacation rentals. For more information, click here.

Airline Pet Travel in the Cabin

airline pet travel in cabinAirline pet travel in the cabin of the aircraft does not have to be stressful if you follow some simple rules. First of all, you must make reservations for your pet to travel with you over the phone with a representative of the airline. All airlines permit only a limited number of pets on board, and there will be a cost for you to bring your pet in the cabin with you. Be sure and make your pet’s reservation before you make your own.

Secondly, does your pet exceed the size and weight limits to travel in the cabin? Remember that airlines require that your pet be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. Stuffing your pet into an airline compliant pet carrier that is too small will almost guarantee that neither one of you will get on the plane. Normally, a pet that exceeds 18″ from the tip of  nose to the base of the tail and 10″ high will be too large to travel in the cabin except in First Class or overseas flights. You can always call the airlines and ask what the measurements are under the seat in front of you on the aircraft that serves your route. This will help in deciding whether your pet’s carrier will fit.

Be sure to choose an airline compliant pet carrier. This carrier has a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation. A good pet pad is a must, especially for long flights. Many pets will eliminate out of nervousness, so it is best to have several layers of absorbent material in the carrier.

The closures must be secure so that the pet cannot escape. (Here are some beautiful zipper locks that accomplish this.) You must not take your pet out of the carrier for any reason during the flight, however, you should be able to slide the carrier out so that it will be in between your legs when the plane is in the air. Pack some favorite toys or something with your scent on it in the carrier as these things will comfort your pet.

A few days before airline pet travel, take your pet to their veterinarian for a health check up. The reason for this is to be sure that your pet has no fleas, ticks, or diseases. This is becoming important for in cabin travel because many people are allergic to fleas. Additionally, get your pet bathed and groomed. A clean pet is a comfortable pet and odor will not be a problem.

More than 4-6 hours before flying, you should feed your pet a light meal and water. Just prior to getting in the car to go to the airport, take a long walk and give your pet plenty of time to do their business and stretch their legs. Put your pet in their carrier before getting into the car and don’t remove them at the airport unless you are taking them to an airport dog park. Pets can be unpredictable in strange environments. Additionally, you will want to keep your pet calm prior to the flying on the airplane. If your pet is skittish, take along a treat and a natural herb relaxer to give them prior to the flight. This will only help keep them calm and should not affect their breathing in any way.

Do not feed them on the airplane if possible. Oftentimes, feeding will encourage bowel movement, and that would be very inconvenient for your both. If you are on a long flight, dip your finger in a little water and let your pet lick it through a small opening in the carrier for hydration. Again, do not remove your pet from the carrier as the flight attendant will ask you to put them back immediately.

When you reach your destination, try to find a quiet place and be sure and attach your pet’s leash before taking them out of the bag. Your pet will be happy to walk down the concourse with you. Get them outside as soon as possible so they can relieve themselves. As for cats, a portable kitty litter tray and an empty corner of the concourse could help. Be sure and keep them on a leash at all times when in and around the airport. Feed them only when you have arrived at your pet friendly hotel or other accommodations and no more car or bus rides are necessary.

Thousands of pets travel by air each day. Yours can do the same without a lot of fuss if you follow the airline rules and do a bit of planning beforehand.

More information on airline pet policies.

Traveling with a Comfort Animal

Comfort DogComfort animals (emotional support animals or ESAs) assist their owners with mental disabilities as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. These pet animals are now recognized as providing a valuable service and have attained the protection of the Airline Carrier Access Act (ACAA) which also protects service animals when flying.

Therefore, comfort animals are allowed to fly at no charge in the cabin of airlines that permit them similar to service animals.

Recent research suggests that people with psychiatric disabilities can benefit significantly from comfort animals. ESAs have been proven extremely effective at ameliorating the symptoms of these disabilities, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, by providing therapeutic nurture and support.

As all US-based airlines are subject to ACAA regulations, both comfort and service animals are accepted. Requirements for notification and documentation differs greatly between service animals and comfort animals. While owners of service animals may need to provide proof of certification, owners of comfort animals will need a letter from a licensed medical professional stating the need for the comfort animal, that the owner is an active patient and providing licensing information. Find more information on airline pet policies for comfort animals.

The key to acceptance is a strongly worded letter from a medical professional stating that the well being of the pet’s owner is at risk if they are separated from their pet. The most common reason is mental anxiety or depression and a letter from a psychiatrist will generally suffice. However, individuals with a heart condition may get a letter from their physician stating that the pet calms the pet owner and therefore reduces the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Those who suffer affects from diabetes can also procure a letter from a medical professional.

If you need additional information on comfort and service animals, we offer a 26 page document that fully explains the rules regarding both Service and Comfort Animals. It also explains the rules for taking a service or comfort animal into a rabies free country such as the UK or Hawaii. Click here for additional information on Traveling with Service Animals and Comfort Animals.

End of a long, cold winter – Pet Friendly Florida Keys Await You and Your Pet!

