Pet Passports Make For Easy Travel, Avoid Fines

Having a pet passport can speed up and simplify traveling with animals between countries. A typical pet passport will have the microchip or tattoo number of the animal and a complete record of immunizations and vaccinations required for entrance into most countries. While airlines have inspected that document in the past, look for increased scrutiny going forward after one carrier received a hefty fine in a pet passport related incident.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been fined £1,800 (about $2,800) by a UK court for carrying a cat found to be traveling on an invalid pet passport, reports Barry & District News. On top of that, KLM was ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge of £120.

A pet passport is just one part of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), a system that enables animals to travel between member countries without undergoing quarantine. Started in the UK, the PETS program then rolled out to other European Union countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In the case of the KLM incident, the Mexican cat’s passport had discrepancies over its identification and, more importantly, its rabies vaccinations. “Without trading standards’ intervention, the possibility of a rabies outbreak could have been catastrophic,” said Principal trading standards officer Christina Roberts-Kinsey.While the PETS program is a step in the right direction, standardization between countries is still a work in progress. To fly, pets need a wellness exam, food in-transit and they, too, will have to go through security at the airport. Companies that specialize in transporting pets like have the most current and accurate information.

The approach designs a custom plan for each individual pet, satisfying or exceeding the entry requirements of countries around the world. Clients receive their pet‘s flight schedule the week before the flight detailing all of the flight numbers, departure and arrival airports along with the pet’s “Air Way Bill” (or ticket) number. These 24/7 flight tracking instructions keep pet owners informed.

Flying on United? A first-class lounge for pets recently opened at Chicago O’Hare.

Woman Claims United Airlines Killed Her Golden Retriever

A California woman claims that United Airlines killed her 2-year-old Golden Retriever, Bea, on a flight from New York to California two weeks ago.

The accusation appears on her beamakesthree blog, which prominently featured her puppy.

“I’m writing this with my anger aside, in the hopes that someone looking for advice will read this and not make the mistake of trusting United with their pets as we did,” she posted earlier today.

The story is a sad one. A caring dog owner returning from an East Coast summer vacation took all needed precautions to ensure that two of her dogs would travel safely home, driving from Upstate New York to Newark airport to plan a direct flight, enrolling the pets in United’s PetSafe program, buying extra food and crates and special water bowls, and of course, undergoing thorough vet checks.

“When we arrived in San Francisco to pick up our dogs we drove to the dark cargo terminal and on arrival in the hanger were told simply, ‘one of them is dead’ by the emotionless worker who seemed more interested in his text messages,” she wrote.

Maggie described the struggle she had with supervisors to get her dog to a preferred vet for autopsy (called necropsy in animals) and the resulting cause of death was heatstroke.

United, she says, has not responded to repeated requests for comment or further explanation as to how her dog could have died in flight, simply stating, “our internal investigation does not show any irregularities, as evidenced by the fact that your companion dog and other animals on board did not suffer the same fate.”

She does not confirm if the airline refunded the $1,800 in expenses they incurred to travel with their pets.

Maggie, we’re so sorry for your loss.

Editor Note: We have reached out to United for comment and have been told that a statement will be issued soon. We will update the post here when an official comment is made.

Update, 4:34 PM ET: United issued the following statement:

We understand that the loss of a beloved pet is difficult and express our condolences to Ms. Rizer and her family for their loss. After careful review, we found there were no mechanical or operational issues with Bea’s flight and also determined she was in a temperature-controlled environment for her entire journey. We would like finalize the review but are unable until we receive a copy of the necropsy.

[Image via beamakesthree]

Out-Of-State Moving Checklist: Tips For Relocating And How To Survive The Drive

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m currently en route moving from Seattle to Boulder, Colorado. This isn’t my first out-of-state relocation, by any means, and at this point, I’ve got it down to a science, after the movers haul away what I can’t cram into my car.

Because summer is peak moving season, I thought I’d share some tips with y’all to make your pre-move checklist and journey less painful. Even if you don’t have time to make a relaxing road trip out of it, there are still ways to fit in a bit of sightseeing or leisure time.

Before you move:

Reputable moving companies always offer free estimates (the cost is based on weight, so hold that yard sale before you make an appointment).

If you’ve had a good experience with a long-distance mover before, see if they have an affiliate in your new hometown; it also pays to check reviews and get a few other estimates before hiring a company.

