14 01, 2020

Interpreting Your New Puppy’s Behavior

By |2020-01-07T16:05:11-07:00January 14th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

The holiday season brings gifts, and for many lucky families, that gift comes in the form of a new furry friend. According to the Animal Humane Society, the months leading up to the winter holidays are some of the most popular for pet adoptions. Many people have entered the new year with a new puppy, some as first-time pet parents. If you’re an inexperienced pet parent, interpreting new puppy behavior can be difficult. What’s the difference between play and aggression? Why is he walking in circles? Why can’t I stop her from eating her own poop? Puppy behaviors are mysterious, but we’ve unpacked a few of the most common to give you peace of mind.

Biting

Most puppies will bite you at some point in their young lives. Nipping is one early form of communication, and it typically happens while playing. This can also happen while training or, well, pretty much anywhere. If you notice your dog nipping frequently, though, do what you can do stop it before it becomes a habit. Puppies don’t have the strength (or teeth) to do serious damage, but that changes when they grow up.

Bad Breath

Most dogs will have unpleasant breath, but if you notice a sudden change or severe odor, visit the veterinarian. Bad breath could indicate that something is wrong with your dog’s oral health, but it could also be a sign of gastrointestinal distress. Your vet should be able to determine the cause with a few quick tests.

Scooting

Most people have seen a dog scooting his butt across the floor. It can seem funny, but it’s often cause for concern. When this happens, it means that something is irritating the dog’s anus. The anal sacs may be full and need expressing, or they could have an allergy, worms, or constipation. Keep an eye on your puppy if you see this behavior, and take them to the veterinarian if it happens more than once.

Circling

Most puppies will chase their tails from time to time, but constant walking in circles may indicate a health issue. Ear infections may cause circling. If your puppy seems to be wandering in a circle rather than chasing after its tail, schedule a vet visit.

Eating Poop

All animals have behaviors we find disgusting, and this is one of the more common. Most puppies will be interested in poop, whether its their own or another animal’s found in the street. Dogs eat feces for several reasons. It could be a habit picked up from the mother. It could be curiosity. In some cases, though, eating poop can indicate a nutritional deficiency. Check your puppy’s food intake.

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7 01, 2020

What’s Going on with Alaska Airlines’ Pet Policy?

By |2020-01-07T16:14:48-07:00January 7th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

Around New Year’s Eve 2019, a passenger on an Alaska Airlines’ cross-country flight had an allergic reaction to the cat under the seat next to her. According to reporting from ABC7 News in California, the woman needed to give up her aisle seat to avoid the cat.

“Her face started swelling and she felt that tingling and her eyes started swelling up a bit,” the woman’s father told the news outlet. He decided to talk to ABC7 after seeing a report of a woman suffering an asthma attack on an Alaska Airlines flight from Oakland to Seattle just a couple of days prior, also due to a cat.

In response, a representative from Alaska Airlines told ABC7 News that, “If a passenger is allergic to pets, our policy is to move the pet and its owner to the back of the aircraft, which is what happened in this case.”

There are a couple of strange things about this statement. First, this is not included in the Alaska Airlines pet policy. Second, this strategy makes little sense, as moving an animal to the back of the plane would only increase passenger exposure to the allergen.

As it turns out, this is not the policy that was put in place during the incident, and it is not Alaska Airlines’ official policy for dealing with pet allergies. But the incident points to a larger topic that warrants discussion: How are airlines responding to pet allergies amidst the increase in pet travel?

Passengers and Pet Allergies

We wrote a blog post almost two years ago about how to manage other passengers with pet allergies. Since then, pet travel has only increased, and some airlines are beginning to realize they need a clause embedded in their public pet policies designed to deal with this situation. Surprisingly, no airline that we found advertised its policy for addressing pet allergies on a flight. This is a huge surprise, as most pet parents prefer as much information up front as possible. If you want this information prior to boarding (or booking your ticket), we suggest calling the airline’s customer service line.

What Can You Do?

There’s only so much a pet parent can do when a seatmate has a pet allergy. You and your pet need to get to where you’re going, and once you’re on the flight, you can’t really rush out and buy your seat partner a Benadryl. However, pet owners can make some easy purchases prior to boarding that will significantly reduce an allergic passenger’s reaction.

