Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a statement saying that more airlines would be required to report on incidents involving animals. The current rule dictates that airlines are obligated to announce injuries, losses, and deaths of pets while traveling on aircraft. The updated law expands the existing conditions in order to hold the airline industry more accountable.
The New Standards
The updated version of the rule goes into effect on January 1, 2015 and expands airline reporting obligations. All U.S. carriers with scheduled service and aircraft of at least 60 seats need to announce issues with all cats and dogs, including pets and commercial shipments.
All relevant airlines will now be expected to file a yearly report containing the total number of animals that were transported, lost, injured, or deceased while in transit.
As U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, states, “This rule will provide consumers with a fuller picture of an airline’s safety record when it comes to transporting animals.”
How To Travel Safely With Pets
If you’re flying with pets, it’s important to check the airline’s restrictions and regulations on animals. Some airlines will allow people to take their pets on the plane as carry-ons, but with some size restrictions. Other airlines prefer for individuals to check pets in.
Pet owners should also have their animals checked by a veterinarian at least six weeks before the trip. Vets can diagnose any pre-existing conditions or discuss potential health concerns that should be considered before traveling. In some cases, the vet may advise against travel for the pet. As traveling can take a serious toll on animals, especially older animals, pet owners should adhere to their vet’s suggestions in order to ensure the health and safety of their animals.
If an animal is not able to travel in the cabin, passengers should make their pets familiar with their carriers. They should put the carrier in the house four weeks before the flight with toys and blankets. This way, the pet becomes accustomed to the carrier, and the carrier has the right smell and feel for the animal.
The more familiar the pet is with the carrier, the less likely it is to panic during the flight. Many incidents arise from animals being uncomfortable with their new surroundings. For instance, dogs may try to chew their way out of their carriers. Individuals should have food, water, toys, and other necessities in the pet carrier during the flight.
Pet owners should also keep in mind that they probably will not see their pets until baggage claim. Some individuals may want to consider working with companies that can help transport pets domestically and internationally. One such company, Pacific Pet Transport, helps transport everything from cats to bears.
For more information about traveling with pets, check out:
- How Traveling With Pets is Getting Easier
- The Dos and Don’ts of Traveling With a Pet
- Know Before You Go: How To Travel With Your Pet
By Justin Shamtoob for PeterGreenberg.com