The Ruff Report: Dogs and Safety

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tips to keep pets safe during Thanksgiving travel

  • Your pet should always wear a collar and identification tag with an address or cell phone number where you can be reached. Additionally, you should display a current photograph on your pet’s carrier and write the name, address, and telephone number of the person receiving the animal at your destination.
  • Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate. It should be large enough for your pet to comfortably stand, sit and turn around in. Write “Live Animal” in large letters on at least two sides of the crate, and use arrows to indicate the upright position of the crate. Make sure the door is securely closed, but not locked, so airline personnel can open it in an emergency.
  • Book a direct flight if possible to decrease your pet’s chances of being left on a tarmac or outside during extreme weather conditions. Tell every airline employee you encounter, on the ground and in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they will be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed.
  • Keep your pet in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Make sure it is large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in.
  • Outfit your dog with a harness and safety belt if your pet is riding in a seat. This will keep you pet secure in case of sudden stops or changes in direction.
  • Don't allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects.
  • Cats should always be in a carrier.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in minutes, resulting in heatstroke for your pet. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • Bring bottled water or tap water from your home stored in plastic jugs for your pet. Drinking different water can cause your pet to get an upset stomach.
  • Bring your pet’s rabies vaccination records. Some states require this proof at interstate crossings.
  • Make sure your pet has an ID collar with your home address and a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information.
  • Put a dog in a safety belt or harness on all trips, even short ones.
  • Use restraints that offer mobility and freedom of movement. The dog should be able to move around a little and turn in the seat.
  • Put the dog in the back seat. The safest place is the middle of the back seat. Airbags in the front seat can be dangerous for pets.