The first is simple: buy some medicine. Any antihistamine, like Zyrtec, Benadryl, Allegra, and Claritin should work. These drugs work by blocking the effects of the chemical that triggers allergy symptoms, and they’re sold over the counter as individual doses. Pick up a few packets at the Duty Free on your way to the gate.

The second thin you can buy to comfort your seatmate is a pet carrier cover. By draping a cover over the carrier, you limit the amount of pet dander able to escape, thus decreasing the number of allergens exposed to the cabin. This can also be beneficial to the animal, as it will limit external stimuli and aid in keeping him calm. Additionally, if you have a few minutes the morning of your flight, take some time to brush and groom your pet. This will also cut down on pet dander.

You can’t control how your airline reacts to a customer’s allergy, but you can do everything in your power to prove that you’re not a nuisance. Importantly, understand your airline’s pet policy prior to boarding. If they have a policy in place specifically for pet allergies, you should know it. Otherwise, you may end up in a debacle similar to this Alaska Airlines incident.

 

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11 12, 2019

Important Holiday Pet Safety Reminders

By |2020-01-07T14:50:13-07:00December 11th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

The holidays are an exciting time for friends, family, and – importantly – pets. But with added excitement comes a risk of danger, even if you’re not planning to travel. Whether you’re flying home with Fido or hosting friends with Fluffy, you want to keep an eye out for holiday hazards. Below, we’ve broken these threats and risks into four categories.

Food

While you may be tempted to allow Fido or Fluffy join in on the holiday fun, do your best to avoid feeding table scraps. Some of the most common holiday meals contain foods toxic to many pets, including fatty meats, onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, and anything sweetened with Xylitol. If you want to give your pet a great meal, we suggest ordering holiday-themed treats online.

You’ll also want to take the trash out as soon as possible after a large meal. Scavenging pets can get into holiday leftovers and gorge themselves on high-fat foods, which can lead to gastrointestinal troubles, blockage, and in the most severe cases, pancreatitis. In the frantic rush, your pet can also ingest small bones, which can cause severe internal damage. Remember to clean up quickly and place enticing scraps out of reach.

Decorations

Holiday decorations may look nice, but they can present a hazard to animals. Try not to use decorative materials like tinsel and curling ribbon on trees and presents. They may be ingested, which can cause intestinal obstructions and other problems. Additionally, you’ll want to secure all electric light strings so that they are out of your pet’s reach. Animals can easily become entangled or chew on these strings, leading to potential electrocution. Similarly, if you’re using real candles in a menorah, keep the flame under control and out of reach.

While bright and shiny holiday decorations may command most of your attention, Christmas trees are often the most dangerous part of the house. Prevent your animals from drinking the water by covering it with a towel. Tree water can contain sap, fire retardants, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals. Additionally, weigh down your tree to prevent it from toppling onto an overzealous dog. Remember that holiday plants, like mistletoe and poinsettias, are extremely toxic.

Travel

If you’re planning to travel with Fido or Fluffy this holiday season, use it as an excuse to check in on your pet’s health. Bring them to the animal hospital for an annual check-up to make sure they are healthy, receive a health certificate, and ensure that all vaccines are up to date. Animal hospitals can be busy during the holiday season, so try to schedule your appointment several weeks in advance.

Importantly, you’ll want to be sure your pet’s microchip is working. A veterinarian can easily scan this for you. Before travel, double-check the online microchip database to update all necessary contact information, and make sure your pet’s ID tags are accurate. Busy airports and stressful households can increase your pet’s chance of escaping, so do what you can to make sure they’ll find their way home.

If you’re traveling by car, remember to use some form of restraint while driving – a crate, a pet seatbelt, &c. Keep records of your pet’s vaccination history in the glove box in case anyone asks to see them, especially if you’re traveling across state lines.

Holiday Guests

If your pet is not used to being in a space with a lot of people, you’ll want to communicate that information to everyone in the house. Do not leave pets and guests alone together, especially children, as this could add to an animal’s stress and compel them to act out. If your pet seems overwhelmed by the holiday commotion, let them hang out in a quiet, safe, dark room away from noise and guests.

