Pet Travel: Etiquette for Pets in Public Places

Dog Etiquette at the tableDogs love being outdoors and with more stores and businesses catering to the canine community it’s time to talk about “petiquette”. The way your pet acts in public is not only a reflection on you, but gives observers a perception on pet owners in general. This is why it’s so important to be on your best behavior so this “pet-friendly” trend keeps growing. When people and their pets leave the house, certain rules of etiquette apply.

Scoop the Poop! This is the single largest issue pertaining to pet etiquette. Every person that steps in your dog’s “business” is one less pet-friendly advocate. No matter what public place you attend with your pet, please bring cleaning equipment. Poop happens. Pick it up

Realize not everyone is a pet person: Although pets are more part of our families than ever, when in a public place it is important to show respect to those who don’t care for pets. Even if you’re pet gets enamored with greetings always be accommodating to others around you.

Call ahead to make sure your pet is welcome: Pets (other than service dogs) are not allowed inside restaurants, malls, and any building where food is served or prepared. Department stores usually set their own pet policies. Information can become outdated so always call in advance.

Leash it up in public: Unfortunately, there’s a stereotype that some pets will have to live with. Big dogs, no matter how friendly, are seen as more threatening. Be especially careful when interacting with strangers, and under no circumstance let your pet roam unleashed in a public area. Good advice is to leash your dog before it gets out of the car. Make sure to keep the leash close. An unleashed pet can frighten other travelers or get spooked and bolt away.

The responsibility of etiquette for pets in public places relies on the pet handler. Always remember your pets’ behavior affects everyone around you. Happy travels this summer!

Tips for Staying in a Pet Friendly Hotel

dog in pet friendly hotelHotels all over the world are making it easier to travel with your pets. Pet friendly hotels have many benefits including saving on boarding or pet sitter expenses and nervous pets avoid the trauma of being separated from their owners. However, traveling with your pet requires responsibility and pet-friendly etiquette. Here are some tips before booking that pet-friendly hotel.

Make sure the hotel actually allows pets: Remember that pet policies may change. What once might have been pet-friendly a year ago might not be now and vice-versa. Always call and confirm. Also, if you’re thinking of sneaking your pet into a “no pets allowed” facility, please think twice. Not only will you suffer the embarrassment of getting caught, you’re giving management a bad perception on pet owners.

Know the Hotel Rules: When you are checking in with your pet, get clear direction from hotel staff what the rules are for your pet. Ask where it is appropriate to walk your pet and where your pet is not permitted. Be clear on pet fees and whether they are refundable or not.

Cover furniture your pets will be using: If you want to make sure you get your pet deposit back, it’s always a good idea to cover any furniture your pets will use. Don’t give management the opportunity to argue over pet hair. Besides, your pet will be more comfortable on their own blanket.

Avoid leaving your pet alone in the room: If your dog is unpredictable, barks a lot and/or has separation anxiety, this especially applies to you. Even the best behaved pets can bark and become destructive when in a new environment. Make sure to use a kennel or carrier in the event you must leave your pet in the room for a short period of time. Know the pet policy. Some hotels will not allow you to leave a pet in the room.

Get a ground floor room if possible: The ground floor room has a few benefits for pet travel. First, you don’t have to scale down the stairs or use the elevator every time you need to walk your pet. Secondly, you won’t disturb anyone underneath you. Remember when your outside with your pet make sure they are leashed at all times.

Pack plenty of supplies: Don’t assume the hotel you are staying at has pet friendly accommodations such as dog food, toys and blankets. These are your responsibility as a pet owner. Prepare a bag or pack with all your pets’ necessities. This will help you settle into the room quickly.

Do not forget to clean up after your pet. Let’s all work together to keep this trend continuing and give other hotels and other lodging facilities a reason to become pet friendly.

Find pet friendly hotels worldwide here.

Pet Travel: Pet-Friendly Vacations on a Budget

woman with dog on vacationSummer is almost here! For many pet owners, the arrival of warmer weather means it’s time to plan a much needed vacation with the family, including our four legged friends.

That’s the fun part.

