about your pet's ability to travel. If your pet is very young
or old, or is ill, pregnant, or recovering from surgery, it may
be better for all concerned to look into a pet sitter or kennel
rather than take a chance on injuring your pet by taking it with
you. If you are in doubt, ask your veterinarian. If your pet
has not traveled before, try a short overnight or weekend trip
Schedule A Visit With
Inform your veterinarian where you will
be traveling to, for how long, as well as whether your pet will
be traveling by air or car. Ask your veterinarian about any flea,
heartworm, or tick risks for areas you will be traveling to.
If your pet becomes carsick or restless when traveling, ask your
veterinarian about appropriate medications or treatments.
Many pets become separated from their people while traveling
and often collars are not on pets when they are recovered at
shelters. Seriously consider having your pet
microchipped - animal hospitals, humane societies, kennels, and
shelters nationwide are using scanners that will read these implanted
chips and let you be reunited with your lost pet. Microchip procedures
are safe, quick, inexpensive, and very common. Your veterinarian
can tell you more about this procedure.
that all vaccinations are up to date and obtain current health
and rabies certificates no more than ten (10) days prior to your
departure. You will be required to have these if your pet is
traveling by air. These certificates are also strongly recommended
if your plans do not include air travel as you may need to board
your pet unexpectedly and many kennels will not accept pets without
these certificates. And, if your pet does require emergency medical
care, these will allow this to take place much more quickly and
without the potentially dangerous duplication of vaccinations.
Obtain A Secure
Carrier For Your Pet
You need a sturdy,
properly ventilated crate of adequate size for your pet to stand
up, turn around, and lie down in comfortably. Knobs or a rim
at least 3/4 inches deep is
required so that the ventilation will not be blocked. The crate
should be free of interior hazardous protrusions, have a door
that securely latches, and have handles or grips on the outside
to prevent anyone who might need to handle the crate from being
bitten. The bottom should be leak proof and covered with a towel
or other absorbent material.
Print your pet's
name and your name, address, and phone number for both your home
and destination on the outside of the crate with permanent marker.
Include your personal 800 number if you have one or the words
Never put a leash
in the crate as your pet could get tangled in it.
Make sure your
pet is accustomed to the crate before you begin your trip.
Verify that your
pet's tags are current.
Your pet should
wear a secure collar at all times with tags showing proof of
rabies vaccination and your name, address, and phone number in
case your pet becomes
separated. Make a set of temporary paper tags with the address
and phone number at your destination.
Never allow your
pet to wear a choke, pinch, or training collar while traveling.
Safety collars, which attach with elastic or Velcro, are recommended
Before You Leave
Clip your pet's
nails. Pets with freshly-trimmed nails will be less likely to
damage items in strange surroundings and will be easier to restrain
Brush your pet
to remove all loose hair.
If your pet has
fleas, obtain and complete the necessary treatment before traveling
to avoid infesting its new surroundings.
Things To Bring
A sturdy leash.
An extra collar.
An old blanket or sheet for the back seat of your car or wherever
the pet's carrier will be secured to make cleanup easier.
Two old sheets to cover bedding and furniture at your destination.
Some of your pet's bedding.
Food. If you do not feed a brand you are certain will be available
at your destination and along the way, bring enough for the whole
trip. If you feed canned, bring a can opener and spoon.
Two gallons of extra drinking water from home. When you are down
to the last half gallon, begin mixing in equal parts with the
water supply at your destination. If your pet is especially sensitive,
use distilled water.
Food & water bowl set.
Portable water bowl or bottle for use when away from your lodging.
Toys or chew items.
All required medications, supplements, and preventatives.
Tweezers to remove foreign objects from fur or paws.
Brush or comb.
Lint and hair remover.
Baby wipes or moist towelettes to wipe off paws.
For cats, a full litter pan with extra litter, liners, and newspaper
to place underneath for cats.
Waste removal bags.
Old towels, carpet cleaner, disinfectant spray, and trash bags
First aid kit.
Flashlight for nighttime walks.
Plan Your Trip
along the way where your pet will be welcome.
water available for your pet at all times. Avoid sudden changes
of diet. If you are unable to obtain your pet's normal brand,
switch gradually over to the new food over a period of four or
more days. Clean your pet's food and water bowls out regularly
with soap and water.
Never take your
pet on an escalator unless it is securely in its crate as its
claws or fur could become caught.