Pet Friendly Florida KeysFor a pet friendly tropical island vacation, look no farther than the beautiful Florida Keys! From Key Largo to Key West, the islands in this balmy paradise are some of the most pet friendly destinations in the United States. World-class sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, camping, and eco-tours are but a few of the reasons many travelers call this pet friendly tropical wonderland “The American Caribbean.”

The Florida Keys are connected to the Florida mainland by US Highway 1, also known as the Overseas Highway. With the majestic Atlantic Ocean on one side and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico on the other, this 113-mile-long byway was named one of the 10 most beautiful drives in the United States by the Society of American Travel Writers. The Seven Mile Bridge—one of 43 bridges on the Overseas Highway—provides the perfect backdrop for viewing the Florida Keys’ crystalline turquoise waters and endless azure skies. This spectacular drive has numerous places to pull off for a stroll or photo with your pet.

You will have many things to see and do as you meander down the islands of the Florida Keys…or you can stop someplace and do nothing at all but relax under a palm tree with a cool drink.

There is no other place like pet friendly Key West. The balmy weather is perfect for outdoor dining, so many of the bars and restaurants are pet friendly. Smaller accommodations such as chichy bed and breakfasts welcome you and your pet. If you have not been there, it is definitely worth checking out.

You can find more information on pet friendly Florida Keys and pet friendly hotels in the Florida Keys at PetTravel.com.

Pet Friendly Hotels – Be a Considerate Pet Traveler

Pet Friendly Hotel Considerate Traveler

PET FRIENDLY HOTELS – BE A CONSIDERATE PET TRAVELER
Summertime is approaching. It is time to plan for a family vacation. Unless your pet is a poor traveler, or your hotel will not permit it, there is no reason to leave the family pet at home or in a kennel while you are away. Traveling with your pet is like being invited to someone’s home. If you want to be invited back, then you need to be a considerate guest.

Occasionally, pet friendly hotels will change their pet policy. In almost every case, it is because they had a bad experience with an inconsiderate pet owner, and now all pet travelers will have to suffer for the sins of one.

MAKING A RESERVATION WITH A PET FRIENDLY HOTEL
Confirm with the hotel in advance the size and type of pet that will be accompanying the owner. A hotel may state that they are pet friendly, but if a traveling pet owner shows up with a 100 pound dog they may find that the hotel limits their guests to small pets. Also, a certificate of good health and vaccination record may be required by the hotel in order to certify that your pet does not have ticks or fleas or any diseases communicable to humans.

If a cat is traveling with a pet owner, contacting the pet friendly hotel is crucial. Many hotels do not accept cats due to the allergies caused in many people by the dander. Additionally, the risk from damage from cat claws is a concern to many pet friendly hotel owners.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Whether traveling by car or plane with a pet, get them bathed and groomed prior to traveling. A clean pet is more comfortable when confined which will likely happen when traveling.

CHECKING IN
Remind the desk clerk that you will have a pet in your room, and they need to notify the housekeepers. A Pet in the Room” doorhanger is also a great way to alert hotel staff.

INTRODUCTIONS
After entering the room, allow the pet to get accustomed to its surroundings. Show it where the water and food will be located. If your pet is allowed on beds and furniture at home, be sure and cover the hotel’s furniture with a sheet or blanket for protection.

LEAVING YOUR PET ALONE IN THE ROOM

Do not leave a pet alone in the room unless the errand is only a minute or two. Many pet friendly hotels will not permit leaving a pet alone in a room, even when crated. Put up the Do Not Disturb sign on the door when leaving.

If your dog is not accustomed to traveling, it is best not to leave them for any amount of time. A barking dog can be a major disturbance for other guests. If absence is necessary, ask at the desk if there is a trusted person they could recommend to sit with your pet.

If a pet accompanies an owner in the car, it is important to avoid leaving them in the car alone, especially in the summer when temperatures can climb in a matter of minutes. If there is no other alternative, keep the car in the shade, the windows open an several inches, and make the errand as short as possible.

GOING FOR A WALK
The front desk should be able to advise a good place to walk your pet. Take along not one, but two litter bags, and use them.

SADLY, NOT EVERYONE LOVES PETS
When on the street, or in the pet friendly hotel’s common areas make sure a pet is securely leashed, and be aware that not everyone loves animals. Pets should be kept close to their owners and not allowed to approach others unless both the dog and the other person (or animal) is comfortable with the meeting.

CLEAN UP
Always return the room to the order in which you found it. Be considerate of the next guest and the management of the hotel.

Best of all, doing these things will encourage your favorite pet friendly hotel to keep its policies and be available for other pet travelers to enjoy.

Pet Hotel in Florida Boards Pets of Seniors in Need of Medical Care

Kudos to the late Jimmy Scarborough and his wife Pat who, through their unending efforts, founded Jimmy’s Place in central Florida. Health officials were finding that many seniors are so attached to their pets that they would refuse treatment because they had no care for their loving pets. Jimmy’s Place is a pet hotel for pets whose elderly masters need medical attention. There is space for short term pet care for up to 10 pets in the facility which is sponsored by the Osceola County Council on Aging.