The difficult part is, with the cost of oil increasing, great deals on gas prices and airline tickets are rare and so, the cost of a typical summer vacation has increased.

Hold on, all hope is not lost. There are plenty of pet friendly vacations that can keep you entertained without breaking the bank. Here are just a few options worth considering.

Nothing Better than Natural Attractions! You know what’s great about natural attractions? They’re usually close by, most are relatively inexpensive and pet friendly, and they make for a great family fun. Parks, lakes, campgrounds, mountains and beaches are just a few natural attractions worth seeing. There’s nothing better than sharing some fresh air and exercise with your pet.

Trade the Hotel Room for a Tent: Camping makes for a great pet friendly vacation and the majority of sites are pet friendly. Most people think you have to be a serious outdoorsman to camp. This isn’t true. Even if you don’t have any camping equipment most campgrounds or parks would be happy to rent you equipment.

Visit the Family or Friends: Let’s face it, with our fast paced life, sometimes we forget to reconnect with relatives. Arrange for a get together whether it is at their house or a pet friendly hotel halfway so that you can pool your resources. If you are a guest at anyone’s house, it is important to make sure that your pet is welcome. This especially pertains to family or friends that have animals of their own. Make sure to remember you (and your pets) manners and clean up after your pet.

Enjoy a Staycation! Who says you have to travel around the world to enjoy a pet friendly vacation? Do some research and find pet friendly amenities in your own hometown. Create a list of things you and your pet could do locally and enjoy the fun.

Remember, whether it’s a trip to the beach or a day on the lake, there’s nothing like sharing your travel adventure with your pet pal.

Pet Health: How to Keep Your Pet Safe While Evacuating

Don't Leave Me BehindNatural disasters are never to be taken lightly. With the after-effects of the tsunami and earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11th it has brought pet owners all over the world to consider their pets safety in the event of a similar situation or a necessary evacuation. Here are some tips from the ASPCA on pet emergency preparedness.

Be prepared BEFORE the emergency:

The time to prepare for an emergency evacuation is now, not while it is happening. No matter how severe the situation, it is better to over-prepare than under-prepare. Here are some tips to minimize evacuation time in emergency situations:

• Make sure your pet can be identified. This means a collar and ID tag at minimum. The tag should contain the pets name, owners name, telephone number, and urgent medical needs. If your pet has a carrier this information should be provided on it as well.

• Know your evacuation route ahead of time. Keep a list of pet-friendly accommodations and boarding options outside of the danger zone.

• Keep an emergency kit with a weeks worth of food and medication along with a leash as close to the exit as possible.

• The ASPCA recommends using a Rescue Alert Sticker in the case of an evacuation. Make sure it is visible as it will allow Rescue Workers to know that pets are inside your home in the case that you aren’t. You can get a copy of the sticker and an emergency kit for free here.

Promote a stress-free and safe transport

In the case of a sudden crisis make sure your pet is being transported in a safe and secure manner. Smaller dogs and cats should be transported in a protective airline approved carrier and larger pets should be transported in a cargo crate or protective harness. If your pet is prone to anxiety, consider using a pet calmer to help ease stress. It is never recommended to sedate your pet.

Arrange a safe place for you and your pet

In the event of an emergency evacuation, make plans to stay in a safe and secure area away from the danger zone. This should go without saying but don’t leave your pet stranded. Don’t assume that your pet will be fine alone in an emergency. Remember if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. If for some reason you cannot take your pet with you, here is a list of alternatives:

• Contact your local animal shelter and see if they provide or know of emergency boarding for your pet.
• Ask your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
• Ask a friend or a relative outside the evacuated area if they are willing to take your pet in.

For the sake of you and your pets health, we hope you’re never put into an emergency situation. However, being prepared for unforeseeable circumstances may help save you or your pets life.

For more information on Pet Travel click here: PetTravel.com

Pet Health: Getting Your Pet in Shape to Travel

Fat Cat - get your pet in shape for travelHere’s the skinny: Healthier pets are better travelers. Getting your pet in shape to travel will require lots of lead time so start changing feeding habits early on.

