29 01, 2021

Evacuating with Pets During a Natural Disaster – Everything You Need to Know

By |2021-02-01T07:53:45-07:00January 29th, 2021|Blog|Comments Off on Evacuating with Pets During a Natural Disaster – Everything You Need to Know

Planning for natural disasters is something none of us want to think of. But the more prepared you are, the better. This is especially true when you need to factor pets to your evacuation plan. Natural disasters come in many forms. Some are more relevant based on the region you live in. Regardless of the disaster, we want to help you feel equipped to get you and your pet to safety if you find yourself in an emergency.


Precautions for Pet Safety

There are some precautions you can take with your pet that can help in an emergency. The key here is properly identifying your pet. This includes the minimum of a collar with the pet’s name and your contact information. Opting to microchip your pet increases the chance of locating your pet if it gets lost. Another precaution is always having up-to-date records for your pet at the ready. These simple steps will go a long way if you must evacuate.


Assemble a Disaster Kit 

In the event of a disaster, you may need to quickly leave your home and travel to a safe destination. You will want to make sure to have a disaster kit for your pet in a convenient location. Having a kit packed for your pet is the easiest way to ensure your pet has what it needs without you scrambling to pack a bag during the emergency.

Here are some of the items to consider including. The first category is documents. The paperwork should cover your pet’s vaccinations, microchip information, and medication. This is relevant in the event you need to activate the microchip or if shelters or vets require documentation for sheltering your pet. You will also want to pack a two-week supply of food and water for your pet along with any necessary medications.

Other than these items, you should pack a leash and collar, a pet carrier, and something warm for your pet to sleep on. For a full checklist, you can reference this one from the CDC.


Make a Plan

On top of a disaster kit, you will want to have an evacuation plan for you and your pet. This involves identifying a place to seek shelter for the duration of the emergency. The Humane Society covers this step in more depth, including links to find pet-friendly lodging. It is a good idea to make a list of places to go for different scenarios. You likely cannot predict how long you will have to be away from your home, so you should have options.


After an Emergency

Emergencies can confuse your dog and make them feel uncertain when you return to your home. Depending on the severity of the emergency, your pet may even have injuries that you need to tend to. Understand that you will need to keep a close watch on your dog until they acclimate. Be sure that you keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier until you can assess the safety of your home after a disaster.


19 12, 2020

The Emotional Support Animals Policy is Changing – Again

By |2020-12-14T07:05:04-07:00December 19th, 2020|Airlines, Blog|Comments Off on The Emotional Support Animals Policy is Changing – Again

As of a December 2020 rule change, airlines will impose different rules on emotional support animals. These airlines will no longer automatically approve animals that might have normally been allowed to fly. As a passenger, you may not have even been aware of the policy, let alone the adjustment. We’ll get you up to speed on both and let you know what the policy change means for travel with emotional support animals.


Emotional Support Animals on Planes 

You’ve likely heard about emotional support animals before. In fact, you’ve probably seen one on a flight. While most associate them with dogs or the occasional cat, emotional support animals can be any animal. Here is where problems arise for airlines. Before the December 2020 policy change, airlines allowed most emotional support animals on flights for free to accompany their humans. This meant that airlines allowed pigs, birds, or any other animal an person owners claimed as emotional support to board. If you think that sounds made up, take a look at this example of a woman who tried to board with her peacock. This clearly was a recurring problem, and airlines spent time and money asking the Department of Transportation to change national policy.

Emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. Service animals are trained to assist owners with challenges caused by a disability. Service animals are allowed to travel with their human at no cost, without question. However, the inclusion of emotional support animals, in all their forms, as service animals allowed untrained animals on planes. Considering the two types of animals as one left airlines without concrete policy grounds for denying certain animals.


The New Emotional Support Animal Policy         

Here are some key highlights of the differences. The core of the policy update is that the Department of Transportation considers emotional support animals as pets, no longer as service animals. A secondary change is that service animals can only be dogs. The ADA had already defined service animals as trained dogs, so the airlines are now consistent with their definition.

This new rule will impact groups differently. For airlines, this will largely impact which animals can fly and how they charge animals flying. They can more readily prevent untrained animals from flying without being held to the same rules as normal pets. Those flying with service dogs will not be impacted as they still maintain the right to fly with their animal. The passengers who once were able to travel with their emotional support animals will face the most change, as it is no longer guaranteed that their animal can fly with them.

For most airlines, the policy is a good thing. They hope that this change will improve the flying experience for those who dislike animals on planes. This policy restores the essential function of trained service animals for their owner. This can translate to greater legitimacy for the work of service animals. People who were once able to fly with their emotional support animal may be frustrated with the change, but that is to be expected. As a result, this update is bound to have mixed opinions.

30 11, 2020

Pet Travel is Especially Risky This Holiday Season. Here’s What You Need to Know.

