Tag Archives: pet travel


Los Angeles Times  11 Jun 2017
by Karen Schwartz

Image result for pet sitting

Everything was set for my vacation when I realized my aging dog had too many medical issues to be boarded, sending me on a frantic search for a pet sitter.

My dog and home survived my eleventh-hour hire, but I wish I knew then what I know now.

“I’ve hired pet sitters, and I’ve hired a nanny. It’s the same process for me,” said Dr. Tim Hackett, an emergency and critical care vet and director of the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo.  “Make sure they have good training, references and know what to do in a crisis.”

To begin the search, ask for recommendations from your vet, dog trainer or local Humane Society office or check databases for the National Assn. of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International.

You can find other options by searching online or asking friends and family.  To begin, start with a telephone interview and ask lots of questions.

“Are they familiar with common problems that dogs or cats may run into while their owners are away?” Hackett said.

Determine whether the sitter will stay overnight or stop by once or twice a day, and discuss specifics such as the frequency and duration of walks.

“I know people who, as they’ve grown their dog-sitting business, they watch two or three [homes] at a time,” said Jennifer Holmes of Fort Collins, a pet sitter and vet technician who is trained in animal CPR.  “I do one at a time, because I think the quality of care is better; they can have my full attention.”

Invite the sitter to meet your pet and study how they interact.  Discuss expectations, such as whether the sitter will get your mail, and your house rules, including whether the caregiver can partake of your food or drink.

I learned an important lesson when our return flight was delayed and the sitter replied to my text by saying she had left my house.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” she said of my dog.

“Fine” was a relative term.  Besides the accident he had while being cooped up, he was hungry when I finally got home.

It’s imperative to have a friend as backup.  Make sure your sitter has the number and that both have keys to your house.

Include these details in a contract.  Samples can be downloaded from the Internet (search “pet sitter contract”), but customize it with clear instructions, adding contact information for you, your vet and the emergency clinic.

Finally, leave a medical directive with the caregiver that outlines how much treatment you want for your dog or cat if it were injured or ill and how much you would be willing to spend.

I first heard about pet medical directives when I hired Holmes as a dog sitter after my initial less-than-satisfying experience with someone else.

She insisted we draft one before leaving town, explaining that her 12-year-old dog died the day after she flew to the West Indies. She had the foresight to leave a directive with the vet and had told the couple watching her dog what to do.

It made it easier on the sitters, and Holmes said that having her wishes carried out helped her find closure.

I now have a network of experienced pet sitters whom I trust, and we all have the same expectations.  That makes going on vacation and coming home that much more relaxing.


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Beloved Pets Are Dying on Routine Flights. Here’s How to Keep Your Pet Safe.


Imagine if you had to endure a flight, but you had no idea what a plane was?  There are constant scary noises, scary changes in pressure and scary shaking.  What we as humans hate about flying and traveling has to be ten times worse for our pets who don’t know what’s going on.  While our pets are extensions of our families, most airlines see and treat them like cargo objects.

This type of disservice is injuring and killing beloved and healthy pets aboard household name airlines.

Flying With Pets Is Risky Business

As reported in The Seattle Times, since 2010, 62 seemingly healthy animals have been injured, lost or discovered dead on Alaska Airline flights.  Even though a concerned passenger tried to save Harley the Bulldog through cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Harley died at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  At Boston Logan International Airport, Daunte the Cat escaped from his kennel; Daunte was struck dead while on a ramp vehicle.

Flying isn’t enjoyable for any species.  The director of pet care issue for the Humane Society of the U.S., Kirsten Theisen, told Smithsonian Magazine that she recommends leaving pets at home with someone you trust.  As pet-friendly as an airline appears, airline conditions aren’t always safe or comfortable for pets, so check the airline’s website for more information.

Certain breeds have no business flying.  According to Smithsonian Magazine, many airlines refuse to carry brachycephalic dogs and cats.  Cute pets with snub- or pug-noses have breathing problems because of their short noses.  They also don’t seem to handle stressful conditions, like a plane, well and are vulnerable to “in-flight suffocation.”

From 2005 to 2011, of the reported 189 flight-related deaths, 98 were brachycephalic breeds.  Brachycephalic dogs include: English bulldogs, pugs, chow chows, boxers and many more breeds.  Brachycephalic cat breeds include: Burmese, Persian, Himalayan and exotic short-hair.  On one occasion, a flight attendant told a pug guardian to keep the pug under the seat for a 45-minute delay.  The pug began panting in its small carrier under the seat and died.

Alaska Airlines isn’t even the worst airline offender.  The Seattle Times reports that Delta Airlines wins that title.  The nation’s busiest airline reported 74 pet-related incidents to the Unites States Department of Transportation (DOT).  But Alaska Airlines did have more pet-related incidents in the first seven months of 2014, even though Delta Airlines has six times more “passenger traffic.”  The reasons are still unclear, but some suspect that it has to do with geography.  Alaska Airlines services the state almost exclusively; there are few options for passengers to travel with their pets in and out of Alaska.  To accommodate everyone and their pets, Alaska Airlines might be accepting more animals than the airline can handle.

Ironically, Alaska Airlines does try to make the experience enjoyable for pets.  While airlines like JetBlue, Southwest and U.S. Airways say no to pets, even as cargo, Alaska welcomes them with their “pet-friendly” policies, e.g. the Fur-st Class Care.  Bobbie Egan, a spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines, told The Seattle Times that the “company ferries some 80,000 pets annually” and that airline employees follow federal guidelines because transporting a pet is like “transporting a family member.”

How to Keep Pets Safe While Traveling

Pets can die or suffer injuries on airplanes.  The number of casualties seems small in context of the two million animals who travel on commercial flights every year. Understand that flying with pets does carry a risk.  If you have to travel with your pet, then follow these tips to keep them safe:

  • Consult your vet to determine if your pet is healthy enough to fly.
  • Avoid flying during extreme weather, especially heat.
  • Fly non-stop as much possible.  Know the difference between non-stop and direct!
  • Check if you can purchase a passenger cabin fare for your pet.
  • Remind handlers in baggage hold that there’s a living being in there and ask that your pet be in a well-ventilated space with water.

If you’re thinking of traveling with your pet — whether by plane, car, ship or train — the Humane Society of the United States has extensive tips on how to keep your pet safe.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/beloved-pets-are-dying-on-routine-flights-heres-how-to-keep-your-pet-safe.html#ixzz3F0c657fS

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