A shocking report was recently issued by Pet Obesity Provention states that over half of the dog and cat population in the United States. is overweight. UK pets suffer with the same problem.

If your pet weighs over 15% of its ideal weight, it qualifies as overweight

Last year, pet owners with one unnamed insurance company paid over 25 million dollars to vets to treat obesity-related issues. Why? Because pets who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of a range of serious health problems such as diabetes, joint damage, ruptured cruciate ligaments, increased blood pressure, urinary incontinence, skin and hair coat issues, digestive issues. These are all common problems that affect obese pets.

Overweight pets are also prone to a poorer quality of life and less ability to exercise like they should.

Getting your pet in shape to travel is a very smart thing to do for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few of them.

Better chance of traveling the cabin

For example, if your pet is a smaller breed (under 19” in length) whose average weight is around 11 to 15 pounds, they will be able to travel in the cabin area of a plane as long as your airline pet policies allow for that. However, if a pet from the same breed is obese and weighs 20+ pounds your pet will not make the weight requirement for in-cabin travel. This especially pertains to international travel where the weight of a pet plus its carrier is checked more carefully.

Less breathing problems

Most dogs pant to regulate body temperature (since the sweat glands in their paws are basically inefficient). When a dog pants, heat escapes through the moisture of  its tongue, mouth and throat. As it exhales during panting, the moist air evaporates and keeps your pet cool.

When a dog is overweight, regulating body temperature becomes difficult and heavy panting occurs. Heavy panting causes stress, anxiety and dehydration. It can also lead to heat stroke.

Better chance your pet will withstand the rigors of traveling and a new environment

A healthy pet will have increased stamina, a better tolerance of weather conditions as well as better breathing capabilities. All of these factors play an important role in adjusting your pet to travel to new places.

How do you know whether your pet is overweight?

You should be able to see your pet’s ribs slightly through their skin as they walk and easily feel them when you run your hands along their sides. There should be a distinct pinch in the waist after the ribs and before the hips.  Look for an hourglass shape when you look down at your pet’s spine.

What you can do to get your pet in shape to travel

The first step is to figure your pet’s ideal weight. Your veterinarian can assist you with this.  Then determine your pet’s current weight. If  you are not due for a vet visit, just weight yourself, then pick up your pet, weigh yourself again and subtract the bigger number from the smaller number.

Depending on their level of exercise, the amount of calories your cat or dog needs can vary greatly. Obviously, if you have an active breed of dog or cat, they will need more calories than a sedentary one.

Don’t substitute food for affection. Dogs associate food with fuel and energy. If given the opportunity to overeat, they will take it. If you want to show your dog love, then give them attention, not extra food.

Here are tips to control your pet’s weight:

  • More exercise for both of you. This is the most effective way to help your pet lose weight.
  • Make sure that you are not overfeeding your pet. Your veterinarian can help with this or do some research on your own.
  • Don’t leave your pet’s food out all day. Mealtime should be scheduled at the same time everyday. Give your pet a reasonable time to finish their meal, then remove their food bowl.
  • Give love, not treats – reward your pet’s good behavior with love and attention, not high caloric treats.
  • Make them work for their food. Many toy manufacturers make toys that will distribute food slowly such as Kong toys. Find a food bowl with a maze that will slow your dog’s feeding time down.
  • Give your pet water with food, especially dry food. Water will create a  feeling of fullness.
  • Add vegetables to your pet’s food. Green beans and some carrots will add bulk but few calories to their dinner.
  • Slowly limit the amount of food that you give your pet. Slowly.
  • Consider a slow transition from a carb-based food to a fresh diet. Less convenient, for sure, but better for overweight pets.
  • Monitor their weight and measure it every week. One to two percent per week weight loss is ideal.
  • Read the label and be aware of the ingredients in your pet’s chow. More protein which takes longer to digest and less carbs which are more easily turned to fat are best.
  • Try speaking to your veterinarian about putting your pet on a low fat diet.
  • Get out and get going. Again, the more exercise that your pet experiences, the easier it will be to lose weight.

Many vets consider animal obesity to be the most preventable pet health crisis facing the United States and the United Kingdom. As with preparing in advance to acclimate your pet to its crate or carrier is important, so is getting your pet in shape to travel.