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7 12, 2019

Find International Pet Travel Airline Information

By |2019-12-08T14:33:25-07:00December 7th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

We started this website with the intent of making sure that when it comes to airline pet travel, travelers have an organized source where all of the necessary pet travel information can be found in one place. We’ve collected and published a lot of information for domestic travel, covering a large selection of US-based airlines and airports.

In listening to feedback from our audience, we recognize there is a need to provide this type of information for international pet travel as well. What follows is our general guide for international pet travel. For a full list of the airlines we’ve covered, international and domestic, take a look at our Airline Pet Policy and Travel Reservation guide.

How to Travel Internationally with a Pet

International travel can be a very enriching experience. While most pet owners don’t take their animals on a short vacation, there are other times when it’s necessary to bring your pets along with you, like for a permanent relocation or a longer stay abroad. Bringing an animal internationally comes with its own unique requirements, and we’re working to bring you the best available information on airline policies as well as international import and export guidelines for animals.

One of the more difficult aspects of traveling with a pet internationally is getting organized. Different countries have different laws, and you may have to acquire various health documentations and exams from your veterinarian prior to your travels. Depending on your destination and the length of time you’ll be there, you may also need to get visas and arrange for your pet to go through a period of quarantine. All of these requirements might make some pet owners apprehensive to travel with their animals, but rest assured that it’s not impossible. By expanding the number of airlines we cover, we’re working hard to help you iron out the details in your travel plans.

People who require service animals, for instance, will find most international airlines have similar regulations and protections—at least for service dogs in particular. Many airlines are also more accommodating than ever before to people that will need to bring their emotional or psychiatric support animals. While many airlines are more welcoming to these animals, each airline has slightly different requirements that should be checked before you make your travel plans.

FAQs about International Pet Travel

To help bring more clarity to this topic, we’ve created a FAQ for some of the questions we get the most. Hopefully, this will answer some of your initial questions and help you get started planning your travel. Note that many of these answers will ultimately depend on your final destination.

What kind of health documents will I need to have for my animal?

This will depend on the breed and species of animals that you have. For many people, the first step will be to ask their vet if their animal is healthy enough for international travel. Generally, you will at least want to get copies of vaccine records. Additionally, if your dog is an emotional or psychiatric support animal, you will likely need to get documentation from your doctor or psychiatrist.

Which kinds of animals are not allowed on planes at all?

In most cases, snub-nosed dogs are prohibited from traveling by air. Snub-nosed refers to dogs or cats that have a shorter snout than usual, also known as brachycephalic animals. It might initially be upsetting to know that these dogs aren’t allowed on planes, but it’s really for their safety. The snouts on these animals to prevent them from getting enough air into their lungs while in-flight. There is also the possibility that they could overheat because they cannot pant as effectively. Dogs like bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and several others are not allowed on planes.

How can I send an animal abroad unaccompanied?

Many people find it necessary to ship an animal. If this is you, you will need to make yourself aware of the import and export laws associated with the animal’s destination and be sure to fulfill them. Then, you can book your animal onto a cargo plane and send your animal without human accompaniment. It can then be picked up at the airport or delivered to its destination using a pet transport service, which some airports even provide.

What happens if I have an overnight layover and I get separated from my pet?

Some airlines, like Air Canada for example, prefer to board a pet in an airport kennel rather than have its owner pick it up and put it through security again in the morning. This may also help both the pet and its owner keep stress low. Double check the airline’s policies first. If you are flying through a major city, or through an airline’s headquarters, there may be more options for overnight boarding.

What do I need to know about bringing my service animal on a plane?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that service animals should be accepted in public spaces without proof of disability, but this does not fully apply on airplanes. However, under the Air-Carrier Accessibility Act, or ACAA, airlines should try to accommodate you and your service animal. To make things go smoother, notify the airline you will be travelling with at least 48 hours prior to your flight. Service dogs usually fly free of charge.

There are several other requirements for emotional and psychiatric assistance animals. While these animals and their owners are usually welcome on the plane, there are some necessary documents to complete. These will vary based on the airline.

What if I’m not flying into a major city?

