Flying with your pet? Here are 10 things not to forget to do.

airplaneSo, you are flying with your pet in a few days. There is so much to think about. Here are 10 things you should not forget to do before you fly.

1. Confirm reservations for your pet – contact your airline and tell them you are traveling with a pet. Do this whether your pet is flying in the cabin, as checked baggage or air cargo. Do this before you book your ticket to be sure your airline has not met its limits on the number of pets they will carry on your flight. If you can’t pay for your pet’s passage online, then you will pay at the check-in counter.

2. Book a window seat – if your dog or cat is flying in the cabin with you, reserve a window seat. This removes your pet from the traffic in the aisle so it will be less distracted, stay calmer and can focus on your reassurances. Also, with all the cabin redesigns of late, electronics powering seat back screens and such can wind up under the center seat, thus eating up any space for your pet carrier.

cell phones3. Stay connected – sign up for flight notifications from your airline via text and email alerts. You can also get the FlightStats app which gives you real-time flight status and is free for Android and iOS phones. Amazon Echo can monitor flight status of most major American-based airlines, provide wait times at security, weather at your destination, call Uber or Lyft and provide translations for foreign countries.

Don’t forget to add your airline’s reservation number into your mobile device in case any delays or cancellations occur. If your pet is flying as air cargo, add the number of your airline’s cargo facility.

4. Do your research – check your layover airport to see if there are any pet relief areas behind security gates. Many US airports have them but unfortunately, few foreign airports do. (carry spare pet pads) Find pet hospitals and veterinarians in your destination city. Be prepared in the case of emergencies. Also find pet friendly hotels, parks and restaurants so you and your pet can enjoy your stay together. If you are thinking about attending an attraction that does not accept pets, find a doggie day care and contact them for their requirements.

5. Get your pet microchipped – this is one of the most important things you can do. A pet microchip is your pet’s identification should you become separated from it. Don’t forget to register your chip with your cell phone number in the registration. No good if officials are trying to contact you at home when you are out of town.

pet documentation6. Don’t forget your pet’s documentation – if you are flying with your pet internationally, you should already have your pet’s rabies certificate, health certificate and other permits and tests that may be required to enter your pet’s destination country. More on international pet import requirements.

Take a selfie of you and your pet on your mobile phone for identification.

7. Check your equipment – your pet carrier should be clean, without tears, and zippers should operate correctly. Make sure you have everything you need to make your pet crate IATA-compatible if your pet is traveling in the cargo hold. Put your pet’s documentation in a plastic Zip lock bag and tape it to the top of your pet’s crate and mark it ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS – DO NOT REMOVE. Tape a bit of food as well if you are taking a long trip. Freeze water in your pet’s water bowl to minimize spillage during handling. Attach crate hardware and live animal stickers to the crate. Put a good pet crate pad in the crate to keep your pet dry and comfortable during the trip. More on preparing your pet’s crate for travel.

8. Assemble essentials – put everything your pet needs in one place: leash, collar, medications, treats, food, grooming items, wipes and anything else your pet will need. No toys or chews will be allowed in pet crates, so you will need to carry them with you.

9. Pre-Boarding exercise – leave extra time for walking your pet at home before leaving for the airport. This not only relaxes them but tires them out and helps to ease the stress of traveling. As always, be considerate to others and the environment and clean up after your pet.

Stay at Delta Sky Club when flying with your pet10. Relax – have a long layover in a US airport? Consider joining your airline’s club so you can relax in their lounge if they permit pets. Centurion Lounges for American Express Platinum card members permit well behaved pets in carriers. They are located in the following airports: Dallas/Fort Worth (Terminal D), Intercontinental Houston (Terminal D), Las Vegas McCarran (Concourse D), Miami International (Concourse D), NY LaGuardia (Terminal B – pre-security), San Francisco (Terminal 3) and Seattle-Tacoma (Concourse B). Members of United Club and Delta Sky Club can also enjoy their well behaved pets in their lounges. If your pet is flying as air cargo, this is a good time to contact the cargo office and request an update on your pet’s transport.

Much more information on flying with your pet can be found in our pet travel information section.

Pet Travel: Three Steps to a Pet-Safe Vacation

steps to a pet friendly vacation
When contemplating travel, few people imagine their animals as potential companions. Bringing pets can complicate traveling in numerous ways, such as trying to fit bathroom breaks in during short layovers or obtaining certificates and other documents for traveling to certain locations with pets.

However, if you are the kind of pet parent that loves experiencing new places with their four-legged family members, safe and pet-friendly adventures are certainly within reach. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of your pet for your next adventure.

1. Plan Far in Advance

Traveling with a pet takes plenty of planning. You must be sure to pack everything your pet could potentially need including any special food, medication, toys, leashes, collars, and other essentials. You will also need to take the time to prepare your pet for travel. Many animals will not take kindly to an upheaval in their routine and will need to be trained for safe, comfortable travel.