Pet Travel: Traveling via Cargo with a Snub-Nosed Pet

There are certain precautions every pet owner must take when your pet is traveling in the cargo area of a plane. You want to make sure your pet is acclimated to the crate, properly hydrated so your pet travels as safe and as comfortably as possible.

For the snub nosed pet owner, things can get risky. Here are dogbreeds that can be considered as snub-nosed depending on your airline: Affenpinscher, American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier/Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier/”Amstaff,” Belgian Malinois, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, American Bulldog, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Old English Bulldogges, Shorty Bulldogs, Spanish Alano/Spanish Bulldog/Alano Espanol, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chow Chow, English Toy Spaniel/Prince Charles Spaniel, Japanese Chin/Japanese Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Mastiff, American Mastiff, Boerboel/South African Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Ca de Bou/Mallorquin Mastiff, Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff, Dogo Argentino/Argentinian Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro/Brazilian Mastiff/Cao de Fila, Indian Mastiff/Alangu, Kangal/Turkish Kangal, Neapolitan Mastiff/Mastino Napoletano, Pakastani Mastiff/Bully Kutta, Pyrenean Mastiff, Presa Canario/Perro de Presa Canario/Dogo Canario/Canary Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff / Mastin Espanol, Tibetan Mastiff, Tosa/Tosa Ken/Tosa Inu/Japanese Mastiff/Japanese Tosa, Pekingese, Pug, Dutch Pug, Japanese Pug, Shar-Pei/Chinese Shar-Pei, Shih-Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier/”Staffys,” and Tibetan Spaniel.

Also, the following cat breeds are also snub-nosed: Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan and Persian.

These short nosed (also called “brachycephalic”) pets have difficulty breathing and acclimating to certain weather conditions. Even though these pets are considered “at risk”, taking necessary precautions and using the proper flight itinerary on a pet-safe, pet friendly airline will help reduce the chances of an incident. Below is an airline chart to help pet owners who are considering traveling via cargo with their sub-nosed breed.

Most airlines require a health certificate within 10 days prior to your travel date for pets flying in the cargo hold. (International immigration requirements also apply if traveling outside country borders)

Weather restrictions: When temperatures exceed 80-85 degrees F (27-30 degrees C) in any airport on your pet’s itinerary, the airlines restrict animals that will be accepted as checked baggage or cargo. These restrictions are enforced for the safety of your pet. The restrictions are as follows:

Summer Heat Embargo: May 15 through September 15

Winter Embargo: November 1st through March 31st

Delta: Delta has changed their banned breed policies and will no longer transport dog or cat breeds considered as snub-nosed in the cargo hold.

United: United will no longer transport snub-nosed pets in the cargo hold. See their snub-nosed breed restrictions here..

American Airlines: American Airlines has issued a permanent embargo on all breeds of snub-nosed dogs and cats.

Frontier Airlines: Frontier no longer offers checked baggage or air cargo services for live animals. If you want to fly with your pet on this airlines, it must fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you.

Alaskan Airlines: snub-nosed breeds are no longer permitted to fly Alaska Airlines in the cargo hold.

Lufthansa: snub-nosed breeds will be transported as long as temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees F anywhere on the itinerary.

KLM Airlines: KLM will only fly snub-nosed breeds as air cargo.  Four breeds of snub nosed dogs will no longer be allowed in the cargo hold on KLM aircraft: English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, and Pug

When your snub-nosed dog or cat are flying in the cargo hold, here are tips to keep them safe:

• Use a pet crate that is one size larger than is normally required
• Use a crate with ventilation on 4 sides. (If the kennel does not have ventilation on 4 sides, modify the kennel by drilling 7 holes in the rear top and 7 holes in the rear bottom of the kennel using a 3/4 inch keyhole bit).
• Acclimate your pet to its crate by letting the animal spend time in the kennel for several days before its departure
• Do not place food in the kennel during the flight, just water.
• Provide plenty of water to your pet. Frozen water bottles with tiny holes punched in the sides make a great watering tool for several hours when placed in the crate’s watering dish. Find the largest pet crate water bowl that you can.

