that are susceptible to respiratory issues—
that should never fly (and some airlines
refuse to transport them).
3. Prepare for the cargo hold. If your dog
must fly in the cargo hold, then it must fly in
an approved container that is well ventilated
and made of sturdy plastic with a secure locking system. It must be large enough for your
dog to be able to stand, turn around and lie
down. Tape any wheels that may be attached
to the kennel so it can’t roll freely. Make sure
the kennel has “;;;; ;;;;;;” stickers on the
top and sides at least 1 inch tall. Mark the kennel with the animal’s name and your name,
address, phone number and destination.
Then verify that the kennel’s baggage-claim
tag shows the correct destination and is
4. Avoid the temptation to sedate your pet.
It’s stressful enough for the animal to adjust to a
different environment compounded by sudden
movements and altitude, lighting and pressure
extremes. Sedating the dog only makes matters
worse and can even injure your pet. According
to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over-sedation is the most frequent cause
of animal death during airline transport (it
accounts for almost half of all deaths).
5. Hydrate your dog during the flight.
Many kennels come equipped with a built-in cup for water. It’s essentially useless—move
the kennel and the water spills out. And that
kennel is going to be moved a couple of times.
Instead, bring a bag of ice with you to the airport, and right before loading your dog into
the kennel put the ice into the cup. It won’t
spill, and as it melts throughout the flight your
dog can get much-needed water.
6. Know when to fly. When you change
planes in the heat of summer or the
cold of winter, pets traveling in the
cargo hold can often sit out on the
tarmac in extreme heat or cold for
hours. As a result, many airlines
will not transport pets during
summer or winter months. You
need to check with individual airlines to determine what the time
and temperature moratorium is
with each carrier. As a general
rule, airlines won’t carry pets
when the thermometer drops
below 45 F or soars over 85 F.
7. One final question you need to
ask. There have been cases in which animals
were mistakenly put into unpressurized cargo
holds, and pets have died. So once you board
your plane, inform a flight attendant that
your pet is down below, and ask if he or she
can confirm it’s in a pressurized compartment. It’s a necessary question.
And, if your flight is delayed, inform the
crew that an animal is on board and ask that
the captain be informed. If the delay is
lengthy, your animal must be removed from
the plane. Insist on this. The bottom line:
You are the only person who is going to protect your pets. C
Peter Greenberg is the multiple Emmy
Award–winning travel editor for CBS News
and host of The Travel Detective on public
or your local listings.
By Peter Greenberg
NATIONAL PET Travel
Safety Day is January 2, a
good time to take a look
at a few important considerations before flying the
friendly skies with Fido
Let’s start with an obvious assumption:
Many of us consider pets to be family members.
And when we travel, we almost always want to
take our loved ones along—and that includes
our cats and dogs. A road trip by car is one
thing. But what invariably complicates things is
when we want to fly with them. And if we’re not
careful, we could be putting our canines or
felines in serious jeopardy, or worse.
Here are seven things you need to know
before Fido or Fluffy flies.
1. Get certified. You need to get a medical
OK. Be sure to visit your veterinarian within
10 days of your trip to obtain a current health
certificate. It’s required by airlines if you want
to travel with a pet.
2. Size matters. So does the breed. If an
animal is small—usually less than 20
pounds—it can and should fly in the cabin
with you. Most airlines have a limit on how
many live animals are allowed per cabin, so
make sure you check with them when booking your flight.
Also, if you’re bringing your dog or cat on
board, it has to fit under the seat in front of
you, and it has to stay in its container. No matter how cute it might be, taking your pet out
during the flight can get you a serious fine.
And there are certain breeds of cats and dogs
won’t tell you
The Costco Connection
Costco and Costco.com carry pet carriers
and crates, as well as pet beds, snacks,
food and supplements. Members can fill
most pet prescriptions at Costco pharmacies.