Make a list of all accounts and the like that require address updates, and get it taken care of. Likewise, cancel/transfer utilities if necessary.

Tune up your car or get a full service; be sure to tell them you’re moving out-of-state and to perform a thorough road safety check that includes tire pressure and wear assessment and windshield wiper replacement (if needed).

Check your car emergency kit (you do have one, right?), and make sure you’ve got replacement oil of the correct weight, and windshield cleaner, as well as flares and jumper cables. And replace your spare tire if it’s more than 6 to 10 years of age or has been stored in extremely hot conditions.

If you have pets, make sure they’re up-to-date on rabies and other required vaccinations, and check on requirements in your new state. If they’re not good travelers (especially crucial for cats), you may need a sedative prescription from your vet; it’s a good idea for your furry friends to have a physical before you depart. And be sure to keep cats in a carrier in transit; trying to extricate a tabby from beneath your feet while flying down the highway is not fun, believe you me.Give your houseplants to a good home, or make sure they can fit in your car. Moving companies won’t transport them.

Update medical insurance if you have a PPO; most carriers have affiliate providers in other states, but you need to apply and qualify to get a good rate.

There’s usually a window in which your movers will arrive at your new home. Be sure to load anything essential to your existence in your car: basic cooking equipment, utensils, medication, etc. Also, pack valuables like passports, extra checks, tax records and other essential and/or private documents, just in case some of your belongings go missing during the move.

I’ve asked all of my previous movers what’s considered a proper gratuity. All of them have told me that while they never expect it, it’s very much appreciated, but so is buying them breakfast or lunch. Movers work long, hard hours, often for paltry pay. If your move is nearly bankrupting you, you’d be surprised how far a round of coffees and breakfast burritos go. And always offer to get them water or soft drinks while they’re working. You’ll find their gratitude is matched only by the extra care they take with your belongings.

En route

Even if you have a new job to start the second you arrive, plan time for breaks. It’s hard to start work when you’re dead. By the same token, road fatigue really takes a toll. Don’t sleep in truck stops, the side of the road, or parking lots. Even if money is tight, spring for a cheap motel, or at least a campground, and get a good night’s sleep. It pays to make reservations if you’re traveling in isolated regions.

The worst thing about moving, in my opinion, is the deadly boredom of certain routes. I will do literally anything to avoid Interstate 80 through Nevada. Anything. Research beforehand, and try to plan routes with great scenery, or some redemptive attributes – even if it’s just a great roadhouse burger – to look forward to. For mapping, I love Rand McNally; don’t rely solely on GPS, which may not take road repairs and other delays and detours into account.

Keep an emergency stash of No-Doz or energy drinks in your glove compartment, but avoid driving if at all possible when exhausted. Even a 10-minute catnap can work wonders.

Avoid driving at night, and ladies, study up on what to do if you have a breakdown en route. Do not get into a stranger’s car, under any circumstances. Wait in your car with windows up and door locked until police or a tow truck arrive, and ask to see proof of credentials. A little caution is worth appearing a bit paranoid. Keep your cellphone charged, have an emergency roadside plan (if you don’t have AAA, many car insurance companies offer it, free of charge), and have a back-up plan if you don’t have phone service. Always let someone know your route, estimated ETA, and where you plan to stop along the way (even if that plan changes).

Pack a jug of water and snacks to minimize unnecessary stops and to tide you over in the event of a breakdown or other delay.

Upon arrival
You’re likely to have a different set of movers offload your belongings. So yes, you’ll need to tip again, and up the ante accordingly, depending upon how far they’ve driven. A follow-up with the company’s office with praise or constructive criticism is always appreciated. If damage is incurred, be sure to fill out the paperwork before the movers depart; it’s also your responsibility to be there to check off that all of your items are delivered from their master list.

[Photo credits: stress; Flickr user bark; truck, Flickr user Scrap Pile; melon, Flickr user Tempesttea; road, Flickr user TheFriendlyFiend]

Traveling With Pets Is Easy With Designer Products, Consultants

Traveling with pets, whether by land, air or sea, is not easy. Running a pet to the vet for a check-up is one thing, traveling with them for an extended period of time is quite another. Experts agree that good planning and the right equipment can make a big difference.

“If you have to travel long distance with pets, then you need to make sure they are safe and comfortable. My carriers and training devices fulfill those needs,” said entrepreneur Benjamin Short of Premier Pet Carriers in Virtual-Strategy.

