Keep Your Pet Safe on the Fourth of July

July4 fireworks

July 4th is a day for celebration for all Americans. This day is filled with barbeques, picnics, parades, loud music, laughing, and most of all, fireworks. As with every family/friendly gathering, your pet will want to take part! It is important to keep in mind that the 4th of July can present dangerous and stressful situations for your pet.

The Moore family of Maitland, Florida was visiting friends for only a few hours when they came home to an empty house. Their two year old German Shepherd was gone. The Moores believe that their dog, who wasn’t normally scared of thunder or other loud noises, panicked from the cumulative effects of the fireworks, the excited voices outside, and being left alone inside the house. The dog had frantically broken through the patio door and dug a hole under the fence to search for her family.

The Moore?s story isn?t unique. Dogs and cats often become frightened and frantic by the noise and commotion of Independence Day. According to The Humane Society of America, animal shelters across the country are accustomed to seeing “July 4th” pets?dogs and cats who run off during fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control officers or good samaritans who take them to the safety of a local shelter. It happens more than any other time of the year!

Fortunately with a little planning and forethought, you can have a memorable Independence Day knowing your pet is safe and sound. Here is a list of precautions to take to insure your pet is protected:

Get some exercise. Before the merriment starts, take your dog (or cat) for a nice long walk and/or play session. Exercise may be helpful in getting your pet to relax during the party.

Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays. This may sound like fun, but the loud noises and bright lights may aggravate even the most stable of pets.

Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects?even death?in a few short minutes. Also, your pet will likely pant more when nervous. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, and they also provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.

Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death. Make sure that your fences are not in need of any repair and you do not see signs of holes under them.

If you know that your pet is seriously stressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before the holiday for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety they will experience during fireworks displays.

Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area.?Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you’ve removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them company while you’re attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.

Watch the doors. If you have guests over, advise them to be careful when opening doors to prevent your pet from slipping out unnoticed.

Watch out for signs of distress like change in behavior, lack of interaction, excessive grooming, labored panting, shaking, drooling, crying, barking, spraying, scratching, nausea, aggression or loss of bladder control or appetite.

Consider boarding your pet for the night if you will be out late.

Make sure your pets are microchipped or wearing identification tags so if they do escape, they can be easily identified. Remember to contact your local animal control facility quickly and inquire about your pet with a detailed description. Keep a photo of your pet as it will be helpful for officials and neighbors that may assist in finding your cat or dog.

If you plan to go away for the holiday weekend,?read our information on traveling with pets.

A bit of common sense and consideration can go a long way in ensuring a safe and happy holiday for both you and your pet.

Preparing your Pet for a Hurricane

With hurricane season in full swing, it is important to make a plan when preparing your pet for a hurricane. Natural disasters occur all over the world, and whether it be a flash flood, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, you will need extra arrangements made to insure your pet’s safety.

Get what you will need in advance

A Pet Survival Kit should be prepared using a waterproof, covered container. It will not take long and will save you time to make other preparations to evacuate. The kit should include:

  • Food and water for 2 weeks
  • Water and food bowls
  • 2 weeks worth of any medications your pet may be taking
  • A current photo of you with your pet in the case of separation.
  • Extra sturdy leashes and collars with ID tags
  • Puppy training pads in case your dog cannot go outside due to severe weather
  • Cleaning supplies
  • A pet crate or pet carrier large enough for your pet to stand and turn around and pads
  • Treats and toys
  • Litter box, scoop and litter (cats)
  • Blankets, bedding or other comfort items
  • Copies of your pet’s rabies certificate and other health certificates or tests sealed in a zip-lock bag or waterproof container
  • Written info about feeding schedule, medications, behavior issues and the name and number of your veterinarian
  • Cat Litter and portable litter box (if necessary)

In advance of the storm, contact your local office of emergency management to find a pet friendly shelter. Know that shelters will require that you have a reservation for your pet. You can also make a reservation at a pet friendly hotel; however,  you will need to do this early as hotels will fill up fast. Ask friends out of the way of the storm whether they would have room for you and your pet if you needed to evacuate. If all else fails, contact your veterinarian’s office for the possibility of boarding during the storm. 

If you are taking your dog or cat to a pet friendly shelter, you will be required to provide a crate or carrier to contain it. If your pet is not used to  being contained, work with them to get them acclimated. More info about training your pet to be in a crate or carrier.

Identify your pet with a microchip

Get your pet microchipped. If, for any reason, you are separated from your pet, a microchip is one sure way they can be identified. Be sure and register your contact information with the chip’s manufacturer. There are also other websites that offer free microchip registration.

