Pet Travel Tips, Facts, and Scam Information For You and Your Pet

Scam Alerts:
The intent of this listing is to inform the public of known scams and misinformation. It is presented for information only and is not intended to be a complete listing. Listed below are reputable organizations that Scammers frequently, and falsely, claim association.

  • International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an international trade organization that represents over 90% of the scheduled international airlines. Many of these airlines transport animals. There are some scams purporting to be members of this transport organization. If you have any doubts or just want to verify that their name is being used legally, please contact them at: Larper@iata.org or via hotline +1 514 390 6770 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE +1 514 390 6770 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Also, IATA does not endorse, certify or approve any particular container manufacturer, brand, make or model. Nor does it organize, broker or sell shipping or delivery services.
  • IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Association) is an organization of professional pet shippers who arrange for transport of pets anywhere in the world. There are scammers that purport to be members of this organization. IPATA, as an organization, does not transport pets. Their members do but under their own company names. If you are contacted by anyone using IPATA as part of their company name or email address, it is most likely a scam. If you have doubts or just want to verify that IPATA’s name is being used correctly, please go to this web site: http://www.ipata.com/page.php?rp=33. If you are contacted by anyone who says that they are a member of IPATA, you can verify this yourself by looking up their company on http://www.ipata.com/find-a-pet-shipper. If they are not listed, they are not a member!
  • Airline Approved Kennel: There are no pet transport kennels that are pre-approved by any Airline, IATA, IPATA, or USDA even if stated on the labels. Please ensure that you purchase the strongest and most secure kennel you can find regardless of misleading labeling.

Travel Containers:
Many injuries, deaths, and escapes can be attributed to either the pet trying to escape the kennel and as a result hurting its paws and/or gums, or due to actual escape. Escapes can happen from a variety of causes. For example, a dog can chew its way out of the kennel if it can get its upper and lower teeth between slits or holes in the plastic sufficient enough to apply force; dogs and cats may be able to push the door open or partially open and escape; the kennel lock is broken or not properly latched; or the kennel itself  is not properly assembled.

For further  information on the  types of injuries of  transported pets, please visit the Department of Transportation consumer report page. This reports records Airline incidents on the “Loss, Injury or Death of Animals During Air Transportation.”

    Tips on Selecting a Travel Container for your pet:

  • Look for one that is put together securely, e.g., locking bolts
  • Look for metal doors instead of plastic (pets may be able to chew through or bend/buckle plastic doors
  • Stronger doors have 4 metal rods that fasten the door to the container
  • Ensure door lock mechanism is strong and effective
  • No wheels — most – if not all – airlines will not accept a container with wheels
  • Airlines or Air transport organizations do not certify containers. Statements such as “airline accepted” or “IATA Approved” are misleading.

Acclimate your pet:
Be sure to “acclimate” your pet to the kennel it will be traveling in. Let it spend varying lengths of time in the kennel several days before travel so that it is familiar with it.  Some pets are stressed severely by being placed in a strange cage.  Also, you may wish to put some article of clothing that you have worn into the kennel during transportation.  This may help calm the pet.  An old T-shirt that you have slept in for one or more nights will work well.

Sedation:
Sedation of your pet is not generally recommended for air travel. The pets safety is at risk. Please refer to a statement from the American Veterinary Medial Association (AVMA)

Travel Abroad:
Always check with the destination a month or more in advance of your trip. Each country has their own set of rules, some simple, some complex, and some require quarantine. Please visit the International Animal Export Regulations website to learn more.

Also check with one of our APHIS State offices for more information and/or to have health certificates “officially” endorsed (some countries require government endorsement). You can find your state office here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/area_offices/

Many Animal Welfare Organizations offer useful information on pet travel on their websites. It is easy to find these organizations through a web search on such words as “pet travel” or “travel with my pet.”

Travel Safety Tips

For some pet parents, a trip is no fun if the four-legged members of the family can’t come along. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your pets. If you’re planning to take a trip with pets in tow, we have some tips to help ensure a safe and comfortable journey for everyone.

Remember, no matter where you’re headed or how you plan to get there, make sure your pet is microchipped for identification and wears a collar and tag imprinted with your name, phone number and any relevant contact information. It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.

 

Traveling by plane?

Unless your furry friend is small enough to ride under your seat, it’s best to avoid air travel with your pets. If you must bring your pet along on the flight, here are a few suggestions to keep your pet safe while flying the friendly skies.

 

  • Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a checkup. Prior to your trip, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure. Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended as it could hamper his or her breathing, so use this time to check with your veterinarian for ways to relax your pet if you suspect he or she may become afraid, anxious or uncomfortable mid-flight. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
  • Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and lined with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents. Prior to your trip, tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he or she gets hungry during a layover. The night before you leave, freeze a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill during loading and will melt by the time he or she is thirsty. Make sure the crate door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure your pet’s crate has proper identification. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as with your name, cell phone and destination phone number, and a photo of your pet. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.
  • Tell every airline employee you encounter—on the ground and in the air—that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted.

 

Taking a Road Trip?

Traveling with a pet by car involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Here are a few car travel safety tips to help you prepare for a smooth and safe trip.

  • Prep your pet for a long trip. Get your pet geared up by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings.
  • Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide to forgo the crate, don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window, and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
  • Prep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, and any travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and always opt for bottled water. Drinking water from an area he or she isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort.
  • Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

 

Share the joy