It is always wise to call your airlines when making your reservation and disclose the breed of your dog. Also, it is a good idea to let the Captain know that you are traveling with a pet. Preparing in advance is an important part of pet travel.

More information on airline pet policies.

Ten Nice Things to do for your Pet for Valentines Day

February 14th is a day for love. While humans may like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate, flowers, and fine dining, your pet would probably prefer a fun day with you. So, what would your pet value most on a day for expressing love? Here are some ideas for returning the love that your pet shows you every day.

Nice Long Walks: Do you and your dog have a favorite pet-friendly beach or dog park? Some outdoor exercise will surely put a smile on your dogs face this Valentine’s Day. Who knows–maybe your canine will find a valentine, too.

Pet Treats: You can never go wrong with some tasty treats for your pets, just make sure they are the right kind. Remember, absolutely no candy (especially chocolate) for your pet on Valentine’s Day. Also, consider some healthy treats. Your pets probably won’t notice the difference, but you will when you pick them up.

Maybe it’s time for a bath? Nobody likes being stinky and this includes your pets. What better way to kick off Valentine’s Day then with a clean pet? If you don’t think you can tackle the task, take him/her to a local groomer. They will love you for it.

New Blankets and/or Toys! If you want to see your pets’ true excitement this Valentine’s Day, go with a new toy or blanket. Not only will they show you immediate satisfaction, with the right toy they will be entertained for the next few hours. Nothing says “Be My Valentine” like a heart-shaped chew toy for your dog or a blanket for your cat.

Belly Rubs! You’d be hard pressed to find a dog that doesn’t like a belly rub; even most cats love them too! This is a great (and inexpensive) way to show your pet appreciation. After a belly rub they might not know what Valentine’s Day is…..but they will sure love it!

Pet-Friendly Restaurants: Even if you have a romantic dinner planned for you and your significant other, don’t forget that your pooch probably wants to go too. If you can settle for outside dining, most restaurants can accommodate for our four-legged friends. Please check prior to making a reservation.

Pet Shopping Spree: Spend time with your pampered pet on a shopping spree at your favorite pet retailer or boutique. Try to find things that your dog or cat doesn’t already have but need such as a pet bed or something cozy to call their own. Remember, you don’t always have to settle for treats.

Cute Pet Portraits: Remember this special day forever by having a one-of-a-kind pet portrait made of your pet. Whether it is funny, serious, or artistic it will be a memory you can look onto forever.

Annual Vet Checkup: This might not be exactly the way your pet wants to spend this special day, but it will definitely give you peace of mind. After a quick checkup, offer him/her another one of these activities to make it up.

Take a Trip: Going out of town with your pet is a fun way to bond outside of the home. Whether you go down the road or somewhere exotic, there are many dog-friendly hotels that are more than happy to accommodate you and your pet.

Spend lots of time with your pets and have fun together. It doesn’t matter if your Valentine’s Day is simple or extravagant; the purpose is to show your pet how much you love and care….they’ll return your love tenfold.

A review of Best Friends Pet Resort in Orlando Florida

Best Friends in Orlando Florida is an all inclusive Pet Resort that features grooming, boarding and play facilities inside the world famous Walt Disney World. Disney World is known for its “extravagant attention to detail” and this 50,000 square foot pet resort doesn’t disappoint.

The outside of the pet resort is filled with bright green artificial grass, oversized fire hydrants and doggy bones and mesh gating so on-lookers could easily view what activities the dogs were getting into. Inside you will find the gift shop, resort front desk, and plenty of paw-shaped windows to peak in at animal activities. All of the resorts play facilities were easily accessible for pet owners to watch their pets run and play.

The main attraction at Best Friends Pet Resort must be the outside play area which includes 4,500 square feet of ball chasing, tail wagging and Frisbee throwing fun topped off with a water jet system exclusively for pups. What’s the best part you ask? All of these amenities conveniently surround the lobby for easy accessibility.

