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Contract of Carriage

Traveling With Your Pet



Be honest 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 first.

Schedule A Visit With Your Veterinarian
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.

Make certain 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 "call collect".

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 for cats.

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 if necessary.

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 for accidents.
First aid kit.
Flashlight for nighttime walks.

Plan Your Trip

Find lodging along the way where your pet will be welcome.

While You're Traveling

Keep fresh 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 pet.

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 The Risks

Regardless of how cautious you and the airline are, there are always significant risks involved anytime you decide to transport your pet by air.

Assess Your Pet's Readiness For
Air Travel

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 by air.

Certain breeds 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 at altitude.

Consider Your Flight Options

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 cabin.

Avoid weekend 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 restrictions.

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.

Contact The Airline

Each airline 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.

Airlines may 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.

Regardless of 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
Make certain 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 machine.

Your pet will not be allowed out of the carrier during the flight.

If Your Pet Will Be Traveling As Excess Baggage or Cargo

See "Before 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.

Ask about 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.

Make certain 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).

Before tendering 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 possible.

Before boarding 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.

Any connections 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.

Prepare Your Pet For The Flight

Exercise your pet before you place it in its carrier or crate so that it may relieve itself.

Make certain 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.

Never muzzle your pet as its ability to breathe and regulate its temperature by panting will be severely restricted.

Air Travel with Your Pet
in the Passenger Cabin

Your Pet's Health

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.

The Flight

Most airlines 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.)

Respect fellow passengers.

The Carrier

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.

Exercise your 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.

Tranquilization is not recommended.

Air Travel with Your Pet
in the Cargo Hold

Your Pet's Health

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 airline.

Exercise your pet before putting him or her in the crate.

The Flight

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.

The Crate

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.

Freeze water 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 the crate.

Tranquilization is not recommended.

When Traveling By Automobile

Acclimate your pet

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.

Before Driving

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 destination.

While Driving

If the weather is warm, use your air conditioning. Always make sure that air is being circulated frequently.

Restrain your 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 itself.

During Rest Stops

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.

Contact The Property

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 they allow.

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 on pets.

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.

At Check-In

Announce your 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 pets.

While In Your Room

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

Leaving Your Room

Avoid leaving 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.

Public Areas

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.

During Your Stay

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 costs.

Be Prepared

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 become separated.