Schedule a vet visit 

Shelters will require proof of updated rabies, bordatella and other vaccinations. If your pet is due, schedule a visit to have this done. Get certificates for their vaccinations.?This is an important step in preparing your pet for a hurricane because no boarding facility will accept an unvaccinated pet.

Keep your pet clean and groomed

Before leaving your home with your dog, keeping them clean and free of? parasites will make things easier for both of you. Keep their nails trimmed as well. Shelters will appreciate that as well.

Plan an evacuation route and shelter from the storm

Besides an emergency kit for your pet, planning an evacuation route for you and your pet is crucial. When your family includes a pet, evacuating will involve extra planning. If you plan to stay nearby, check your local emergency shelter to see if they will accept pets. If they do, you will most likely have to pre-register in advance. If your local shelter does not accept pets, be prepared to check neighboring cities outside of the projected path of the storm. Finding pet friendly hotels or other accommodations well in advance of a natural disaster will help ease the stress.

Whether you plan on evacuating or staying at home, it is crucial that you don?t leave your pet alone. ?Abandoning your pet is not an option,” emphasizes Lisa Mendheim, Public Education Coordinator, Broward County Animal Care. “It is cruel and against the law.”

Staying at Home

If you decide to ride out the storm at home, identify a place in your home with no exterior walls. A bathroom or closet may be suitable. Bring your pets inside before the weather turns. Relocate your pet’s kennel or crate in the room. Remove any toxic cleaners or other substances that could interest them. Be prepared to lose electricity and have a battery operated radio handy. Charge all of your electronics in advance.?

In short, plan, plan, plan. Pay attention to the weather and know ahead of time whether you will need to evacuate or stay home. Reservations at shelters, kennels, hotels and stables must be made in advance, so make your storm decisions early – your animals are depending on you to keep them safe.

We would love to hear from you! Do you have a personal experience preparing your pet for a hurricane? Post your experiences in our blog or forum.

Browse our pet articles for more interesting information about caring for your pet.

New! Pet Travel Forum – everything about traveling with a pet. We need to hear from you!

We have recently launched the Pet Travel forum, and we want you to be a part of it. Have you traveled with your pet recently? Our visitors would love to hear about your experiences, whether by air, sea, or auto. Stayed in a great pet friendly hotel? Prefer a particular airline’s pet policy? Have suggestions for preparing your pet for travel?

You can help others who are planning their pet travels! Click here to help us provide a comprehensive resource for pet travelers all over the world! We thank you for your help.

Pet Travel to Europe – changes in requirements

Pet travel to the European UnionStarting in July, 2011, all EU countries will require that your pet have a microchip and all documentation supporting the microchip number to permit entry. Some EU countries will accept all major brands of microchips and others will only accept the 15 digit ISO microchips. If your pet is micro chipped with a microchip other than a 15 digit ISO microchip, it is recommended that you carry your own microchip scanner. Additionally, EU 998 Regulations do not call for blood titre test for pets entering Europe from a third country. Three members of the EU have exemptions from this regulation: UK, Malta, and Sweden. This exemption expires next year and it remains to be seen whether it will be extended.

ISO microchips and microchip scanners are available at More information on pet microchips

For more details about taking a pet to any country in the EU, visit our pet passport page at

UPDATE: updated information on bringing your pet to Europe.

Pet Friendly Hotels and Attractions in Orlando, Florida

The kids are getting out of school and thoughts of summer vacation with the family are looming. Visit pet friendly Orlando for a fun, fabulous vacation! Although known throughout the world for its theme parks, Orlando also offers first-rate tourist attractions, world-class outdoor activities, and a vibrant artistic and cultural community. The area?s scenic landscape and abundance of pet friendly hotels and resorts provide a welcoming atmosphere for people traveling with their furry companions. As a result, leading travel groups have long recognized Orlando as a premier pet friendly destination, with AAA naming it one of the top ten ?Most Accommodating Cities? for travelers with pets.

When most people hear the word Orlando, Disney is the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is a complete vacation destination in itself. It includes four major theme parks?Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney?s Animal Kingdom, and Disney?s Hollywood Studios (formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios)?as well as the water parks Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Walt Disney World is so much more than a theme park with adrenaline-inducing rides, however. The resort also offers superb accommodations; casual and fine dining; exciting entertainment; terrific shopping; luxurious spas; and championship golf and other outdoor activities. Although Walt Disney World does not allow pets at the resort, pets can stay on-site in air-conditioned kennels while guests enjoy its theme parks. NEW! Beginning August 27, pet owners can bring their pet to a brand new pet care facility, Best Friends Pet Resort, across from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. The pet resort can accommodate up to 270 dogs and 30 cats for both daytime play and overnight boarding.

