Traveling With Pets Safely
If you plan on flying with pets this summer, learn how to keep them safe and happy.
Consider catching an in-flight movie, munching on a bag of tiny pretzels, and maybe even grabbing a catnap at 30,000 feet above the ground. For humans flying coach, passing the time in the air can be an enjoyable experience. But pets traveling cargo may be pardoned for being less than enthusiastic.
In transit, pets who fly cargo are confined to crates, jostled, subjected to extreme temperatures, inconsistent ventilation, and strange smells as well as the screech and roar of engines.
Here are more valuable tips for safe pet travel, especially when they have to fly cargo.
Skip the medication. Unfortunately, medicating the terror away is no longer an option for pets.
"Giving tranquilizers to your pet when traveling by air can increase the risk of heart or respiratory problems," the American Veterinary Medical Association warns. Tranquilizers also dull a pet's ability to brace himself during bumpy flights, and injuries may ensue.
Confirm your pet's safety in transit. Pet owners who are riding along in the cabin can monitor their pet's welfare throughout the journey. Before boarding, owners can and should confirm that their pets have been loaded and reconfirm at boarding with the captain, either directly or via a note to the flight attendant.
If the plane taxis or sits on the runway for an extended period of time, or the aircraft experiences ventilation issues, owners can ask the captain to check the temperature in the cargo hold. "If the delay is long, insist that your pet be removed," Mark A. Blanton, president and chief executive officer of Atlantic Airlines, a planned Florida regional airline, advises on his website.
If the flight suffers from long layovers or extreme temperatures, pet owners can insist pets be unloaded, and retrieve them at baggage claim. If need be, pet owners can cite United States Department of Agriculture regulations that prohibit animal shipment from or to locations where temperatures are below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Indeed, many airlines have their own temperature-related restrictions.
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