Category Archives: Pet Safety

Airplane Travel with Pets: Your Ultimate Cheat Sheet

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Pets make everything better, so naturally that applies to vacations too. But before you can drink mimosas and puppuccinos by the pool with your golden lab, you’ve got to get there. And that opens up a whole new world of travel headaches, especially if you’re traveling by plane: Cabin or cargo? Pet carrier or no? What about emotional support animals?

Stick with Pawscout, kids. We’ve got the answers to all your burning questions about flying with pets.

(Note before we start: The following guidelines apply to pets you’re traveling with primarily for fun–not because you need them for reasons of health and wellness. Specific rules and rights apply when you travel with emotional support/comfort animals or service animals!)

Are there any pets that just can’t fly?

Before you head to the airport, you’ll want to make your you can take your pet on the plane to begin with.

  • Pets with heart conditions generally should never fly, whether in cargo or cabin.
  • Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) cats and dogs are at high risk for respiratory issues, which are often exacerbated by air travel. They should never fly in cargo, and it’s not super safe to fly them in the cabin.
  • Be aware of airlines’ breed restrictions. Snub-nosed breeds are banned on many airlines, but so are other breeds you may not expect.

Should my pet fly in cargo, or with me in the cabin?

We recommend that whenever possible, you should have your pet fly with you in the cabin. Some tips to bear in mind:

  • Under normal circumstances, a cat or dog can travel in the cabin only if they fit in a pet carrier that goes underneath your seat. (You can find a breakdown of underseat dimensions by airline here.) Typically, pets must be 15 lbs or less.
  • Your pet will need a recent health certificate from the vet. Check with your airline as to how recent it should be.
  • Acclimate your pet to the carrier you will use on the flight. During the flight, line the carrier with pee pads.
  • If you have a layover, research pet relief area locations in the layover airport. If possible, exit security with your pet and take a little walk.

We don’t recommend letting furry friends fly in cargo. But if you have no other option, you should do your best to maximize their comfort and safety.

  • Call the airline at least a few weeks ahead to make sure they have room for your pet. Be prepared to pay additional fees.
  • Research the airlines’ crate requirements and make sure you have the right food and water containers for the crate.
  • Many airlines have climate-controlled areas of their cargo holds for pets. However, ask your airline for specifics, including when the climate control is enabled.
  • Avoid excessively hot or cold seasons.
  • Trim nails. Pets can injure themselves trying to claw out of their containers.
  • Before the flight, make sure to place something with your scent in your pet’s crate.
  • Remove any collars or bandanas that could get caught on something.
  • Nonstop flights only.

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And of course, to stay safe wherever your travels take you, make sure your pet is #pawscoutprotected! Get your Pawscout Tag and custom nameplate today (not the day before vacation starts):

Shop Pawscout Tags

Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

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Independence Day is upon us! Shelters see a marked increase in lost pets over the July 4th holiday, so it pays to have a plan for keeping your pet safe. Just in the nick of time, here are our top five pet safety tips.

  1. Keep clear of kebab sticks.

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This rule also applies to alcohol, citronella candles, used-up sparklers, and all those other fun summer accessories that will inevitably wind up in your pet’s mouth when your back is turned. Enlist your July 4th guests to safely handle and dispose of their food, drinks, and party favors. After all, it takes a village.

  1. Glow is a no-go.

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The image of your pet with a glowstick necklace is oh-so Instagrammable. But like a lot of things seen on Instagram, it doesn’t work out so well in real life. Glowstick decorations for your dog come with a risk of intestinal issues, so consider sticking with a nice stars-and-stripes bandana.

  1. Avoid diet disruptions.

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Even a tiny bite of people food can result in stomach troubles. If you’re going to give your pet a special treat, make sure it’s something their system can handle! We suggest this two-ingredient peanut butter and banana dog ice cream.

  1. Contain yourself (well, your pet).

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If you’re traveling with pets this July 4th, make sure you have a pet carrier or crate, like this one from Sherpa. (A carrier is also a good solution for escape artist kitties who can’t be trusted to stay confined to a room.)

  1. Skip the identity crisis.

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Up-to-date identification is a safety must every day of the year. Take this opportunity to get your ID ducks in a row! At Pawscout, we recommend a combination of traditional nametags, microchipping, and a smart pet tag (like oh, say, this one) to offer comprehensive pet protection.

Lost Pet Behavior: Lost Dogs vs Lost Cats

Much of the research we encountered in the creation of this article comes from the Missing Animal Response Network. Check them out!

Losing a pet is upsetting enough! Now you have to be an expert in animal behavior to get them back?

Not on our watch. We’ve reviewed all the info we could get our paws on about lost pet behavior, so you can learn what you need to know without a degree in Pet Psychology.

How Lost Dogs Behave

animal-blur-canine-551628If dogs’ noses are as amazing as science says, why do they get lost at all? It may surprise you, but a dog’s ability to smell can decrease significantly if they’re scared. This is something that happens to humans as well: When we’re in crisis, our hearing and vision can become impaired by as much as 33%. It’s the result of ancient, fight-or-flight survival urges, and while it’s understandable, it can be a real headache when all you want is to find your pooch.

If your dog is the social butterfly type, there’s another obstacle to her finding her way home: well-meaning strangers. Friendly dogs are prone to “self-adoption,” meaning they wiggle up to whoever and get picked up. This may mean that rather than looking for a lost dog, you’re looking for the person who’s found her.

There’s good news! Once a dog has calmed down, they can be quite adept at finding their way back to you via scent trails. Research indicates that dogs can even track overlapping familiar scents in a sort of mesh network of smells. Huh! Sounds like a certain pet tracker we’ve heard of …

How Lost Cats Behave

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Cats are prey animals, which means that when they feel threatened, they find a nice safe place to hide until things blow over. The good news is that in all likelihood, a lost cat is very close to home. An indoor cat is likely just a house or two away, while an outdoor cat or indoor-outdoor cat is often found just slightly beyond his normal territory.

He could be under your porch, in a neighbor’s tree, or secreted in an attic corner.

The bad news is that despite how close he may be, a terrified cat will hide in silence, and is unlikely to respond to even your voice or food until he feels confident. And that could take awhile: cats can stay holed up for as long as three weeks.

If your furball is a dedicated hider, you’ll need to be patient and not give up! You may eventually need to lure him out with a humane trap.

Factors That Influence Lost Pet Behavior

Since every pet is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to lost pet behavior. Here are a few factors that may influence how your own pet could behave while lost.

  • Age/disability. If your pet is elderly or has mobility issues, the distance they can travel is limited. Focus on hidey-holes and secluded spots near the area where they were last seen.
  • Personality. Arguably, personality makes the single biggest difference when it comes to a lost pet’s behavior. Friendly pets may bound into the arms of whoever’s nearby. Meanwhile, skittish pets might exhibit behaviors that well-meaning rescuers interpret as signs of “abuse,” making them less likely to look for the pet’s owners or turn them in to a shelter.
  • Indoor vs. outdoor pet. This is especially true for cats. A study conducted by the University of Queensland found that although most lost cats tend to stay close to their point of escape, those with outdoor access often traveled up to a mile further than their indoor-only counterparts.

 

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