Even with all that Disney has to offer, no trip to Orlando is complete without a visit to the area?s other theme parks. SeaWorld Orlando,
which includes SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica?provides a unique look at the wonders of the oceans, with up-close animal encounters and thrilling water rides. Also not to be missed, Universal Orlando Resort features two world-class theme parks where movie sets come alive, including Universal Studios Orlando and Universal?s Islands of Adventure. Universal?s newest offering is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, set to open on June 18, 2010. Here, non-wizarding guests can experience Harry Potter?s weird and wonderful world of magic in attractions that are virtually identical to Harry Potter movie sets. Pets are not allowed at SeaWorld or Universal Studios parks, but air-conditioned kennels are available on-site.

Pet friendly Orlando may be most famous for its theme parks, but it also offers an abundance of stimulating outdoor and cultural activities. With its year round warm weather and world-class golf facilities, Orlando has evolved into a well-known golf vacation destination. Other exciting outdoor activities include hang gliding, hot air ballooning, bi-plane rides, kayaking, airboat rides, horseback rides, bicycling, eco-tours, and snorkeling with manatees. Visitors will appreciate the rich diversity of cultural opportunities in Orlando, from visual and performing arts to museums and pet friendly parks. If your pet needs a reprieve after all the sightseeing, you can take him to romp and play in one of Orlando?s many off-leash dog parks.

Shopping is a favorite activity in Orlando, with numerous upscale malls, outlet centers, and trendy boutiques from which to choose. Many visitors enjoy strolling and window shopping with their pets, and some pet friendly shops may even provide water or treats. After dark, downtown Orlando comes alive with its thriving nightlife. Visitors can hang out in a nightclub playing the latest indie sounds, drink martinis in a trendy bar, or check out a concert featuring a top artist. There?s something for everyone.

Many pet friendly Orlando hotels and resorts go out of their way to make pets feel welcome. Special amenities may include food and water bowls; toys and treats; leashes and scratching posts; and pooper scoopers and litter boxes. Pet walking and pet sitting services can be arranged through the hotels? concierges, and some hotels provide a map of area dog-walking routes and pet friendly businesses. Pet friendly dining options are plentiful as well, as Orlando?s inviting weather lends itself to outdoor dining where pets are often welcome.

So what are you waiting for? Make your reservations at a pet friendly hotel today and prepare for a fun-filled magical experience of world-class theme parks and exciting activities. Orlando awaits you.

Find pet friendly hotels in Orlando.

Costs for taking your pet to England

taking a pet to EnglandWe receive many comments regarding the costs of taking a pet to England. Every pet flying into England must arrive as manifest (air) cargo. You cannot fly into England with a pet in the cabin or as checked baggage unless it is a service dog or an emotional support animal entering the UK directly from the United States. This is a rule of commerical airlines; it is not a requirement of the United Kingdom.

Here is the procedure as to how your pet will be handled once arriving in England.

If you are flying into London Heathrow (LHR) with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, an agent will collect your pet from the aircraft and take it to the Animal Reception Center where you will pick it up. If you are flying into Heathrow on any other approved airline, a handler from the Heathrow Animal Reception Center (HARC) will collect your pet and take it to the HARC. The fee for an agent will vary per agent used. Estimate for an HARC employee is ?166 per hour. These estimates are for London Heathrow only..

Consignment fee for mammals entering the UK at Heathrow is ?177 per animal for up to 24 hours of holding time for cats, dogs or ferrets arriving from outside of the EU. Additional animals are? ?42. An additional minimum fee of? ?210 will be charged for animals staying at the HARC for more than 24 hours.

For mammals entering Heathrow from another EU Member State,?a handling fee of ?42? per animal is charged in?addition to the collection charge of ?83.

Consignment fee for assistance dogs checked at the airline is??210.

Any pet landing in the UK without an OK To Forward from the arrival airline will be charged an additional ?630. This document is the responsibility of your agent to obtain from the transporting airline.

There is an EU Border Inspection Fee of about ?76.00.

DEFRA imposes a fee for their services at the ARC of about??250.00

If you want to leave your pet’s crate at Heathrow, there will be a disposal charge of??15.

You should expect the entry fees to be between ?400 and ?450; however, some of these fees may be included in your pet’s transport price. Check with your airline to confirm.

Prices good for 1st April 2018 ? 31st March 2019

UPDATE: 2020 – We have received reports that expenses have increased to approximately ?600.