The lodging was setup in three different sections. One section was for dogs (which had standard suites and luxury suites), a kitty corner, and a small section for pocket-sized pets. A cool feature included with both dog suites is patio access. Patio access is usually (weather permitting) unlimited and if your pooch got the luxury suite, it’s private. The “kitty city” was wisely constructed in a separate wing of the facility far away from the sights and sounds of the dogs. Up to 24 kitties can room in either two room or four room condos and have no problems seeing Disney World through the large individual windows they are provided. The pocket pet section is relatively small, but gave a climate controlled “safe-haven” for hamsters, guinea pigs, and other smaller pets. Unfortunately, they do not accommodate for venomous snakes or primates of any kind.

The pet resort staff is friendly and responsible when handling pets and the check-in/pickup process is a breeze. Also, at the end of the trip guests are provided with a “report card” explaining what activities your pet engaged in and how their time was spent at Disney World. So next time you planning your trip to Disney World, don’t leave your pet behind!

Pet Travel Question: Can My Pet Fly to the UK in the Cabin?

can my pet fly to the UK in cabin

Pet Travel gets many people who ask the same question: can my pet fly to the UK in the cabin with me?

The answer is, unfortunately, no. Due to regulations imposed by all commercial airlines approved to fly live animals to the United Kingdom, there is no way you can fly into the the UK with a pet animal in the cabin of the aircraft unless it is a service or emotional support dog.  Your airline must have a program in place to support ESA or service dogs. This is a requirement of all commercial airlines. It is not a requirement of APHA or DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Affairs).

In the case of emotional support or service dogs, pre-approval must be obtained from the Animal Reception Center in the airport you are flying into. Inspection of your dog must be arranged in advance. The same applies for animals arriving by private jet.

Why can’t a pet fly in the cabin to the United Kingdom?

There are several reasons. The first is that it is easier to track a pet that is flying as air cargo. All live animals flying as air cargo are included in a “manifest” and fly under an Air Waybill. The airline must provide arrival information to the Animal Reception Center (ARC) prior to arrival.  In doing this,  DEFRA knows how many animals are arriving at a given time and can allocate their resources accordingly. 

Another reason for the air cargo requirement is the process once your pet lands in the UK. Either an agent or employees of the ARC will take your pet from the airline to the ARC building which is where you will claim it. Because the ARC is located on airport grounds and not at the airline terminal, secure transportation to the ARC is essential. This process began years ago when 6 months of quarantine was required for all cats, dogs and ferrets entering the United Kingdom.

What are the alternatives to air cargo?

pet friendly ferry to UK

Courtesy of Unsplash

One alternative to avoid this requirement would be sailing on a pet friendly ferry. You can fly with your pet in the cabin to Paris if it conforms to  airline requirements for in-cabin travel. Then, you can drive or take a train to Calais and then take a pet friendly ferry or Le Shuttle across the Chunnel. There are several ferry services that serve the northern coast of France including DFDS Seaways, P&O Ferries, Brittany Ferries, and Celtic Link Ferries (to Ireland). Remember, though, that many of these ferries do not accept pets in winter months and most of them require that your pet travel in a car. (DFDS out of Dieppe will accept foot traffic; however, your pet must travel in a kennel on deck.) 

Le Shuttle also requires that all pets and their owners travel in a vehicle. There are services like Folkestown Taxi and Pet Movers that will pick you and your pet up in Calais and take them on Le Shuttle for a fee.

You can also consider flying to Amsterdam, taking a train to Rotterdam and taking DFDS, Stena Lines or P&O to Hull. At this writing, DFDS will accept foot traffic and they have pet friendly cabins to reserve. Although the ride is longer, we hear it is very pleasant.\

You can find more information on pet friendly ferries here.

If you have further questions, please send us an email to info@pettravel.com or post them here. We always answer your questions promptly.

Pet Travel: Change in Requirements for Pets Traveling to Switzerland

News on pet travel to Switzerland: effective immediately, pets traveling to Switzerland from countries with a high incidence of rabies no longer require an import permit if they are traveling cargo.

Additionally, Switzerland is also enforcing the requirement that your pet’s ISO microchip must be implanted prior to vaccination. If your pet does not have a microchip, then your pet must be revaccinated after the microchip is inserted.