If you are planning to fly, contact the airline to confirm their rules about pet travel. Some airlines will not allow animals, and others only permit pets in the cargo hold. Each pet-friendly airline will have certain rules about carrier specifications.

Of course, most pet parents avoid placing their pets in cargo when possible. The cargo hold itself is typically safe; however, the hours spent on the ground waiting for the flight to leave may expose your pet to extreme conditions. If you fail to plan a flight far enough in advance, you may find your trip canceled.

If you’re traveling by car, you should map your route to ensure enough stops for your pet to get out, stretch, and relieve themselves. You should also take proper >safety precautions. Larger pets should have a seat belt harness to protect against car accidents, while smaller pets can benefit from a car seat.

2. Research Your Destination

Before traveling to a new place with your pet, you should be sure to research your destination to gauge pet-friendliness. Key things to look for include pet-friendly accommodations, parks, and businesses, as well as a nearby vet in case of an emergency.

Research is particularly important when traveling abroad. Each country has specific laws dictating the importation of animals. You may need a pet passport, blood test results, a microchip, or other documentation just to leave the airport with your pet.

Some countries have quarantine periods that last as long as several months. You must do your research before attempting to bring your pet to a new country, or your pet could end up in quarantine without you for an extended period.

3. Know When to Leave Your Pet at Home

Even if it is your life goal to bring your pet everywhere you go, there are some trips that just aren’t worth the risk. Frequent travel can be very stressful for animals that thrive on routine, and some countries’ laws are less than accommodating.

It is important to know that you can leave your pet in good hands while you travel. There are plenty of freelance pet sitters and walkers that would love nothing more than to spoil your pet while you are away. Though it can be upsetting to leave your travel companion behind, sometimes it’s in your pet’s best interests.

Pet travel may be more complicated than going alone. When you truly love your pet, it sometimes feels impossible to leave them behind. Your pet can stay safe during trips with careful planning and research, though there are some instances when a pet sitter may be a better idea. Whatever you decide to do, always prioritize your pet’s safety, health, and comfort.

Author: Jessica Brody,
Image by Pixabay by Tess deGroot

BVA Recommends Tick Treatments and Limits on Pet Imports to the UK

Ticks are not part of healthy pet travel.The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is calling for the reinstatement of regulations calling for mandatory tick treatments for all cats and dogs traveling to the United Kingdom under the Pet Travel Scheme between 24 and 48 hours of import. This request is due to outbreaks of Babesia canis, a disease carried by ticks that are not native to the UK. This requirement was abolished in 2011 to make pet import to the UK easier and more affordable.

Additionally, the BVA is requesting that tapeworm treatments be mandatory for cats entering the UK as well. Presently, a tapeworm treatment must be administered to all dogs only entering the UK from any country within one to five days of import.

Both of these restrictions would address the spread of zoonotic disease in the UK that is currently being experienced.

In an effort to address the increasing number of illegally imported puppies to the country, the BVA is calling for a revision to the number of pets to five per vehicle as opposed to five per person which is currently in force. Further, the number of puppies under six months of age would be reduced to two per vehicle.

This recommendation comes from mounting pressure on Defra to address the number of underage puppies being imported to the UK to meet public demand.

More info here.

Current regulations to import pets to the United Kingdom can be found here and will be revised should legislation be changed:

UPDATE – April 27, 2917 – Animal Health Groups declare Tick Awareness Month to apply pressure to reinstate tick treatment for dogs and cats entering the United Kingdom.

Pet Travel – Red-Eared Slider Turtle Ban in the UK

red eared slider turtleFor owners of red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans), pet travel regulations regarding this turtle when entering the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU will be affected after the EU Commission published its new list of species of EU wide concern, as part of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. This regulation was mandated into EU law on the January 1, 2015, came into practice in the UK and the EU on August 16, 2016.

In order to qualify for inclusion on the list, a species must be non-native to the country, have the ability to thrive in the environment and also pose a risk for the ecosystems that exist in the country.

This breed of turtle has been banned for sale, exchange or breeding in the UK. Owners of this species who reside in the UK can keep their turtle; however, it is illegal to import, breed, sell or rehome it. Also, it is very illegal to release it to the wild.

These regulations pose a problem for owners of this turtle when they need to relocate. Because shelters and rescue organizations are subject to these regulations, they cannot rehome these turtles either, so surrender options may be difficult.

It remains to be seen how Brexit will affect the UK laws on invasive species and whether they will be adopted as they are written.

Find the regulations regarding EU invasive alien species here.

How Brexit Will Affect Pet Travel

English BulldogUPDATE: See this post for most recent information concerning Brexit and how it will affect pet travel

The recent Brexit vote by the Brits to leave the European Union will have little effects on pet travel in the near term. The current import requirements for cats, dogs and ferrets will remain intact. (Find them here) What will change is the ease that EU-Member State pet owners will have traveling to and from the United Kingdom.