Obey all leash
laws and make certain to keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier
at all times when not securely in a room. Clean up after your
Never give your
pet sedatives or tranquilizers unless under a veterinarian's
prescription. Such medications can interfere with your pet's
ability to maintain its balance and equilibrium, which could
prevent your pet from being able to brace itself and prevent
injury. Air travel while under the influence of these medications
is especially dangerous as exposure to increased altitude can
cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Be Aware Of
how cautious you and the airline are, there are always significant
risks involved anytime you decide to transport your pet by air.
Pet's Readiness For
The United States
Department of Agriculture ("USDA") regulates air transportation
of pets and requires that all pets be at least 8 weeks old and
weaned at least five days prior to flying in order to be transported
by air. We strongly recommend that you err on the side of safety
and not transport any pet under 12 weeks of age. Additionally,
ill, very nervous, pregnant, or older pets should not be transported
including Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Boxer, Chow Chow, Lhasa Apso,
Pekinese, Pug, and ShihTzu dogs, as well as Himalayan and Persian
cats should not be transported by air as these breeds are more
susceptible to breathing difficulties caused by the thin air
We strongly discourage
the use of other than nonstop or direct flights (no change of
plane), especially for pets that will not be traveling in the
or holiday flight periods as the high numbers of travelers during
these periods may prevent your pet from receiving as much attention
as it should.
If your pet will
not be traveling in the cabin with you, avoid travel during very
cold or hot times of the year and make certain that flights are
early morning or late night if during the summer and midday if
during the winter. The USDA prohibits the shipment of animals
where temperatures at either the origin or destination are below
45 degrees or above 85 degrees. Many airlines have further temperature-related
Allow up to two
extra hours for check-in and, if your pet is not traveling with
you in the cabin, arrival procedures.
Inquire as to
the aircraft type planned for the route. McDonnell Douglas aircraft,
including the MD80, DC9, and the DC10 will not accommodate 500-size
crates. These crates should fit on Boeing aircraft, including
the 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777.
has their own rules and regulations, beyond the USDA's minimum
requirements, concerning what types of pets they will transport
and how they will transport them that you will need to discuss.
Let the airline know the expected weather at your origin, destination,
and any transferring cities, as well as the type of pet you have,
its size, the type and size of its carrier, weight, temperament,
and health. Airlines may
refuse to transport a pet for any of these reasons and may always
refuse to transport a pet they have not seen for reasons including
poor health or violent disposition.
The use of sedation
or tranquilizers is not advised since their effects on animals
at high altitudes are unpredictable.
have any of the following transportation options for your pet:
In cabin, checked baggage, or as cargo. While the requirements
for each option vary by airline, the following are typical:
In Cabin - You must be on the
same flight as your pet and the carrier in which the pet is to
travel must fit entirely under the seat in front of you and the
size limitation does vary by aircraft and airline. Weight restrictions
may also apply.
Checked Baggage - You must be on the
same flight as your pet and the crate and pet combined must weigh
no more than one hundred pounds.
Cargo - If the pet does not
qualify for either of the earlier options, it must travel as
cargo. Unfortunately, when shipping your pet as cargo, there
is no guarantee as to the particular flight your pet will be
on, unless you choose priority or "counter-to-counter"
shipping, which we strongly recommend.
which option will be used for your pet, reservations are required
well in advance as each flight can only transport a certain number
of animals in each cabin class and cargo hold. These capacities
vary by airline and aircraft.
Be sure to reconfirm
with the airline 24-48 hours before departure that you will be
bringing your pet.
Charges for pet
transportation vary by carrier, but are generally between fifty
and one hundred dollars one way.
If Your Pet
Will Be Traveling In The Cabin
to have a leash or harness with you as most airports will require
that the pet be removed from the carrier at the security screening
checkpoint so that the carrier may be sent through the x-ray
Your pet will
not be allowed out of the carrier during the flight.
If Your Pet
Will Be Traveling As Excess Baggage or Cargo
you go" to make certain you have an acceptable crate. If
you have any doubts, ask the airline as they have final decision
on acceptance of a particular crate. The crate must close securely
with a mechanism that requires no special keys or tools to operate
or unlock and must not have wheels on it. The crate bottoms should
contain absorbent material such as bedding or newspaper and may
not contain litter. Make certain that the crate is not too big
for your pet to reduce the risk of injury to your pet from a
bumpy portion of the flight. Wire crates are prohibited.
