Keeping Pets Safe in the Air


Pet airline safety is at the top of every owner’s mind after the tragic death of a pet French bulldog on a United flight last week. The dog passed away after being placed in an overhead bin at the request of a flight attendant. The airline has since apologized and one senator has even introduced a bill in response to the incident.


Unfortunately, this is not the first pet death that has occurred during a flight. Of the 506,994 animals transported via plane last year, 24 died according to the Transportation Department. However, it is important to note that these numbers only account for animals traveling in cargo and not those in the cabin because airlines are not required to report non-cargo incidents.


Retailers can help reduce the number of tragedies by educating pet parents about safe travel practices and preventive steps. Here are a few tips to promote, especially during peak travel seasons.


1. Use a direct flight

If possible, travel to your destination directly since layovers, transfers and delays can lead to mistakes and extra stress for you and your pet.


2. Schedule a pre-travel vet visit

Before your trip, you’ll need to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current and obtain a health certificate dated within 10 days of your departure from your veterinarian.


3. Purchase an airline approved carrier or crate

If your pet is traveling in cargo, be sure that the crate is study with proper ventilation, a waterproof bottom, metal hardware and a secure door. You should also make sure your pet is accustomed to the carrier well before the trip to mitigate anxiety.


4. Label everything

Write your name and contact information clearly on the carrier and ensure your pet is wearing a tag with the same information. Also, carry a current picture of your pet for extra security.


5. Inform airline personnel that your pet is traveling

Tell flight attendants and the pilots that your pet is in cargo (or in the cabin) so they can be prepared for additional considerations.

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