On the ground and in the sky, make travel safe for your pet

by Sojos | April 23, 2013

When nightmare stories about pets dying on airplanes make the news, it’s enough to make any pet owner weary of flying with Fido or Boots. However, there are situations in which you need to transport your pet over a long distance – so what’s an owner to do?

The first and perhaps most obvious answer is to drive with your pet. If you have plenty of time, road tripping with your dog can be a blast. But what about those who are making a cross-country move and fast, or a travel emergency requires you to get on a flight? In those cases, D.I.Y. driving just won’t do. A pet transportation service could be a better choice than sending your dog to the cargo hold of a plane.

Pet transportation or shipping services make a business out of carefully taking your furry family members from Point A to Point B. Many companies have been in business for years and are staffed by animal lovers with lots of experience – there’s even a professional organization, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA), which offers a directory of transporters, both ground and air.

If you decide to hire a ground transportation company, there are a number of questions you should ask, in addition to requesting references, such as:

* How often are the dogs let out for bathroom breaks and exercise?

* Can you administer medications or treat animals with medical issues?

* Can you accommodate special feeding instructions, like preparing a raw dog food diet?

* How do you maintain contact with owners during transport?

* How do you deal with extreme temperatures?

* Does your company have emergency procedures in place, and what are they?

Traveling by air with your pet isn’t always unsafe, either, especially when you can have your pet right next to you. Most airlines allow passengers to bring a cat or dog on board as a carry-on for an additional fee. Since most kennels allowed in cabins are relatively small, it’s only an option for travelers with cats or very small dogs. Check with the specific airline you’re flying to find out the exact dimensions that are allowed – there may be some flexibility with soft-sided carriers that can bend under the seat, as well. Prices and policies vary by airline, so talk to them before you buy a ticket, or check online resources like

Keep in mind that you’ll need to carry on more than just your pet himself – bring a collapsible container for water and some food and treats in case he wants a midflight snack as much as you do. Sojos is ideal for air travel – you can go through security with it dry, and then add water before you get to the gate (or even once you’re on board).

Do a little homework before you hit the road and both you and your pet will arrive in your destination healthy and happy.