Sometimes, animals will need to go through the largest airport in a country, or through an airport in a major city. Not all airports have kennels and other equipment needed to house and care for animals, even for a short amount of time. When you book your flight, check to make sure that your animal can come through to your final destination, or if you will need to utilize a local animal transportation service.

Planning for International Pet Travel

Traveling with animals can be difficult and confusing when you don’t have all the information you need. We’re working to make it easier to book reservations and prepare for international travel with a pet.

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26 11, 2019

Navigating Layovers with a Pet

By |2019-11-30T12:56:47-07:00November 26th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means pet travel is about to become more common than ever. In the rush to secure cheap tickets–or any tickets at all–many of us traveling for the winter holidays booked flights with layovers. While this may be only a slight inconvenience for a solo traveler, navigating layovers with a pet presents a range of logistical challenges for passengers.

Usually, finding a pet relief station is the biggest concern a pet parent will handle during a layover. If flights are delayed, your window of opportunity will shrink, leaving you with little time to let Fido take a break. In some cases, however, you may be concerned about your pet getting onto the connecting flight, especially if it is flying as checked baggage in the cargo hold. While every airport and airline handles this process differently, there are a few strategies you can deploy to prevent the worst from happening.

Layovers with a Pet in Cabin

Flying with your pet in the cabin significantly reduces the risk of harm and neglect during a layover. Your pet will not need to leave your side, which should provide some comfort in an otherwise stressful situation. When you arrive at your destination, you will have some time – typically, at least a few minutes – to locate the nearest indoor pet relief station and allow your pet to relieve themselves. If your flights are short, you may not even need to visit the pet bathroom (but if you have the time, we suggest letting Fido at least stretch his legs).

Layovers, however, can be very short. If you’re worried about relieving Fido while catching your connecting flight, here are some tips.

  • Look up the layover airport map prior to travel and familiarize yourself with where the pet relief stations are. This will allow you to quickly locate the nearest pet bathroom.
  • If the airport has only outdoor pet relief areas, ask the person at the check-in desk how long the line for security is. In most cases, this staff member has just needed to pass through the line themselves, so they should be able to provide updated information.
  • Don’t book flights with fast layovers. While this might seem counterintuitive, it is more important to give your dog time to relax before a second flight than to rush frantically through the experience.

Layovers with a Pet as Checked Baggage

Navigating layovers with a pet traveling as checked baggage can be difficult – even dangerous. Last month, we received an email from a reader regarding a pet travel incident she witnessed. While in the international arrivals section of Miami International Airport, she noticed a dog carrier all alone beside the elevators. It was around 6:30 pm. She writes:

“Airport personnel walked past it for several minutes, and no one could tell me anything about the little white dog in the carrier except that it had been there for a while and that maybe her owner was detained in customers. I tried for an hour to get help for this dog, but no one really knew what to do. Apparently, her owner was transferring to another flight and didn’t know that he had to pick her up.”

This reader explained that the owner needed a wheelchair to get back to the dog, but that a sticker on the crate indicated that she hadn’t had food or a walk since 10:00 that morning. Luckily, the dog’s crate had the owner’s contact information, and when the reader was able to contact him, he was distraught. After several hours, the owner finally got a wheelchair to retrieve his dog. Without this reader’s help, a lot worse could have happened.

This incident indicates several failures on the part of both the airline and the airport, and we don’t expect this type of oversight to be the norm. That said, the holiday season is busy, and some things may slip through the cracks. As a pet parent, you must do what you can to prevent this scenario from happening. Here are our tips.

  • When you check your pet in for a flight, talk to the airline associate about the process of transferring flights. Ask specifically about whether the dog will be walked, whether they will have food, and how they will get on the connecting flight.
  • When you land at your layover destination, ask a flight attendant about the status of your pet. Do you need to go anywhere to retrieve them? Are they being transferred to the other plane? Can you see them for a couple of minutes? While actual transfer practices will vary by airline and airport, reminding the flight attendants can significantly reduce risk of harm or miscommunication.
  • Write your contact information, destination, and home address on the crate. This will allow fellow passengers or airport personnel to contact you in the case of an emergency. Also, in large, bold letters, write “CONNECTING TO <FLIGHT NUMBER> FROM <AIRPORT> to <DESTINATION AIRPORT>, <DATE>” so that baggage handlers don’t forget.
  • When you board your connecting flight, ask airport personnel, whether at the check-in desk or on the plane, if the dog has been loaded into cargo. This will provide another important reminder to staff that there is an animal that needs tending to.
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24 10, 2019

