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Traveling with pets: The dangers of flying with your pet

This dog waits patiently to fly with his owner, but should this dog be flying?
This dog waits patiently to fly with his owner, but should this dog be flying?
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With the holidays just around the corner, many pet owners are planning their travel. Some pet owners bring their pets along for the flight. However, it’s important to know the dangers of putting a pet in cargo.

According to NBC Bay Area, a woman shipped her pets via United Airlines Pet Safe program. She was promised that her animals wouldn’t be exposed to temperatures above 85 degrees for over 45 minutes. However, NBC Bay Area says that when she arrived at her destination, her dog was suffering from heat stroke. NBC Bay Area continued saying the dog almost died and that the airline workers kicked the animal’s crates.

While United Airlines says they treat animals with the “greatest care,” this woman’s experience says differently. The Humane Society says flying a pet is never safe and it should be avoided at all costs. If a pet must be taken by plane, try to have them fly in the cabin. When a dog is put in the cargo hold, there is a lack of ventilation, hot temperatures and rough handling. It is not uncommon for dogs to die during the flight. ABC has done some research and discovered a survey by the Department of Transportation. This survey shows that about 56 animals are killed per year on airplanes.

The Humane Society has several tips if a pet must travel in the cargo area: watch the pet get loaded and unloaded from the plane whenever possible, don’t give the pet tranquilizers, don’t feed the pet for four to six hours before the flight and many more. For the remaining tips, check out the humane society website.

Instead of flying with family pets this holiday season, drive or take a train. Some train companies are beginning to let pets stay inside the cabin with their owners. Whichever way pet owners decide to travel this holiday season, they should alway keep the safety of their pets in mind.

Even though pet owners want to take a pet with them, sometimes the safest option is to leave your pet at a kennel. While many owners dread leaving their pets at a kennel, the pets will have a blast. Kennels are a great way to socialize a pet. When choosing a kennel, make sure to do the research. While many kennels appear to be perfect on paper, independent reviews are really the only way to know.