Pet Travel: Preparing Your Pet’s Crate for Travel

Prepare your pet's crate for travelWhether you are flying or driving with your pet, the best thing you can do for your pet is to prepare them for being in their crate. Get your crate well ahead of travel and keep the top half off. Encourage your pet to rest in the bottom half. After several weeks, attach the top half and the door. As more airlines are requiring it, we would strongly recommend that you use crate hardware.

Several days prior to travel, take a picture with your pet, print two copies and attach one to the top of your pet’s crate with your pet’s passport papers and any veterinary instructions. Attach it with duck tape in a zip lock bag and mark it “Originals, Do Not Remove” Attach LIVE ANIMAL stickers on each side of the crate and a shipper’s declaration on the top of the crate. Make sure your cell phone is written on the shipper’s declaration. Write your pet’s name on a piece of duck tape and put on the crate or mark the crate with a Sharpie pen. Attach a sturdy leash to the top of the crate if you are taking a trip with a layover. No fancy leash here as it may be lost along the way.

Keep a pet pad in your crate so that your pet will become accustomed to the scent. Put an old, unwashed t-shirt of yours in the crate (or try a stuffable toy) so your pet will carry your scent with them.

If you are flying, on the day of travel, you will need to attach the water/food bowl(s) to the door and put cable ties in the corners of the crate. Freeze water in the bowl the night before so it will not spill or drip. Once your pet is in the crate and the airlines have weighed your pet and inspected the crate, you will need to cable tie the door. The airlines should assist you with this, but it is wise to be prepared when you travel with your pet.

It is all about keeping your pet safe when you travel. The last thing any pet owner wants is to have his pet escape from their crate. If you need an airline compliant pet crate, or one for your car, you can find it together with other pet travel accessories at

Pet Travel: Rules relax for pets moving in European Union

Last week, the European Union (EU) member countries passed legislation allowing groups of more than five pets to cross borders within the EU. However, the pets must be competing in a pet or sports event, not just on holiday. Keep in mind that this legislation does not affect pet owners traveling with their pets to Europe who have more than five pets with them. This is still considered a commercial movement and subject to more stringent regulations.

Pet Travel in an Airline Cargo Hold – What Should a Pet Owner Do?

Dog in crateHaving been in the business of serving traveling pet owners with transporting their pets for over 15 years, I have read a lot of articles about the risks of pets traveling in the cargo hold of an airplane. Although I do not intend to argue against those opinions here, I would take this opportunity to mention that there is risk in taking ourselves and loved ones, including our pets, out of our environment no matter how we decide to do it (drive or fly). The core of the issue is not the decision; it is thought and preparation that goes behind it.

Because your children can communicate with you, it is easy to explain to them what you are doing, what is going to happen, and why. However, our pets, and particularly dogs, look to us for communication and will never understand what is happening to them when traveling in an airline cargo hold unless they are prepared for it. As a pet owner faced with a relocation or long vacation involving great distance and necessitating traveling in an airplane where you cannot be with them, what can be done to help your pet understand what is going on and be confident enough to withstand the separation from you?

First of all, you need to evaluate your pet’s health and personality. Take your pet to your vet if your pet has health issues and discuss them. Will these issues pose a challenge to your pet, mentally or physically over a prolonged separation? If so, you need to adjust your travel so that you can attend to those needs. Plan a layover along the way; just know that you will need to accommodate the import requirements of that country.

You know your pet’s personality better than anyone else. If your pet is very dependent on you, then it will take longer to prepare them for the separation involved in travel. Is your pet shy and timid? That will also require lots of advance preparation. Is your pet protective, territorial, and possibly aggressive? This is a difficult personality to deal with when traveling and this personality may require special crates to contain them when they are being held and loaded on the airplane.

Preparing for a trip involving the cargo hold of an airline is not an easy thing. Pets that are exposed to this type of travel before reaching adulthood will be better travelers, but don’t we all learn better when we are young? If you are faced with prolonged pet travel and your pet has never traveled before, plan to start very early. Get the crate months in advance and bond your pet to it, whatever it takes. Replace your pet’s bed with it (unless your pet sleeps with you), put your unlaundered clothing in it, lie down next to it and encourage your pet to use it, again and again. Reward your pet generously. This crate will protect your pet both physically and mentally, so you can understand how important this step is.

The second step is to get your pet out of its environment while in the crate. Take them to the dog park, to a friend’s or relative’s house or somewhere else fun. Or just drive around; anything to remove them from their environment. Get them around other animals or people and observe their behavior if this is possible. The more peoples they are exposed to, the better they will adjust to being around strangers without you.