There will also be Value Added Tax (VAT) charges due when entering England. They will amount to 20% of the value of your pet’s breed + the cost of their transport. The minimum charged is ?70 for a cat and ?100 for a dog. If you are visiting the United Kingdom, the VAT will be refunded when you and your pet depart. If you are moving to the United Kingdom, then you will need to file a Transfer of Residency (ToR) form with England’s custom department (HRMC). Your VAT will be refunded to you as soon as the form is processed. More details on filing the Transfer of Residency Form.

Please note that these charges are being updated and are subject to change. Costs for taking your pet to England certainly needs to be budgeted. Similarly, so does preparation as the rabies titer test needs to be done 3 months in advance of travel for cats, dogs and ferrets entering from high-rabies countries.

More information on our taking your pet to England.

Airline Pet Travel: Delta Cargo Announces New Summer Live Animal Program

cat in cargo crateUPDATE: Note that, as of October 1, 2016, Delta Cargo will no longer accept snub-nosed pets of any kind (see list in step 6). Delta will also discontinue their Summer Live Animal Program and temperature restrictions (10 F/-12 C and 85F/29 C) will be imposed for all cities that Delta flies. Additionally, Delta will no longer accept pets traveling as cargo on flights with an average duration of over 12 hours.

Find Delta Airlines current pet policies.

Airline Pet Carriers and Cargo Pet Crates – Choosing the Right One for Your Pet

If you and your pet are planning to ride in the car or fly in the cabin of an aircraft, the first thing you need to do is to is to measure your pet. If your pet is at most 18 inches from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and between 12 and 14 inches high from top of head to the ground, there is a good possibility that your pet can travel in the cabin with you if your airline’s pet policies allow it. If your pet is larger than that, they will have to travel as checked baggage. Very large dogs, unaccompanied pets or pets flying to the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or South Africa will need to travel as air cargo.

In Cabin Pet Travel

Unless your pet must fly as air cargo, contact the reservation department of the airline and notify them that you are flying with a pet. Most airlines allow only a limited number of pets in the cabin, so make your reservations early. Ask the airlines the dimension under the seat in front of you on the plane that services your route so you know what space your have to work with. If you do not have a flexible airline pet carrier, you need to get one. The airlines will require that your pet can stand up and turn around in the carrier. Do not stuff your pet into a carrier that is too small. The airlines will not accept your pet on the plane.

Additionally, the carrier must have a waterproof bottom and plenty of ventilation. The fasteners and zippers must close securely. An absorbent pad?or two are really a must, especially for long trips. A high quality, padded shoulder strap is a big help, especially if you have other carry-on items. Your pet carrier will be considered by the agent as a piece of carry-on luggage.

If your pet is too large to travel in the cabin, but not over about 70 (or so) pounds, your pet can fly as accompanied checked baggage if your airline offers this class of service. You will check them in at the ticket desk where luggage is checked. Your pet will fly in an area of the airplane which is temperature and pressure controlled just like the cabin. You will need an IPATA compliant cargo pet crate.

– Your crate should be made of sturdy plastic and large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around.
– The fasteners must be secure and many airlines require steel nuts and bolts instead of plastic fasteners.
– The crate must have adequate ventilation in the sides, and all four sides must be ventilated on international flights.
– Live Animal stickers with writing at least one inch tall must be present on the sides and top of the crate.
– Food and water bowls must be attached to the door of the crate and accessible to baggage handlers.
– The lock on the door of the crate must be a spring lock mechanism that cannot be opened easily. (Many pets are clever escape artists!)
– No wheels are allowed on any crates.
– Unless the crate is of a medium size or smaller, handles are not allowed.
– On international flights, a health certificate must be attached to the outside of the crate for inspection.
Pet absorbent pads are a good idea to keep your pet dry and smelling good.

Here is information on how to measure your pet for a pet crate.

Cargo Travel

If your pet is over 70 pounds (for most airlines) you will need to make a reservation with the cargo department of the airline. Ask them the location of the cargo department of the airport you are traveling from because you will need to drop off your pet at that location. Your pet can travel on the same flight as you and will be in the same compartment as if they were traveling as checked baggage. The crate they will travel in will be subject to the same requirements as those above. If a giant airline cargo pet crate does not fit your pet, you need to contact the airline for a carrier or the IPATA regulations for crates for larger pets or contact us at [email protected] for custom crates..

Whether your pet travels in an airline pet carrier or a cargo pet crate, be sure and give your pet time to be acclimated to the carrier. Keep the pet carrier out where your pet can become familiar with it. Put a toy or treat inside and always keep the door open. Don’t forget lots of phrase when your pet goes inside. If possible, take your pet for a trip to the dog park or someplace fun in the carrier or crate before your trip. Doing all of these things ahead of time will make the trip far smoother when travel day arrives.