At home, having the right sized crate or kennel helps with good dog care and training, and traditional wire, plastic or even wooden cages that look like furniture are available.

When traveling, Short recommends using a “system” designed for the type of travel you have in mind. One such system, by Italian designer Emanuele Bianchi, is the Pet At Work travel system. Perfect for taking a small pet to work or while traveling, the pet can be carried safely in the backpack carrier that also has room for a laptop and can turn into a portable doghouse later.

Another travel system, the Contour Messenger Pet Carrier, is an airline approved pet carrier with ultra thick padding, a contoured spine and a shock absorbent shoulder strap. Designed to be comfortable for the pet and the pet owner, the Contour Messenger Pet Carrier features an expandable mesh “tower” that gives more room inside for the pet as well as increased visibility.Equipped with a zip opening in the top for the pet to stick their head out of, along with a convenient pooper-scooper bag holder, one might think they have all the bases covered with products like this. But having the right equipment is just one part.

If travel means flying, pets need a wellness exam, food in-transit and they too will have to go through security at the airport. We told you about PetRelocation, a company that specializes pet travel and offered some advice.

“If you’re traveling for the first time with your pet on a flight you need to put some extra effort not only to make the reservation and get the documents completed, but also to train your pet physically and psychologically,” blogged Caitlin Moore, new media coordinator for

Like the Premier Pet Carriers idea of having the right equipment for each individual travel situation, the approach designs a custom plan for each individual pet.

Clients receive their pet’s flight schedule the week before the flight with the service, detailing all of the flight numbers, departure and arrival airports along with the pet’s “Air Way Bill” (or ticket) number. 24/7 flight-tracking instructions keep pet owners informed.

Sound like overkill? Rather stick with hollering, “Who wants to go for a ride?” then watch them run excitedly on the direction of the car/bus/train as your go-to travel with pets strategy?

While not advised, Premier Pet Carriers has us covered there too.

“Dogs have oil in their skin, so if they accompany you a lot in the car, then the car seat will get dirty,” notes Short who also sells pet covers for auto seats.

Veterinarians disagree and paint a vivid picture of what might happen.

“If you’re in an accident, your dog will be sent flying through the windshield or possibly out of the vehicle. He’ll be lucky to survive even a relatively minor collision,” Dr. Marty Becker told VetStreet. “And that’s why I recommend restraining dogs in the car with either seat-belt harnesses (don’t ever snap a seat belt to your dog’s collar) or in crates that are securely fastened to the back seats or in the cargo area.”

[Flickr photo by Darwin Bell]

Traveling With Pets Made Easy With Online Expert

Traveling with pets can be a complicated and time-consuming task. Carry-on pets must be small enough to fit comfortably in a small kennel under the seat. Larger pets must meet minimum standards that may vary between airlines. To fly, pets need a wellness exam, food in-transit and they too will have to go through security at the airport. specializes in just that sort of travel and can make it easy.

“If you’re traveling for the first time with your pet on a flight you need to put some extra effort not only to make the reservation and get the documents completed, but also to train your pet physically and psychologically,” blogged Caitlin Moore, new media coordinator for

The approach designs a custom plan for each individual pet. Clients receive their pet’s flight schedule the week before the flight detailing all of the flight numbers, departure and arrival airports along with the pet’s “Air Way Bill” (or ticket) number. 24/7 flight tracking instructions keep pet owners informed.

“When you first contact, either by phone or email, you are put in touch with a PetRelocation Service Consultant familiar with your destination region who will obtain all of the necessary details to provide you with an accurate quotation and answer any questions you might have about the move,” says on its website.

PetRelocation also only works with “pet friendly” airlines that have climate controlled waiting areas and pressurized cargo holds. Airlines used must guarantee that their dedicated live animal cargo staff will care for pets. When layovers are necessary, they route pets through airports that have on-site pet hotels. has a helpful social element too with an extensive blog where pet owner questions are asked and answered. Their online pet owners community at features message boards, secure live chat and more.

Recently, employees and about 8,000 dogs attended the Great Texas Dog Walk, an annual event held by Texas Hearing & Service Dogs. Austin dog lovers gathered with a goal of raising $125,000 to support the work that they do.

“Moving with your pets shouldn’t have to be stressful,” says This looks to be a good resource when traveling with pets.

[Flickr photo via Dimas]