The third step is to separate yourself from your pet. This is the hardest part, but will help your pet the most. Leave them with a friend or relative for a day, then come back to get them. Leave them at the groomers for longer than necessary, then come back to get them. Take them to doggy day care, then come back to get them. Always have a joyous reunion and give them lots of love and hugs when you come back to get them. By doing this, they will know you will always come back to get them, no matter where they are. And they will function better without you for periods of time. This is exactly what you want them to be able to do when you travel.

This all may sound hard to do, but it is not impossible and certainly worth doing. And yes, there are more things you will need to do such as check your destination country’s import requirements, look up local vets and pet hospitals, accumulate your pet’s medicines, take toys and grooming tools, and don’t forget a good leash. Just remember that you must prepare your pet mentally in order to have a successful trip. And, instead of feeling guilty, do what you can to prepare your pet. It will pay off in the long run.

Pet Travel on US trains: Amtrak pet policy to change?

Presently, pets are not permitted to travel on Amtrak trains unless they are medically certified service animals. But that may change if a Federal bill just introduced in the house moves forward.

H.R. 2066, the Pets on Trains Act of 2013, introduced by U.S. Reps. Jeff Denham, (R-CA) and Steve Cohen, (D-TN), would require Amtrak, the national rail operator, to implement a pet policy to allow passengers to travel with domesticated cats and dogs on certain trains. Should the bill pass, there would be fees involved as well as a mileage limit. Additionally, pets would have to travel in carriers or crates.

Amtrak always defended its pet policy by citing that it was an interstate service in the US and it would be complicated to adhere to differing state legislation. However, Federal legislation may change all that. Hopefully, it will get some support. Pets can travel in trains commonly in Europe (not Eurostar, however). Why can we not change this pet policy and provide this service in the US as well?

Pet Travel Transport: Angie off to Italy after being rescued from shelter

Angie before her flight to ItalyPet Travel Transport recently had the privilege of helping to save the life of an adorable pup who was 3 days away from being put down in a local shelter. We received a call from Jennifer who asked if we could help her get Angie ready for her trip to Italy from Miami. We routed her trip and arranged for all her paperwork and crate, then settled her in for the flight. Lufthansa did a great job getting her there.
Angie before her flight to ItalyWe heard from Jennifer once Angie had landed safely and she was very happy to meet her new friend. It is stories like these told by people thousands of miles away who reach out and save a life that makes our day brighter and so fulfilling.

Thank you, Jennifer. May many others follow your lead.

Pet Travel: Planning a Family Summer Vacation with Your Pet

Dogs by lake

Summer is here. The time to start planning for a family summer vacation with your pet is now! Whether you travel by car, RV or plane, there are things you can do now to help make your trip easier and more fun.

Plan your route and make reservations: Many pet friendly hotels have a limited amount of rooms where they allow pets. Call the hotel to confirm their pet policy and book online for great rates.

Get the right equipment for your pet and get them accustomed to it: If you have a small pet, get a well made pet carrier or pet crate. Encourage your pet to use it and reward them for doing so. Take them for a short ride in the car to a dog park or someplace fun. Get them out of their environment early and often, and they will be better pet travelers. More information on acclimating your pet to its crate or carrier.

Check airline pet policies: If you are flying, find an airline that flies your entire route. Changing airline companies along the way will complicate your trip. If your dog or cat is small enough, it can fly in the cabin with you. Some airlines will accept rabbits and small household birds as well. Larger pets must fly in the cargo hold which is temperature and pressure controlled. Be wary of temperatures, though. Any temperatures above 85 degrees F (30 degrees C) are unsafe for pet travel. Try to find flights that take off or land early in the morning or late at night for airports in hot locations.

Know the pet import requirements of any international locations you are considering. Many countries take months to prepare your pet for entry. Others will require quarantine which would not be suitable for vacationing pets. 

Visit your vet: Make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel and free of ticks and fleas. If rabies vaccinations are due, have them done. Consider getting a microchip for your pet. If you should ever get separated, having a pet microchip will significantly increase your chances of being reunited. And it is required for entering many countries worldwide.

Don’t forget the basics: a very sturdy, non retractable lead, food and water, treats and toys, medical necessities and you and your pet will be ready to go! Don’t forget to buckle them up! Questions? We’re here to help. Just post any questions or concerns and we will respond promptly.

Happy summer travels to you and your pet!

Pet Travel: Why Should You Choose a Professional Transporter to Help Move Your Pet?