By |2020-11-30T10:50:27-07:00November 30th, 2020|Blog|Comments Off on Pet Travel is Especially Risky This Holiday Season. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The holiday season is typically one of the busiest travel periods in the United States. Each year, millions – some with pets – board airplanes to travel across the country, visiting family and friends along the way. It does not appear that trend will change much this year; nearly half of all Americans traveled for Thanksgiving last week, and even more are likely to visit home for Christmas and New Year’s. But what does this mean for pet travel amid the pandemic?

If you’re bringing Fido or Fluffy home for the holidays, you might have a slightly harder time getting them there and back safely. Here are a few hiccups you might encounter during this strange holiday season.


Triple-Check Your Travel Plans

The day before Thanksgiving was the highest-volume travel day since March, before the pandemic began. But, despite this increased demand for air travel, some airlines are still blocking out the middle seat on planes to allow folks to socially distance while in the air. If you already have your ticket booked, you’re likely safe, but you should check in on the status for Fido or Fluffy. If you plan to bring your pet inside the cabin, check to see whether your airline has imposed additional restrictions on pets. We recommend calling the customer service line as soon as possible, as well as one week before travel.


Bring Enough Food for Fido

2020 has been a year of surprises, and the holidays will not be an exception. If you contract the novel coronavirus while visiting friends and family, you will need to quarantine for 14 days. In some cases, this may require extending your stay. If this is the case, and if you’ve brought your pet along, you’ll want to be prepared. Even if you’re only visiting for a few days, bring enough pet supplies to last you the full two weeks. You don’t want to be stuck away from home without access to your pup’s specialty food or prescription medications.


Reconsider Your Holiday Travel

Health and government officials are continuing to urge Americans to stay home for nonessential travel. Despite what your parents might say, visiting their house for Thanksgiving or Christmas isn’t always essential. Though flying on airplanes does not seem to produce super-spreader events, there are still many opportunities for you to get sick – as well as for you to transmit the virus. Adding a cat or dog into your travel equation could provide unnecessary stress and additional hurdles. If you’re traveling for the holidays, and especially if you’re bringing Fido, think seriously about staying home. Travel will still be there when the pandemic is over.

27 10, 2020

COVID-19 is Raising Pet Travel Costs

By |2020-10-27T13:05:07-06:00October 27th, 2020|Blog|Comments Off on COVID-19 is Raising Pet Travel Costs

We know many of our readers aren’t traveling these days. The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to stay home, and those who do travel are choosing cars over airplanes. But there are still pet parents in the skies, and with the holidays drawing near, you may be thinking more seriously about bringing Fido along.


The hard truth is that the pandemic has temporarily changed pet travel. Over the past few years, fewer airlines are accepting animals as cargo and checked baggage. Those who continue to allow cargo transportation have imposed stricter size and weight limits on traveling animals. According to a story published by USA Today, COVID-19 has only exacerbated these trends. Many airlines have updated their pet policies to include the phrase, “subject to availability.” In lay terms, this means they’re waiting to better understand the caseload and economic situation before guaranteeing pet travel.


The Latest on Airlines

Airlines are in a tricky spot right now. With fewer folks in the air, there are fewer opportunities to make money. In many cases, this has resulted in massive layoffs, reduced flights, and fewer in-flight services. Some airlines have eliminated middle-seat placement for customers, but this doesn’t necessarily mean Fido or Fluffy can take that spot. Plus, with fewer airline staff members, there are fewer employees to help you navigate the pet travel process.

What’s more, the coronavirus pandemic has also decreased the number of animals able to fly. Most airlines place a limit on the number of animals allowed on a plane. Typically, this includes 3-5 animals in the cabin and slightly more in the cargo hold. With fewer planes in the air these days, there are fewer opportunities to get an animal onboard.

Still, it is possible to get an animal on an airplane. Hundreds of people are still able to do it every day. If you’ve decided to bring Fido along, you’ll need to do a bit more research than usual.


What to Expect if You Plan to Fly

Most airlines have not released changes to pet policies. If you plan to fly with an animal during the pandemic, we recommend calling your individual airline’s customer service. This will give you a direct line into the company to see if there is any updated information. Those planning to fly with pups in the cabin should note that limited passenger capacity may also translate to limited animal seats.

We also recommend double checking how much you’ll need to pay to get Fido on the plane. With limited revenue, some airlines may increase the cost of a pet boarding pass.

If you need to fly, we also recommend checking your airline’s policy on masking and social distancing. It appears that most major US airlines have already released plans and guidelines for holiday travel. This master list updates with new information whenever an airline announces a change. The safer your travels, the more likely you are to return home with a happy dog and a clean bill of health. Whether you choose to fly for the holidays or decide to wait it out, it’s best to have as much information as possible.