More concerning is that the UK will not be bound to EU legislation and may strengthen their requirements for pet import. This is likely to happen in some form considering the pressure the government is receiving from animal welfare and rescue organizations struggling to handle abandoned and unwanted dogs as well as problems they are having with the illegal puppy trade.

EU Pet Passports will either be rendered useless or will need to be reissued in the UK, and their status for entering the EU are in question. Will they be universally accepted by the EU or will the Annex form, which is only good for 4 months, will be required?

The UK will need to apply to the European Commission for consideration to be included as a non-EU listed country (otherwise known as a Third country). This is likely to happen as the UK is considered a rabies-free country by many countries in the world and their status with the World Organization for Animal Health is in good standing.

Pet travelers need to be informed of any changes that will happen in the next year as the UK readies itself to divest. We will post all changes in legislation, so stay tuned!

Pet Travel USDA Endorsement of Forms in New York

USDA endorsement in New YorkUser Tip: Pet Travel USDA Endorsement of Forms in New York State

Recently, we heard from one of our pet owners, Nick, who was traveling from New York and needed USDA endorsement of his pet’s documentation.

I came to the vet yesterday for an international travel certificate, which then needed to be certified by the USDA. We had gone to the office at JFK airport logistics center one in the past and went again yesterday. They were totally overwhelmed, and despite waiting for 5 hours I was unable to be seen.

I had to make an unexpected trip to the USDA office in Albany, which was able to help. They said that the JFK airport logistics center location is not to be used except in emergencies (and really not relied on at all) and that all future request should be sent to them (the Albany office) with prepaid return overnight shipping.

Anyways just wanted to pass the word along. It will save others some extreme aggravation.

Thanks for passing this along to other pet owners, Nick! We appreciate your feedback.

More information on importing your cat, dog or other animal to the United States.

The Pet Travel Team

Tips on How to Keep Your Pet Calm on July 4th

man and dog with fireworks

Whether the event is New Years Eve, Fourth of July or just a celebration, fireworks, flashing lights and loud booms can be pretty scary for many cats and dogs. Unless they are oblivious to loud noises and flashing lights, you can wind up with your pet under your feet, in your lap or on your head pretty fast. 

Try these tips for keeping both you and your pet calm during the evening.

  • Taking your pet to a fireworks display is not a good idea. Stay at home with them. The comfort and security that you can offer them will make a difference, despite the fact that it may appear that nothing will calm them.
  • On the day of the celebration, keep to your pet’s schedule as much as possible. Pets can sense a change in schedule and that can bring on feelings of anxiety.
  • Give your dog or cat plenty of exercise before the fireworks begin. Tiring them out may encourage them to rest during the show. Also, make sure they are have an opportunity to do their business so you don’t have to take them outside later.
  • Bring them inside and close all the doors and windows before the merriment begins. Although that won’t eliminate the noise, it will help to bring it down a notch.
  • Make some noise of your own – turn up the television or music. Although your pet’s hearing is better than yours, the sounds may be a distraction and lessen their attention on the booms they hear outside.
  • Don’t discourage their behavior. Give them places to hide if that is what they want to do. Hide with them if you can fit.
  • Wrap them up in a blanket with your scent on it or a large t-shirt if they will let you. The bundling can lessen anxiety in some dogs.
  • Lavender is a great scent for calming both you and your pet. You can find it in oil, lotions, air fresheners and other products. Apply it to a towel and wrap your pet in it. 
  • Be a role model. Your behavior will play a large part in your pet’s comfort. Stay calm yourself.
  • If you feel that your pet suffers despite your efforts, you can talk to your vet about a tranquilizer, Benadryl or an all natural pet calmer.
  • When it is all over, tell them so. “All done” is something everybody understands.
  • Give them a treat to celebrate and have a great holiday together.

Find more great tips on your pet’s health and happiness.

Irish Ferries Gets Very Pet Friendly

Pet Friendly Irish FerriesIn May, 2018, Irish Ferries will launch a 50,000 ton ship with 435 cabins many of which will include suites with their own private external balconies, bars, restaurants (both á la carte and self-service options), cinemas, shops, (most importantly) onboard facilities for pets and dedicated lounge areas for Club Class passengers and freight drivers.

The new ferry will likely serve longer haul routes between Dublin and Holyhead midweek, and between Ireland and France on weekends. This will mean another option for pet owners not wanting to put their pets in cargo when flying into the Ireland if their pets conform to in-cabin requirements and could travel with their owners into another EU country and take the ferry to the UK.

Pretty exciting news! More details…

India bans dogs imported for breeding or commercial purposes

St Bernard DogIndia will no longer permit dogs to be imported for commercial or breeding purposes. The change in law by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) was brought on by appeals by animal rights organizations noting the number of breeds surrendered due to their inability to adapt to the high temperatures of the country.

Pet owners can enter the country with their dogs with a transfer of residency without DGFT licensing. Dogs can also be imported for purposes of research or security. All dogs need a Notice of No Objection which must be applied for in India by the owner, an agent or a representative of the owner.

More details on entering India