Is your pet carrier safe for Air Cargo travel? The new laws of May 2005 require airlines to report all pet incidents to an appropriate government agency. These reports are then compiled and released to the public monthly by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Pet owners can now access these detailed reports on specific airlines prior to making pet travel arrangements. 'Equipped with this newly released information pet owners can now make more informed pet travel choices', says Lisa Kelly, owner of DryFur.com and KC Pet Travel Products, LLC.
FACT: These newly released reports note that, overall, pet airline travel is SAFE. Reports further state that, although extremely rare, the number one cause of incidents (death, injury or loss) has usually been caused by “Kennel Problems” such as escape or injuries during escape attempts. The second leading cause of incident was extreme temperatures (heat/cold). DryFur.com is a pet care site that helps inform and prepare pet owners for airline trips with that special little friend.
IS YOUR PET CARRIER – KENNEL – CRATE SAFE FOR AIR TRAVEL?
Take the DryFur.com 11-Point Carrier Kennel Test below to find out: Is it constructed of thick heavy-duty plastic with metal door and all nut & bolt attachments?
• Is it missing any hardware? Reports indicate that just one missing or faulty attachment can cause serious safety problems for traveling pets.
• Is you pet carrier/kennel/crate 'airline approved' by your chosen carrier. All airlines have their own set of safety guidelines and rules for what they considered an 'approved' pet travel container. A big misconception is that if the marketing material that accompanies the pet container reads “airline approved” then it must be so: this is almost never the case! Even the giant retailers are guilty of labeling some of their pet carriers as 'airline approved' that are not approved by all airlines; in fact, some of these containers have actually been band by many airlines for major safety concerns. So buyer beware.
• Does your pet carrier kennel have all-plastic attachments, like plastic pegs, plastic dial-latches, or plastic snap latches? Reports indicate that plastic attachments are not nearly as reliable or safe as metal hardware attachments. Again please check with your chosen airline as many airlines are now refusing all-plastic attachments and only accept pet carrier kennels secured with solid metal nuts and bolts.
• What about the kennel's door: will it stay securely closed even if your pet gets startled or begins to panic? Many airlines are now requiring special hand-releasable cable ties be installed around all kennel doors to ensure they stay closed/locked before, during and after flights, yet can easily be opened by airline personnel without tools in the event of a pet emergency.
• Is your kennel lined sufficiently to absorb all wetting accidents or water bowl spills? Wet slippery kennel floors are very uncomfortable and extremely unsafe for traveling pets. Further, wet skin and fur will exasperate cold temperatures creating a dangerously unsafe environment for your traveling pet.
• Is your kennel properly labeled with the words “LIVE ANIMALS” in Green Text, and “ARROWS indicating this side UP” on both the left and right sides of the kennel to ensure proper pet handling? Green Text is very important especially when traveling internationally, it is the universal symbol indicating Pets as opposed to Red or Black Text which indicates Lab Animals or commercial live stock.
• Is your kennel equipped with spill-resistant food and water cups securely fastened to the door, so they are accessible from the outside of the kennel without opening the kennels door? Reports have indicated that opening the door just long enough to administer much-needed fluids can be very dangerous if your pet gets scared or startled. Pay special attention that those dishes are securely attached to the door and feature a spill resistant rim to help ensure your pet will always have fresh water available especially in extremely hot weather.
• Is your pet carrier kennel the correct size for your pet to travel in safely and comfortably? There must be ample room for your pet to stand, sit and turn around with ease. A quick test is to have your pet sit or stand in the kennel: if the tips of the ears or head touch the roof, the kennel is too small and may be rejected by airline personnel. When in doubt, it is always better to go up by one size to be certain it will be accepted as safe for air travel by your chosen carrier.
• Does your carrier kennel have ventilation on all four sides? Older style kennels lacked ventilation holes in back wall, which is easily modified by drilling holes with a power drill using a wood bore bit. This is especially important for international flights where ventilation on all four sides of the pet kennel is mandatory.
• In the unlikely event your pet does escape, always make sure your pet has current updated contact information attached to his/her collar. (When traveling or relocating, a cell phone, pager or family member's number is preferred for the quickest possible response.) Also pack a recent photo of your pet to assist in locating your animalt if he/she is lost or escapes.
One last major safety issue to consider before traveling by air with your animal is your pet's age, health and/or physical limitations. Elderly pets, frail pets with health issues or limitations such as extreme snub nose pets (Persians, Pugs) should never travel by airline unless they are traveling in the passenger area of the plane as carry-on. Reports indicate these special group of pets are more prone to experiencing breathing difficulties, heart failure or other stress related emergencies while traveling alone in the cargo area of the plane especially in extreme temperatures. Detailed reports also demonstrate that although pet airline deaths are somewhat rare, pets with these issues and physical limitation account for the majority of these reported pet airline deaths.
Kelly warns pet owners not to let their pets become one of these rare airline incidents, and to ensure their pet carrier kennel is safe and secure prior to air travel. Prepare to bring your pet along on your next trip. Visit www.DryFur.com for more tips, safety checklists, kennel measurement & modification guides, pet travel accessories and a library of Free downloadable pet shipping documents.
"Dog Air Travel: Make Sure Your Canine is Safe in the Friendly Skies," www.TheHappyDogSpot.com
The Safe Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out by Malanie Monteiro,