21 09, 2020

Feel-Good Story: Dog Is My CoPilot Saves Thousands of Dogs Each Year

By |2020-09-21T16:25:29-06:00September 21st, 2020|Blog|Comments Off on Feel-Good Story: Dog Is My CoPilot Saves Thousands of Dogs Each Year

Have you ever wondered how dogs get into shelters or foster homes? We, like most people, thought that animals available for adoption arrived at shelters after being picked up by local animal control. As it turns out, there’s a very different but heartwarming story behind how thousands of pets find their forever homes every year. And, per usual, it involves getting dogs on planes.

The nonprofit organization Dog Is My CoPilot, founded by Peter Rork, transports adoptable animals from parts of the country with high euthanasia rates. Rork locates these areas, then delivers animals from those local shelters to parts of the country with high adoption rates, including the American Southwest, the Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Pacific region.

In a Washington Post story published earlier this year, Rork estimated that he had saved nearly 16,000 animals in around eight years.

Rork, a former doctor, has dedicated his retirement years to saving cats and dogs from being euthanized. He told the Washington Post that he’d always loved aviation, having earned his pilot’s license at 16 years old, and starting a nonprofit organization felt like the perfect fit.


A High-Stakes Journey

For many of the animals Peter Rork transports, getting onto a plane is a life-or-death matter. According to Sharon Lohman, who has her own nonprofit organization, New Beginnings, the animals were desperate to be moved: “If we stop moving them out, they die. It is life or death,” she told the Washington Post.

Dog Is My CoPilot has grown from transferring 20 to 30 animals at a time to flying between 150 to 250 in a single trip. With a now-upgraded airplane, added staff, and some additional funding from the Petco Foundation, the organization has charged headfirst into the pandemic pet adoption trend.

“We had a large backlog of animals after we had a lot of canceled flights,” Rork told the Washington Post in August. “We’re now busier than ever and have been flying every single day.”

So, if you live in the American west and always wondered how the local kennel received dogs from hundreds of miles away, you now have your answer: Peter Rork, a nonprofit organization, and airplanes full of dogs. If you’ve recently adopted an animal, especially during the pandemic, check with your shelter to see where they came from. In some cases, it might just be Dog Is My CoPilot.

21 08, 2020

Tips for a Pet-Friendly COVID-19 Road Trip

By |2020-08-21T09:03:36-06:00August 21st, 2020|Blog|Comments Off on Tips for a Pet-Friendly COVID-19 Road Trip

It’s been half a year since any of us boarded a plane for a leisurely vacation. But, nearly six months into the pandemic, folks are itching to travel. While planes are currently a relatively safe option, we know that most are still hesitant to spend hours in a confined space with a bunch of strangers. Instead, people are ditching their boarding passes and embarking on road trips – sometimes just a few states over, sometimes across the country. The road-tripping trend is so strong that Americans are buying “COVID Cars” to travel as safely and flexibly as possible.

This type of travel forces a confluence of pandemic trends – pet adoption and car buying. We know that you’ll want to bring Fido or Fluffy along for the impromptu vacation, but there are a few steps you’ll want to take before jumping on the road. Here are a few things to consider.


Preventing Heat Stroke in Pets

Bringing your pet on a road trip means, at some point or another, you’ll consider leaving him in a parked car. We want to caution all pet parents against this. Vehicle temperatures rise very quickly, and heat stroke can be deadly for animals. Even if you’re dashing out to pick something up, you risk your pet’s life by leaving them in the car.

However, we understand that you’ll need to leave your pet in the vehicle when doing tasks like pumping gas. If this is the case, remember to crack the windows and closely monitor your pet’s behavior. If possible, pour some water into a bowl while the car is stopped. This gives your animal the option to re-hydrate if they begin to feel too hot.


Remember to Stop for Breaks

While you may be comfortable driving for 12 hours straight, Fido won’t. If you have a dog in the car, you’ll want to stop for a break every couple of hours. It doesn’t have to be long, and your pet doesn’t even need to use the bathroom. The opportunity for an animal to stretch their legs, run around, and get some water will make the journey that much safer and more enjoyable.


Set Up a Pet-Friendly Car Space

You’ll want to clear a space in your car for your pet to comfortably rest. Think about the minimum airline kennel size for an animal; your pet should be able to stand up, sit down, and spin around in this space without difficulty. We suggest folding down or removing a seat to create this pet-friendly space. Cover the floor with a blanket and pee pad, just in case.

We also suggest investing in a car safety harness or seat belt for your pup. We know most folks won’t keep their animal buckled in for the entire trip, but you’ll want to make sure he’s strapped in for especially treacherous parts of the journey – like driving through cities with lots of starts and stops.


Understand Your Pet’s Limits

Some animals feel like they’re built to travel. They don’t have a problem staying the car, and they always seem to have a good attitude. On the other hand, some animals don’t have the temperament for a long-distance road trip. Before setting out on your trip, you’ll need to think hard about your pet’s limitations. Does it make sense to bring them, or will they be happier at home?

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