Attach a label
to the crate with the information listed in "Before you
go" as well as your flight information, destination, arrival
contact name and number, as well as any special instructions
for handlers. Place labels with the words "LIVE ANIMAL" in letters at least
one inch high with arrows pointing upright on all sides and an
additional label without arrows on the top. We suggest including
a friendly note printed on the top as follows: "Hi, I am <name>, a <breed/type> going to <destination> on flight # <flight number>. Thanks
for taking good care of me."
Secure a leash
to the outside of the crate. Include two empty food and water
dishes secured inside the kennel and accessible from the outside.
Attach extra food, water, and any required medication to the
outside of the crate along with any instructions for these items
and a twenty-four history of feeding, watering, and medication.
We suggest that you also include a small bowl with frozen water
inside the crate that your pet can lick if it
needs water. Do not use ice cubes as they can pose a choking
hazard. Do not include any toys in the crate for the same reason.
The crate must
contain no more than one adult dog or cat or no more than two
puppies or kittens younger than 6 months and under 20 lbs.
other cargo on the flight to make certain that there are no substances
that would be dangerous to your pet. Consider insuring your pet for $10,000.
The amount of this coverage is minimal and it will mean that
greater attention will be given to your pet.
you have copies of your pet's health and rabies certificates
before you leave for the airport. Confirm the check-in and arrival
locations as they may be in a different part of the airport than
the passenger terminal buildings. Also inquire as to any cutoff
times for acceptance of your pet on the flight. USDA regulations
provide that your pet may be tendered no more than four hours
before flight time (six hours by special arrangement).
your pet for shipment, the USDA requires that you have offered
food and water to your pet within the last four hours and the
airline will require you to sign a certification to this effect.
Do not feed a full meal at that time, however, as that will make
the flight uncomfortable for your pet. We suggest that you offer
water to your pet as close to two hours before the flight as
the aircraft, remain in the boarding area to confirm that your
pet has been loaded. When you board the aircraft, inform the
captain and flight attendant that your pet is on board and require
that they confirm to you that your pet has been loaded. If you
do not have access to the captain, give the flight attendant
a note for the captain in which you ask that he or she assure
you that your pet has been loaded and is, in fact, on board.
If taxiing becomes
extended or the aircraft experiences ventilation problems, tell
a flight attendant that you are concerned about your pet and
ask him or her to have the captain check the temperature in the
cargo hold where your pet is traveling. If the delay is long,
insist that your pet be removed. Many pets have died because
they were not.
Claim your pet
as soon as possible after you reach your destination. If your
flight is not a nonstop, leave the aircraft and check on your
pet during the layover. If the layover is long or the temperature
a factor, confirm that the pet is unloaded for the layover and
not allowed to remain in the cargo hold or out in the sunlight.
If the layover is long enough, claim your pet, take it for a
walk, and offer it water before you reboard.
often require that you claim and recheck your pet at the connecting
location, which may take up to three hours. Never change planes
without claiming and
rechecking your pet, even if the airline gives you this option.
If your pet will
be traveling unaccompanied, consider contacting a pet travel
service to handle the shipment. They will coordinate all aspects
of pickup and delivery.
Pet For The Flight
pet before you place it in its carrier or crate so that it may
that your pet is wearing a collar with identification in case
it escapes. The safest type of collar for air travel is a breakaway
collar if you have a cat or, for dogs, a paper collar you make
yourself from a strip of paper and tape with identification written
on the paper. This will prevent your pet from accidentally strangling
itself in its collar.
your pet as its ability to breathe and regulate its temperature
by panting will be severely restricted.
Air Travel with
in the Passenger Cabin
Make an appointment
with your pet's veterinarian for a check-up.
Make sure you
have the necessary documentation, e.g., health certificates,
international permits, etc.
have a limit on the number of pets allowed per cabin, so be sure
to inform your airline when you make your reservation that you'll
be boarding with a companion animal. Also, ask for the allowable
dimensions of your pet's carrier.
Let the person
sitting next to you know that you have a pet with you. (He or
she may be allergic and want to switch seats with someone else.)
Make sure the
carrier is big enough to insure comfort for your pet.
Line the bottom
of the carrier with a towel to absorb any accidents.
pet prior to putting him or her in the carrier.
For your pet's
safety and the safety of other passengers, make sure that the
carrier is secure under the seat in front of you.
Do not take your
pet out of the carrier. This is FAA law.
Bring food and
water for your pet on long trips, and offer them only after the
airline food service is over.
is not recommended.
