Though we have arranged thousands of safe pet moves over the years, we here at PetRelocation still understand that the process of relocating a pet can be very stressful. Trusting others to take good care of your pets isn't easy, and we often receive questions about airlines in particular.
One concerned pet owner recently wrote us an email that we thought was worth discussing. In essence, she worried about recent news stories telling of pet deaths on airlines, and she wondered how she could ever feel comfortable facing the possibility of international travel with her dog in the future.
Specifically this pet owner asks, "How can people truly know that their dogs will be safe and comfortable during a flight?"
This is a great question. In the past we have discussed how to minimize the risks of pet travel and we continue to stand by a few basic bits of advice. It's important to plan well and plan early, talk to your vet about any health concerns you may have, take extra caution with snub-nosed breeds, choose a large, well-ventilated travel crate, and of course, consider enlisting expert help.
Even pet owners who take the process seriously and follow the above advice may still feel nervous, and we totally understand that. There are no guarantees in life, and the fact remains that there is some amount of risk involved in pet travel, human travel, and just about everything else we do.
We respect people who decide not to fly their pets, but if a permanent or long-term move exists on your horizon and you can't imagine leaving your furry family member behind, here are a few more things to remember.
In the year 2011, United flew more than 110,000 pets and reported two deaths (that's an incident rate of 0.00180 percent). Alaska Airlines flies more than 80,000 pets per year and in 2011 reported seven overall incidents and four pet deaths (incident rate = 0.00875 percent). This is not to diminish the heartbreaking events that do occur, but when considering pet travel it's important to remember that, by far, most pets fly safely. (Source: 'Few Pets Experience Trouble on Airlines' via Air Cargo World)
Pet deaths associated with United always make the news due to the PetSafe program’s policies, but these instances actually occur more often with other airlines. United is the only airline who has worked for years to develop safe pet practices, and many experienced pet owners and pet relocation companies choose to fly with them regularly for this reason.
We know through our communications with top PetSafe officials that situations that are a direct violation of United’s PetSafe protocols are thoroughly addressed. They, like us and like you, want pet travel to be as safe as possible.
The USDA investigates every commercial pet death on US soil to determine who is responsible. The USDA has the power to impose massive fines, as well as to prevent an airline from transporting pets should they decide it is warranted.
Pet relocation companies like ours are typically more demanding when it comes to safety and comfort, and our feedback can be important. We are sure to make our voices heard when it comes to setting standards for our pet moves, and hopefully this carries over to benefit all pet travelers.
Hopefully these details make it easier to form a bigger and more accurate picture of pet cargo travel as a whole. While it may not be realistic to make a 100% guarantee when it comes to pet travel, there are certainly ways to plan every step as safely as possible using all the resources and expert knowledge available.
Please contact us if you'd like to discuss your pet move with an experienced PetRelocation consultant. We'd be happy to talk!
Photo: Flickr/Vox Efx