Making Pet Travel Safer

For the millions of people across the country who own one or more pets, summertime can be a bit of a problem. People have to go on vacations. What are they to do with their pets? Bringing pets along can be expensive; and putting pets up at up pet hotels can be even more expensive. People considering bringing their pets along on their vacations are spooked by news of how risky pet travel can be?a half-dozen puppies being transported on an American Airlines flight recently died of heat stroke and dehydration. There have been other reports as well of this kind. And anyway, each plane ride for a pet can end up costing $150. At the very minimum.

Not that leaving your pets home seems like much of an option; boarding services and pet sitters start at $50 a day. And these options don’t happen to be completely safe either. For instance, two years ago, a New York City pet boarding service was sued for killing a dog they were in charge of. Apparently they placed the dog in a cargo van with no air conditioning. So if you do wish to take your pets with you on your trip, here’s what you need to know about your options in pet travel.

At least 20% of America doesn’t trust its pets to pet care services. They take their pets with them when they travel. Cruises, trains and buses ban pets on board outright. So your only options happen to be getting wherever you want to go by car or by airplane.

Travel of any kind stresses pets out a great deal. Most airlines, before they will accept a pet, insist on a health certificate and documentary evidence of vaccinations having been done; and they need one that’s very recent too. But even if they didn’t want those, it would be a good idea to visit a vet before any kind of trip. You need to personally know that your pet is up to all the stress involved.

Air cargo isn’t the best pet travel option. In fact, the cargo hold is where most accidents occur. The Department of Transportation gives you a great monthly chart of how many pets each airline in the country manages to kill. Look for the airlines that manage to achieve zero deaths, and take it from there. Airplane cargo holds do come with some amount of their conditioning. But it’s usually not much. Airlines will usually not accept pets when it’s very hot or very cold. Whatever the airlines?policies may be, make sure that you don’t personally take your pet out when the temperatures are extreme.

For people who really want to be careful, they could try Pet Airways, the only service of its kind in the country. They serve about a dozen cities across the country and they carry your pets right in the main passenger cabin. Pets are their only passengers.

You, A Pet, And Apartment Living

There is an old saying, “Look before you leap”. This is a very true statement when you live in an apartment and you are considering pet ownership. Ask yourself, “Am I really ready to take on the commitment of pet ownership and the responsibility while living in an apartment?”

Both dogs and cats need exercise and they need to enjoy fresh air. Outdoor DAILY exercise is a must for dogs. Cats need a scratching post and/or a cat tree. Exercising your pet is not just a good suggestions, it is a must.

You need to realize that you are taking on at least a 12-15 year commitment if you want a dog or cat. They need daily care, not just when it is convenient for you to take care of them.

The first thing you need to do is check with the apartment management to see what their rules and regulations are regarding pets. If they do accept pets, read the contract thoroughly. There will be fees attached to dog or cat ownership. There may be just a one time pet deposit, or their may be the deposit plus an additional monthly assessment.

When looking for a pet friendly apartment, check the location of the individual apartment for pet safety, and for outdoor space. If the apartment is high with a balcony, could your dog or cat fall off or jump from the space? Are their pet friendly walking trails for dog or dog parks near by? Always take poop bags with you. There is nothing more disgusting that seeing dog poop right where you want to enjoy being with your dog.


Dogs cannot and should not be crated all day, no matter their age, no matter if it is a home or apartment. Crates should not be used as punishment. You need to consider where they can eliminate. Puddle pads can be used in an apartment, but you also need to find space outdoors for them.

Dogs need both mental stimulation and physical exercise. If they don’t get both, they will get bored. A bored dog is not a good dog. He will become destructive. You will consider this bad behavior, which it is, but you can be part to blame for not meeting their needs.

A dog’s energy level is most important and this can vary within breeds and litters. Their size is also of importance. Too large of a dog in a small confined area is not showing kindness to them, and it will give you frustration. Also, your apartment management may have dog breed requirements.

Dogs instinctively need to chew. You need to provide them with something acceptable on which to chew. If they aren’t given anything to chew, he may find cords, furniture legs, or shoes to enjoy this craving.

If you have to be gone for long periods of time during the day, you may consider two options: (1) a doggy day care where they can become socially adjusted; or (2) a dog sitter. Your 3rd choice could be to wait until you time is freer to care for a dog.

Obedience training is another commitment to consider. Again this will take your time and consistency, but the time and effort will result in a pet that you will enjoy being around. It will be well worth your effort.

Dogs need companionship, human love, and interactive play time and exercise time. They do not want and should not get ignored. That is not the object of pet ownership.


Cats make an ideal indoor, apartment pet. They like to play, and are very curious creatures. Many like to climb on shelves, in drawers, or hide in closets.

Cats like heights, especially when young to middle age. Older cats often cannot jump as high as they once did. However, they can still climb. That’s another reason a cat tree is so ideal.

Cats will scratch. It is as natural for them to scratch as a dog is to chew. If you don’t provide a place for them to scratch, they are innovative, they will find their own place to scratch. However, you may not appreciate what they find to scratch on. They will find furniture, drapes or carpeting. Don’t force them to upset you; provide for their needs.

Then, there is the litter box issue. This is a very necessary need. True, you don’t have to take her outside for her to relieve herself, but keeping her litter box extremely clean DAILY, will eliminate unpleasant odors, disease, and accidents around the apartment because she doesn’t want to use a dirty litter box.

Do you like using a dirty public bathroom? She won’t like to use a dirty, unpleasant, smelly litter box either. I’m sure you keep your bathroom clean, and she wants the same. Cats are very clean animals.

All dogs and cats shed, so vacuuming frequently will maintain a healthy place for you and your pets in which to live. Maintaining cleanliness will also be a welcoming place for family and friends.

As a courtesy, tell your neighbors you have or are going to get a dog or cat. Introduce your pet to your neighbors, if they are interested. When they know you have a pet, and should your pet escape the confines of your apartment, they many help you find them.

Pets can be confining to you. You may not have the time necessary, so be realistic when approaching the decision of pet ownership. Too many pets are abandoned or given to shelters because they just don’t work out, because they just weren’t what the pet owner expected.

Pets, however, can be one of the best decisions you ever make. They can help reduce your stress and sometimes even help to reduce your blood pressure. Developing love and companionship with a pet may even allow them to become a very good friend, one with whom you can share your inner most thoughts. Pets have a very good listening ear, and they don’t gossip.

Love your dog or cat. Show them every consideration by meeting their needs. Meeting their needs will eliminate a lot of frustration. And, do not overlook obedience training for a new puppy.