It is well known that the company of pets contributes to a greater feeling of well being in seniors. Having their pet cared for when they are in the hospital is a great comfort. This is the first pet hotel of its kind in the state. We hope that other areas will consider this type of facility when dealing with pet care for the elderly.

For more details, visit the story: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/osceola/os-osceola-council-on-aging-pet-hotel-20100308,0,2563742.story

Traveling with a Dangerous Dog Breed

Pet Travel with Dangerous Dog

Planning a trip with your Pit Bull? Relocating to a foreign country with your Rottweiler? You had better know the rules on entering a country with an agressive breed of dog. The consequences for your pet could be pretty severe.

There is no disputing the fact that traveling with a pet has become a more popular trend in recent years. Countries that value tourism as well as airlines that value additional revenue have made it easier for the pet owner to see the world with their pet. Yet, even with the emergence of in-cabin priviledges and more careful cargo handling, comes the increased enforcement of certain rules regarding the movement of agressive types of dogs.

Several countries ban the import of aggressive breeds of dogs. We suggest you contact the embassy of the country you are traveling to determine if your pet is acceptable for entry.

If you are flying with your pet, be sure and arrange NOT to change carriers along the way. Airlines will not interline pets. Arrangements must be made to get your pet from one carrier to the other. In addition, you should be aware that certain carriers will not carry Staffordshire breeds even when traveling as cargo.

More information on traveling with a dangerous dog

Pet Friendly Destination – Santa Fe New Mexico


Pet friendly Santa Fe is surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine wilderness in the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Here, visitors will find miles of pet friendly trails through meadows of Indian paintbrush and purple lupine, leading to stunning mountaintop panoramas. Pet owners might also enjoy exploring the remains of the once-thriving Pueblo civilization, including an impressive number of historic pueblos and cliff dwellings.

Other popular outdoor activities in the area include golf, mountain biking, river rafting, horseback riding, fishing, hot air ballooning, and swimming. Ski Santa Fe, which opens from Thanksgiving until Easter, features one of the highest ski areas in the continental United States and offers unsurpassed mountaintop vistas. Skiers will appreciate the steep bump runs, powder filled chutes, gladed tree skiing, and abundance of groomers.

After an invigorating day in Santa Fe, visitors can whet their appetites at many fine restaurants serving innovative Southwestern cuisine. Evening entertainment options range from live musical theater and nationally renowned opera to flamenco dancing and exciting casino action. Afterwards, visitors might enjoy a warm bath and a nightcap in their pet friendly accommodations, which include contemporary boutique hotels, budget-friendly motels with Southwestern flair, charming bed and breakfasts, luxurious resorts with full-service spas, and numerous campgrounds and RV parks with views of dazzling sunsets.

As one of America’s oldest and most beautiful cities, pet friendly Santa Fe has something for everyone. Its resplendent landscapes, world-class art, superb cuisine, incredible shopping, exciting entertainment, abundant outdoor activities, and stimulating history and culture invariably make visitors wish they had more time to spend there. It’s truly a dream pet friendly vacation destination.

More information on pet friendly Santa Fe and many other pet friendly hotels in great destinations can be found at PetTravel.com.

10th Anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme – Avoid Quarantine entering the UK

Pet Travel SchemeToday (March 2, 2010) is the 10th anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme which was originally championed by Lady Mary Fretwell. For more than 100 years prior to the approval of the Pet Travel Scheme, the United Kingdom had a strictly enforced quarantine program in effect. Bring in a dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbit, and they had to spend six months in one of 80 quarantine kennels in Great Britain, with virtually no exercise and with only the kennels’ contracted veterinarians to check them out. There were no uniform statutes governing these kennels–the kennel owners voluntarily agreed to provide respectable care, but this often was lacking.

“My husband was in the Foreign Service, so this meant that each time we returned to England from a post our basset hound had to go through that awful quarantine,” says Lady Mary Fretwell. “Over the years, we could see how the quarantine conditions got worse and worse.”

The final straw came in 1987, when Lady Mary and Sir John Fretwell returned to England from their final post in Paris. “We came back with our basset hound,” Lady Fretwell says, “and it was a terrible quarantine experience. Our beloved Bertie, our favorite of all the bassets we’ve had over the years, was a different dog after this horrible experience, and died soon afterwards. This pushed us into doing something about the quarantine situation in the UK.”

The result was an organization called “Passports for Pets,” and because of the untiring efforts by the Fretwells and 10,000 members and many volunteers who pushed for changes in the pet entry system, there is now in place a specific method of bringing cats and dogs into the UK without going through quarantine.

A happy note is that over 10,000 pets have been brought into the UK without any incident of rabies since the inception of the program as of the 10th anniversary. The Pet Travel Scheme was certainly a victory for pets traveling to the UK!

Updated information on bringing a pet to the UK.