More information on airline pet carriers and cargo pet crates.

Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals

pet friendly vacation rentalWhen planning a vacation, what is brought to mind is usually a pet friendly hotel or perhaps a resort. However, if taking a pet along, then consider a pet friendly vacation rental, especially if you plan to stay in one place for a while.

Vacation rentals generally come equipped like a home with one or more bedrooms, sheets, towels, an equipped kitchen and some degree of privacy. Depending on the length of your stay, your vacation rental may include maid services.

There are basically three types of pet friendly vacation rentals:

1. Places where a group of cottages or cabins are grouped around some recreational facility, generally either a lake or a river. You will find lots to do with your pet at these places including hiking, boating, tubing, swimming, tennis and horse back riding.

2. Mountain cabins generally offer more isolation, but still allow for a perfect family vacation with a pet, as there will be recreational activities nearby.

3. Private homes are available that vary from a small home, either in a city or in the countryside, to palatial beach front homes that may include servants, private pools and chefs and more.

When staying in a pet friendly vacation rental, take good care of the furnishings. If your pet is allowed on the furniture at home, don’t forget to bring extra sheets to protect the couch! A little prevention will save a lot of time when it is time to leave. offers thousands of pet friendly vacation rentals, especially in Europe. Search for pet friendly vacation rentals. For more information, click here.

Airline Pet Travel in the Cabin

airline pet travel in cabinAirline pet travel in the cabin of the aircraft does not have to be stressful if you follow some simple rules. First of all, you must make reservations for your pet to travel with you over the phone with a representative of the airline. All airlines permit only a limited number of pets on board, and there will be a cost for you to bring your pet in the cabin with you. Be sure and make your pet’s reservation before you make your own.

Secondly, does your pet exceed the size and weight limits to travel in the cabin? Remember that airlines require that your pet be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. Stuffing your pet into an airline compliant pet carrier that is too small will almost guarantee that neither one of you will get on the plane. Normally, a pet that exceeds 18″ from the tip of? nose to the base of the tail and 10″ high will be too large to travel in the cabin except in First Class or overseas flights. You can always call the airlines and ask what the measurements are under the seat in front of you on the aircraft that serves your route. This will help in deciding whether your pet’s carrier will fit.

Be sure to choose an airline compliant pet carrier. This carrier has a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation. A?good pet pad is a must, especially for long flights. Many pets will eliminate out of nervousness, so it is best to have several layers of absorbent material in the carrier.

The closures must be secure so that the pet cannot escape. (Here are some beautiful zipper locks that accomplish this.) You must not take your pet out of the carrier for any reason during the flight, however, you should be able to slide the carrier out so that it will be in between your legs when the plane is in the air. Pack some favorite toys or something with your scent on it in the carrier as these things will comfort your pet.

A few days before airline pet travel, take your pet to their veterinarian for a health check up. The reason for this is to be sure that your pet has no fleas, ticks, or diseases. This is becoming important for in cabin travel because many people are allergic to fleas. Additionally, get your pet bathed and groomed. A clean pet is a comfortable pet and odor will not be a problem.

More than 4-6 hours before flying, you should feed your pet a light meal and water. Just prior to getting in the car to go to the airport, take a long walk and give your pet plenty of time to do their business and stretch their legs. Put your pet in their carrier before getting into the car and don’t remove them at the airport unless you are taking them to an airport dog park. Pets can be unpredictable in strange environments. Additionally, you will want to keep your pet calm prior to the flying on the airplane. If your pet is skittish, take along a treat and a natural herb relaxer to give them prior to the flight. This will only help keep them calm and should not affect their breathing in any way.

Do not feed them on the airplane if possible. Oftentimes, feeding will encourage bowel movement, and that would be very inconvenient for your both. If you are on a long flight, dip your finger in a little water and let your pet lick it through a small opening in the carrier for hydration. Again, do not remove your pet from the carrier as the flight attendant will ask you to put them back immediately.

When you reach your destination, try to find a quiet place and be sure and attach your pet’s leash before taking them out of the bag. Your pet will be happy to walk down the concourse with you. Get them outside as soon as possible so they can relieve themselves. As for cats, a portable kitty litter tray and an empty corner of the concourse could help. Be sure and keep them on a leash at all times when in and around the airport. Feed them only when you have arrived at your pet friendly hotel or other accommodations and no more car or bus rides are necessary.

Thousands of pets travel by air each day. Yours can do the same without a lot of fuss if you follow the airline rules and do a bit of planning beforehand.

More information on airline pet policies.