Caring for Your Dog’s Paw Pads

By |2019-10-25T15:03:43-06:00October 24th, 2019|Blog|0 Comments

Colder weather is just around the corner, which means shorter days, snowy walks, and all the hot chocolate you can drink. For pet parents, though, it signals the start of one of the most pet care-intensive seasons of the year: winter. Hold on, you might be saying to yourself. Isn’t summer the month where Fido maintenance levels up? Not necessarily, especially if your pets need to take walks outside. Cold weather brings snow, ice, and general discomfort, which means it is the time of year to spend some time caring for Fido’s paw pads.

Paw pads are an often-overlooked aspect of pet maintenance. Maybe it’s because they’re hidden unless Fido is lying down. Maybe it’s because they’re not an especially fun part of pet care. Perhaps it’s just that they’re easy to forget. Whatever the case, we realized there’s a lot of need for a resource about caring for these adorable little toe beans. Here’s what you need to know, especially when gearing up for the winter months.

What are Paw Pads, Exactly?

Paw pads are a layer of pigmented skin, most often black but sometimes pink, that cover fatty tissue on Fido or Fluffy’s paws. They are essential to an animal’s foot structure, working with the pet’s nails to provide protection and stability. The assist with balance, provide traction, help with stability, and absorb shock.

Importantly, paw pads are lightly warming. The fat tissue underneath is insulating, providing some much-needed protection from cold winter sources, like ice, snow, and salt. Equally dangerous are the ice-melt products that cut through the winter freeze. While paw pads can protect against these chemicals, they may burn, itch, or become uncomfortable.

Everyday Habits

There are a few things pet parents can do every day to ensure the longevity of Fido’s paw pads. While some parts of the year necessitate these steps more than others, occasional checks are necessary for optimal pet health.

  • If you walk your pet in the winter, wash off their paws after any trip outside, especially if they have been walking on salt-treated surfaces. Fido could ingest the chemicals accidentally, leading to dangerous health complications.
  • If you walk your pet in the summer, wash their paws every time they enter the house, especially if you live in a city. Rat urine, which is common in city parks and on sidewalks, can carry dangerous diseases. If your dog tracks it into the house, it could cause health complications for both you and Fido.
  • Try dog booties, regardless of climate. This is a great way to protect your pup’s feet, even in the most extreme weather conditions. Look for sturdy, well-fitted, non-slip boots. If you’re in the market for winter shoes, look for options with light insulation.
  • Trim the fur or hair that grows between your dog’s paw pads. This will keep their feet healthy, provide more traction on slippery surfaces, and prevent the build-up of ice during winter walks.

Paw Pad Care and Preparing for Winter

The best thing you can do to prepare for winter walks is to introduce Fido to his new shoes. Doing this slowly will help desensitize your pup to the wearables, making him less stressed out and more comfortable moving around. The process should take between two and four weeks, depending on your pet’s obedience.

When picking out your pet’s shoes or winter boots, do your best to bring them along when you make the purchase. This is a great way to ensure proper fit and allow Fido to have some say – or, at least, bark at the options he finds scarier than the others. Bring lots of treats, rewarding him for trying on the boots.

Once you’ve picked out a pair of shoes, complete the following steps regularly for several weeks. Fido will feel comfortable in his new shoes in no time!

  1. Call him to you and have him lie down.
  2. Slip the boots on one at a time, giving him treats after each boot.
  3. Keep him inside, at least at first. Indoor training allows you to control the environment, limiting potential stressors.
  4. Bring out the toy basket and encourage your dog to play with the shoes on. This will keep his mind off the new boots and get him used to wearing them.
  5. Give him some time to play around the house in the boots. Take them off if he starts to get nervous and try again later.
  6. After a couple of weeks, start taking him outside, but bring the treat bag along. Consistent rewards are the best way to get a dog used to something. Just be sure to keep an eye on the boots themselves – they could fall off without you noticing.
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