Dog in crate used by transporter

There are many thing to consider when transporting your pet, especially when your pet is traveling internationally. Paperwork, possible quarantine, vaccinations and airline requirements are just a few factors. Also, your pet’s safety and the overall costs involved are important. Many countries require that specific steps to be taken prior to the pet transport which can be time consuming and very confusing.

Before you decide whether to hire a professional pet transporter, consider these advantages:

  • Knowledge of the country requirements to import a pet.
  • Experience with finding the safest and most efficient flights and routing for your pet.
  • Provision of delivery and door-to-door service if needed.
  • Preparation of all paperwork including import permits.
  • The transition of pets to different airlines or airports.
  • The provision of kenneling services.
  • Assistance with clearing customs.

With many resources available such as the internet, we are in the age of “DIY” (do it yourself) but there are times when hiring a professional with experience in transporting animals makes good sense. Below is a list of factors to consider before you make your decision.

Pet Safety:

Without being properly prepared for travel, your pet can be stranded in a foreign country, held in quarantine, returned to its original location or put down. All of these actions are at the expense of the owner and the costs can be significant, not to mention the anguish and upset to both the pet and owner.

Time is Money:

Regardless if you are relocating for work, pleasure or military purposes, you most likely have a million things to do.  Can you imagine the stress of preparing to move your family and belongings while preparing for a new place? Just consider the added stress in preparing your pet for transportl as well. For most travelers, this is just not a possibility. A pet transport company can handle all of the legwork for you while you can concentrate on other priorities.

Expertise in Special Circumstances:

Do you have a large breed of dog? How about an older animal, exotic animal or a brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breed? These types of animals can present more challenges. One quick search on the internet can get your head spinning trying to find the best possible way to transport your pet. Instead of being misguided by false information, leave these special circumstances to the pros.

 Don’t Believe Everything You Read:

The internet is a great resource, but can also provide conflicting and incorrect information. Picture preparing all of your documents for an international transport and when you arrive at the airport counter they tell you that your paperwork is expired, incorrect or just plain wrong. This is a nightmare that can be avoided by hiring the services of a professional. Also, keep in mind that most documents must be completed and endorsed within a certain time frame. Don’t be a victim of incorrect information.

If you decide that a pet transporter can assist in moving your pet, you can get a free quote here: .

International Pet Travel Country Questions

Pet Passport for International TravelTraveling internationally with a pet? Have questions about country requirements for entering with a pet?

  • Will my pet be quarantined?
  • What vaccinations does my pet need?
  • Will my pet need a passport?

Post your questions here and we will respond within 24 hours. You can also find information on international pet travel here: international pet travel

Airline Pet Policy Questions

airline pet policiesFlying with a pet?   Have questions regarding airline pet policy?

Need to know what type of carrier you will need?

What does your pet need to fly as cargo?

Will the airlines transfer your pet from one plane to another?

Post your questions here and we will respond within 24 hours. You can also find information here: airline pet policies.

Internet Pet Scams – Don’t be a victim!

Internet pet scams - don't be a victim!

You’re looking for a purebred dog or cat, bird or monkey, slider or pet pig. You surf the Internet and answer a classified ad or post one of your own looking for a puppy, kitten or other animal. You get an email back stating that someone has the perfect puppy or kitten waiting for you. How do you know that the offer is not one of the Internet pet scams?

The sellers send pictures and say that, for a very small amount of money, they will ship your pet to your door. An agent from a (supposed) transport agency will be handling the shipping of your pet. Or they detail a problem than have which causes them to give up their pet to a good home. They ask personal emails about how you can care for the pet. They are very convincing.

All you have to do to get your pet is to wire the funds via Western Union, purchase a cash card or use some other non-refundable service to them. Oftentimes, the destination of the funds is Cameroon, Africa; however, it can be anywhere. The internet pet scammers then send you an authentic looking transfer of ownership as well as shipping documents with airline information on it, which is really cut and pasted artwork with logos and pictures stolen from other airline and transport websites without their permission.

A day or so later, they inform you that your pet is in an airport someplace and needs either another crate (air-conditioned or pressurized) or another vaccination or pet insurance or medical attention. They will tell you that you will be held personally liable if you do not wire more money. If you send more money, they come up with another excuse why your pet cannot be delivered. They threaten that you will be held personally liable if you do not pay.

In reality, there is no pet, and you have been caught up in one of a number of Internet pet scams. Chances of getting your money back are very slim. Hundreds of people just like you have sent thousands of dollars to Cameroon and other countries in hopes of getting an adorable pet they see in a picture. There are many warning signs. More information here.