Air Travel with
in the Cargo Hold
Make an appointment
with your pet's veterinarian for a check-up, and make sure all
vaccinations are up to date.
Obtain a health
certificate from your vet no earlier than 10 days before departure.
You must feed
and offer water to your pet four hours before delivery to the
pet before putting him or her in the crate.
Make a reservation
for your pet.
Book a direct
flight whenever possible.
If you're traveling
in hot weather or to a warm climate, book a night flight.
Purchase a USDA-approved
shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit
and change position in comfortably. You can purchase crates from
many pet supply stores and airlines.
Write the words
"Live Animal" in letters at least one inch tall on
the top of the crate and on at least one side. Use arrows to
prominently show the upright position of the crate.
Write down the
name, address and telephone number of the destination point of
your pet, whether you are traveling with him or her or someone
else is picking up the animal, and be sure to secure this information
to the top of the crate.
Line the crate
bottom with some type of bedding -- shredded paper or towels
-- to absorb accidents.
The crate must
have two dishes -- one for food and one for water -- attached
inside. They must be easily accessible to airline personnel.
you provide for your pet so that it will not fall out during
loading, but will melt by the time the animal is thirsty.
Do not lock the
door of the crate. Make sure it is securely closed, but not locked,
so that airline personnel can open it in case of emergency.
Get your pet
accustomed to the crate prior to the day of departure.
Make sure your
pet is wearing a collar and an identification tag. (Breakaway
collars are best for cats.)
For trips longer
than 12 hours, attach both a plastic bag containing dry food
and feeding instructions for airline personnel to the top of
Tranquilization is not recommended.
Be certain that
your pet is accustomed to traveling in a car. If not, try a series
of shorter trips before taking a long one.
Feed your pet
lightly before beginning the trip, about one third of their normal
amount. Save the remainder and feed it once you've reached your
If the weather
is warm, use your air conditioning. Always make sure that air
is being circulated frequently.
pet, using a pet seat belt or secured carrier. Never let your
pet ride unrestrained in the back of a truck. Don't allow your
pet to stick its head out the window.
Take breaks at
least every three hours to allow your pet to exercise and relieve
Don't allow your
pet to run loose at rest areas. A pet can become lost, run into
traffic, or get involved in a fight with another animal.
Never leave your
pet unattended in the car for any amount of time, especially
during warm or cold weather. A car parked in the sun can quickly
become overheated and shade moves. Additionally, your pet can
become a target for theft. If you want to leave your car for
any length of time and can not bring your pet, contact a local
kennel or veterinarian for their day rates.
Tell them that
you want to make reservations and bring your pet. Some properties
have restrictions on the number, type, size, or weight of pets
Ask about any
non-refundable fees or refundable deposits required.
Find out about
any restrictions on the number and type of rooms available. Some
properties limit pets to smoking rooms or a certain section of
the property. Additionally,
some properties have seasonal or length of stay restrictions
Inquire as to
whether your pet may be left unattended while in room and, if
so, if the pet must be crated.
In any event,
you may want to consider getting a ground floor room to make
late night bathroom runs easier.
pet and inquire as to areas to walk your pet and areas that your
pet is not permitted.
Also ask about
any ant or insect poisons in use; many of these are toxic to
While In Your
Cover any furniture
and beds your pet will be allowed on. Never permit your pet to
sleep on beds, chairs, or bed spreads unless they have been covered
with your own complete bed covering.
Place your pet's
food and water bowls on a mat or feed them outside. Litter boxes
should go in the bathroom to make cleanup easier and newspaper
should be placed
your pet alone in the room. If you must do so, inform the front
desk, turn on your radio or television to keep your pet entertained,
and make sure your pet is securely crated to avoid the startled
pet escaping through an open door when the housekeeper enters
or, worse, attacking the housekeeper.
Always keep your
pet leashed. Never take your pet into a dining area, bar, lounge,
or pool area.
Walk your pet
far from lawns, flower beds, and other public areas and always
clean up after your pet.
Wipe off muddy
or dirty paws before your pet enters the room.
If your pet should
damage property, report it immediately and volunteer to pay any
While no one
likes to think about it, many pets do become separated while
away from home. To increase the chances of a safe and quick return,
bring a recent photograph and written description of your pet
including call name, breed, sex, age, any microchip or tattoo
numbers, and a description of coat, color and markings including
any unusual markings, scars, or other identifying marks, as well
as weight and height. These will be invaluable if your pet does