Flying with pets as cargo involves risks but if you have no other option, a good crate is indispensable
Dog waiting in its crate doesn’t look too happy at the prospect of flying as cargo

When I was doing my research I came across many experts who agree that flying with pets as cargo involves certain risks. In fact, no matter what your reason might be, my advice to anyone who is thinking about traveling by air with their dog or cat in the cargo hold is DON’T. The risks are too great and too many tragic stories have been told. This should definitely be your last resort if there is absolutely no other viable option available to you.

Of course, the other possible choice is for your furry friend to accompany you in the passenger cabin, but that’s something to discuss another day.

Either way, make sure you get advice from your vet as well as the airline and prepare ahead of your flight schedule.

Consult Your Vet

Ask your vet about your pet’s food and water requirements. Also, what to do if your pet is nervous. Note, that administering a sedative before boarding is generally not advisable, and that tranquilizing can cause dangerous changes in the heart rate as well as other vital functions.

Consult The Airline

Check out what I.D.s, vaccinations and other documentation is required by the airline in question for both types of airline travel.

Do The Research

Here are some of the variables if you are thinking of having your pet fly in the cargo hold.

  • Experience and reputation of the airline
  • Time of year
  • Duration of the flight
  •  Direct flight versus connecting flights
  •  Weather on the ground

The Risk Factors

  • Pressure in the cargo hold is not always exactly the same as that of the cabin.
  • In the forward hold where live animals and pets are kept, temperatures during a flight can fluctuate by as much as 50 degrees despite having a heating/cooling system.
  • Extreme heat and cold while waiting on the tarmac.
  • Cargo crew mishandling, including dropping and breaking the crate, resulting in injuries, escaping and even death.

The Riskiest Times

  • The waiting period before loading.
  • Layovers, when you have to wait for a connecting flight.
  • The wait time for unloading/deplaning.

To Sum Up

Take your time and check out all possible options. Since flying with pets as cargo involves risks, please do your utmost to minimize those risks. We can point them out but, in the end, it’s up to you.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

Here’s another article you might like, this time about pets in the driver’s seat:


Avoid Getting A Ticket

Be responsible and don’t let lap dogs cause driving accidents
Be responsible and don’t let lap dogs cause driving accidents

Doing this is actually considered irresponsible, so please take note. Lap dogs cause driving accidents. In fact, if you are in the habit of sitting at the wheel of a vehicle while it is in motion, and you have a pet on your lap, you may get a ticket.

Owners Fined For Transporting Unrestrained Pets

Most drivers and passengers don’t think twice about buckling up themselves and strapping in a baby, infant, or child, Yet, why does it never occur to them to secure their companion animals while on the move? Clearly the answer is poor judgement. 

So, it’s worth remembering that in the USA, some states are stricter than others. Nevertheless, you definitely run the risk of being fined.

This Can Happen

It’s important to note that unrestrained pets can easily become injured. Furthermore, if they’re allowed to move around freely, that can also become a hazard for the driver as well as the passengers.

A driver must be in control of the vehicle at all times. And when dogs are allowed to be lap dogs, they will cause a driving accident sooner or later. It’s also important not to forget that other people who become involved in an incident or accident may well be affected in some way themselves.

Now, let’s consider the fact that if people can die because someone was texting while driving, imagine what else could occur when someone interacts with their pet. Others can also just as easily die because someone turned to stroke their cat or feed their dog a treat!

Some U.S. State Laws

In Tennessee

Back in May 2011, Tennessee House Bill 212 was passed and became law on July 1st that year. It’s a measure that helps keep pets safe by making it a Class C misdemeanor to allow a dog to ride unrestrained in the front seat of a vehicle. It restricts the movement of pets traveling in a vehicle to the following:

* it must be held by someone either in the front passenger seat or the rear seat, or else

* it must be harnessed, crated or otherwise contained

In New Jersey

New Jersey police officers have been known to stop drivers for improperly transporting an animal and issue fines as much as $1,000 per pet. Examples of citations range from dogs hanging their head out of a window, unleashed dogs traveling in the bed of a pickup truck (deemed animal cruelty), cats resting on the dashboard, and even someone driving with a bird perched on their shoulder.

In Other States

Fines are issued to motorists who drive with pets in their laps in these states: Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois and Maine.

Do You Know The Law?

If this topic interests you, could you please send me a comment. I’d like to know three things…

1. Had you heard about this law before reading this blog?

2. Do laws like these exist in your state?

3. If not, do you think they should because they’ll help to save pets’ lives?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

Here’s another article you might like, this time about flying with your pet: