5 Best Pet Carriers and Tips for Safer Airline Cargo Flights

Planning an airline trip with your dog or cat and don’t know where to begin? In recent years, traveling has changed on all fronts – for humans as well as their furry friends. Gone are the days when we quickly and easily packed for a trip with no regard for how many ounces were in our liquid containers. The same is true for the four-legged counterparts. They too now fly with many new concerns and limitations.

If a pet is too large to fit in-cabin, the only option becomes flying in back of the plane with the cargo. Be prepared to meet a host of limitations and hurdles in this process.

If a pet is too large to fit in-cabin, the only option becomes flying in back of the plane with the cargo. Be prepared to meet a host of limitations and hurdles in this process. Policies will range anywhere along a spectrum from no longer allowing pets to be transported with checked baggage, limitation of how many pet carriers are allowed during any given flight, types and breeds of dogs that are no longer accepted to fly at all and even regulations and limitations on the length of time pets will be allowed to fly. Before beginning your quest to find the best pet carrier, take care to do your homework on the airline you’re traveling with. Each airline has its own policies and restrictions. An owner is well advised to become acquainted with them.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) endorses the following five pet carriers for pets flying back in cargo. Designs are referred to as a sky kennels when they are created to comply with airline criteria. Be certain to check airline requirements. No pet carrier exactly fits requirements for all the airline companies.

1. Petmate Sky Kennel Airline Cargo Crate

This carrier comes in a variety of sizes and is USDA & IATA approved. It meets most airline requirements. It’s constructed of heavy-duty plastic; however, the nuts and bolts may have to be switched out with metal components. The crate comes with “Live Animal” stickers and clip on bowls as an added convenience.

2. Midwest Skudo Plastic Pet Carriers

This Skudo carrier has additional features that pet owners enjoy and claims to be as compliant as the other top pet carriers. Skudo has snap-lock buckles which make for easy assembly and casters can be added for convenience. This carrier is particularly compliant with Delta Airlines. It doesn’t rank as high in durability, but the ability to pull it on rollers may outweigh durability for some.

3. FavoriteR Airline Approved Pet Carrier

The FavoriteR Carrier meets U.S. and international standards and come with an IATA certification. It’s promoted as having easy assembly and wheels for convenience – but has no handles on top. It comes in several colors and sizes. It’s likely the most affordable carrier among this list.

4. Grreat Choice Dog Carrier

The Grreat Choice pet carrier is compliant with USDA and IATA requirements and is made specifically for PetSMart. It has durable construction, promises an assembly time of mere minutes and guarantees no tools required. It offers safety door locks and a carrying handle with ventilation on four sides.

5. Aspenpet Pet Porter Kennel

The Aspenpet Cargo Kennel is much like the first carrier in this list as its plastic wing nuts may need to be replaced by metal ones if necessary. It is vented on three sides, and is made of a light-weight durable plastic should additional holes need to be drilled on the back. It comes with “Live Animal” stickers and is available in a large size to accommodate bigger dogs.

How to Travel with Pets in-Cabin

How to Travel with Pets in-Cabin

People who want to fly with their pets immediately think of their poor creature being sedated and then stowed away in cargo. Owners go to amazing lengths to give every measure of loving care and comfort to their pet. Plopping them in the back of the plane with the luggage and watching the carrier be banged around on the tarmac just doesn’t jive with the pampered view of pet care. Great News! If a fury friend is small enough, there’s a possibility that the pet can ride along with the owner in-cabin.

If a fury friend is small enough, there’s a possibility that the pet can ride along with the owner in-cabin.

Eligibility to fly in-Cabin

Most airlines will allow small animals to ride in-cabin, given they meet certain requirements. Owners should shop for an airline that will allow pets in the cabin, and then ensure that the pet will be eligible. Pets weighing more than 15 lbs. may not be comfortable in a carrier that fits under the seat and will not meet airline requirements. Do research to find the dimensions that will fit under the seat to verify if the carrier and pet size will qualify.

Getting the Vet’s Stamp of Approval

Two things are required from the veterinarian: First, a general endorsement that your pet is fit to fly. Second, it may be required that the pet also have health certificate. Most airlines require a health certificate if the pet is riding in cargo, but not if they are riding in-cabin. The vet visit can meet both objectives, but there’s usually a limit on how old the certificate may be in order to be valid. It’s recommended that the certificate by dated between one and two weeks of your flight.

  • Buy Tickets/Reserve Space on the Plane
    Airlines limit the number of pets that are allowed on the plane. If verified “cabin pet friendly”, actions should be taken to quickly book the flight for both owner and pet at the same time.
  • Rules at International Destinations
    Some countries have strict laws around animal import and quarantines. Do research on regulations before bringing any animal to foreign destinations.
  • An Appropriate Carrier
    If the pet doesn’t already have a carrier, a shopping trip may be necessary. Soft sided carriers present fewer limitations as they can be squished to fit beneath the seat.
  • Getting Familiar with Carrier
    It would be ill advised to spring a new carrier on the pet the day of the scheduled flight. Stress will be alleviated by giving the critter time to get accustomed to the new travel home. Better yet, try a few short practices runs in the carrier.
  • Investigate Pet Facilities in Airport
    The trip will determine how dependent you may need to be on the airports pet facilities. Whether a long trip with extended layovers or a short trip where the pet can easily “hold it”, it’s wise to know what the options are in case they’re needed.


Your Packing List:

  • Vaccination records and necessary health information.
  • At least two meals worth of pet food.
  • An empty bottle for water (filled once past security checks).
  • A water bowl.
  • A collar and leash.
  • A favorite toy or something that smells like the owner.
  • Pet Treats.
  • Poop bags.
  • Wet wipes – just in case


Anticipate the Pet Boarding Procedure

It’s wise to visualize the boarding procedure ahead of time. It will be an entirely different experience taking your furry friend on a flight than flying alone or with other humans. It might be a bit intimidating to handle all the usual security hurdles in addition to finagling an anxious pet.

Sedation and Tranquilizers

While debate still remains on sedating a dog for flight, both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the V.D.A. Animal Hospitals advise against it. Tranquilizers can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. Quite often, pets are noticeably anxious when the plane is on the runway or taxying. Once in the air, most pets settle and fall asleep. To comfort an anxious pet, reaching down inside their carrier to provide a gentle reassuring touch can provide the calming effect needed to get through short term nervousness.

Useful Petmate Travel Dishes

Useful Petmate Travel Dishes

Whether a pet owner is the type who takes their pet along with them in every possible scenario or the type of owner who only occasionally elects to bring Fido along, at some point both of these owners will need a means to provide food and drink…and of course the occasional opportunity to relieve the bladder and/or “do their business”. A great many gizmo’s and options of pet travel tools are available to inspect at any neighborhood pet store. For the purposes of today’s discussion, the special attributes and features of the Petmate brand travel dishes will be the central topic.

A great many gizmo's and options of pet travel tools are available to inspect at any neighborhood pet store.

Practical Design of the Petmate Duo

There is a myriad of features that make this Petmate bowl attractive to any owner. Nothing has been spared to consider all practical aspects and every issue involved in feeding and watering a pet on the go. The travel bowl duo consists of two silicon collapsible bowls that neatly fit into a black twill container that can be fastened with Velcro. There are many positive aspects to this design. The bowl structure makes it stable, as to resist spills and tipping. The silicon material will not scratch flooring surfaces as might be the case with other bowl materials, the apparatus folds in on itself and is conveniently self-contained. As if that weren’t enough, the case is designed with twill loop on the rim of the container. The genius of this design gives the pet owner the convenience of hooking the traveling food bowl on to other objects. With the simple addition of a carabiner clip, the traveling food bowl duo can be clipped on to your purse, backpack or luggage.

Varied Sizes to fit Your Pet

The Petmate Travel Bowl Duo is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Instead, the buyer has a choice between a small or large duo. The small Petmate duo holds 1.5 cups in each of the two, collapsible bowls. The large Duo has an increased capacity of 3 cups in each bowl. Given these two options, there isn’t any size or variety of dog whose food and water needs can’t be met within these two options. Before you leave, plan to pack the right space-saving food bowl for your pet.

Cleaning & Storing the Duo

The Duo traveling bowl can be easily washed by hand or in the dishwasher. As is true with many silicon products, the silicon does not become completely dry in the dishwasher drying cycle. While this can be seen as a downside, it takes only moments to dry the remaining moisture with a cloth and the offsets that are achieved by using silicon far outweigh the small inconvenience of either allowing more drying time or drying it by hand. The collapsible design and lightweight small package make the Petmate Traveling food bowl storage worry free. The folded contraption can literally be stored anywhere, and the twill loop only adds options for places where the pet owner might hang it.

Six Important Tips When Traveling with Diabetes

Six Important Tips When Traveling with Diabetes

When you are traveling, the last thing that you want to think about is your health. For many of a vacation is, well, a vacation from everything. We eat what we want, and we do what want to do. As a diabetic, however, there are certain things that you should keep in mind.

For most people, traveling itself does not pose a health risk. The problem most arises from a lapse in judgment. If you are receiving dialysis make sure you are not skipping a treatment.

To keep yourself in good shape, following these tips will help plan an exciting and healthy trip.

  1. Research Your Destination – It is important to know what medical offices are available. Call your insurance company to ask if you can use and where. You may want to get travel insurance. Also, if you are in a foreign country, learn the language to be able tell someone you are diabetic.
  2. Bring Devices in Carry-on Luggage – If you are carrying testing strips, pumps, shots or other medical equipment, pack them in a small bag or in you carry-on luggage. This will ensure that they are not lost, and they will be available if needed during the flight. In addition, make sure you have enough supplies for the entire trip. Don’t assume you will be able to find them.
  3. Know Your Eating Schedule – Your schedule will fluctuate and most likely you will not be eating on a normal schedule. Have snacks handy to keep your insulin level steady, and try to plan to eat at a normal time if possible. When you are on a flight, ask the airline for healthier options ahead of time.
  4. Watch What You Eat – Desserts, soft drinks and alcohol are readily available at most vacation spots, especially if you are on cruise or Disney vacation. In the moment, it is easy to indulge, and that might be ok, sparingly. Remember it is not just the obvious foods to wary of; overeating should be a concern. It’s a vacation, but still, you need to watch your calorie and carbohydrate count.
  5. Understand Your Insulin Needs – When flying the air pressure in the cabin in the plane will affect your insulin dosage, especially when taking off or landing. It is best not to use your pump during these times as too much may be delivered. For those traveling cross country, the quick journey across time zones may also cause problems. You should adjust for this aspect. Ask your doctor for the best plan.
  6. Carry Hand Sanitizer – While this may seem simple, it is one of those things that most people forget. At a theme park, the beach or in a hotel, you will encounter germs. Your hands will be dirty. If you need to test your glucose levels, hand sanitizer will quickly clean dirty hands before you prick your finger.
    While this list is not all inclusive, these tips will help you have a better trip and keep your diabetes in check.

Are All E-Passports the Same?

Are All E-Passports the Same?

You May have heard of the term E-passport, or biometric passport, but actual passport may not be what you think. Unlike other electronic items, which are digital versions, an E-passport is a physical booklet that you carry with you. The difference is that it has a chip embedded into it like most credit cards have today. This chip carries all the information in your paper passport, and it can be read by a reader a short distance away.

While each country has their own look and feel to the passport booklet, the e-passport has its own standards that each country follows. This way all countries will be able to electronically verify the passport and the holder without any issues. Despite small differences, each one of them are very similar.

What Are the Standards?

Each nation will follow the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Standard that is laid out in Doc 9303. This document sets up the basic security standards that all countries must have in the chip. Not only do these standards help to keep your information safe, they also allow the various nations to have one system to read all of the passport information.

Per the standards, each chip contains the same information that is in the paper passport. The differences, however, are in the biometric information that is used to identify the owner of the passport. There are three ways to verify the identity: facial, fingerprint and iris recognition. Each country is able to use the one of its choice.

How Does It Work?

Much like with credit card chip readers, the E-passport will use a radio frequency to transmit the information. A reader will receive the signal form contactless chip, where the computer system will verify the data. If it determines the passport is valid, it will then use the biometric feature to verify. For instance, if the holder’s image is on the chip, then the computer will take an image of the person and match it to the image embedded onto the chip. Then, it will look at a list of people who are non-approved. If the person’s name is not on the list, the holder of the passport will be granted entry.

This works in a similar way to an agent looking at your image on the page of the book, and then looking at you to verify you are who you say are. Only, the computer will do this process much quicker, allowing for faster processing.

Who Uses It?

If you have a passport in the U.S., your passport will have the chip; however, the U.S. does not have a true E-passport as it does not contain biometric data. It does have the passport image on the chip. Most of the countries that are using them are European nations, including the UK, European Union, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Japan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Thailand among others. While there are privacy concerns, the chips have proven to be safe and reliable, making these a modern version of passports.

Traveling With… – Traveling With a Heart Condition

Traveling With… – Traveling With a Heart Condition

Traveling can be tiring. If you have a heart condition you should be cautious about your health. There is no reason to cancel trips or avoid them, but some precautions should be taken to reduce issues.

If you have recently had stress tests that resulted in normal ranges and negative angiogram, you likely will get medical clearance to travel. Be sure to remain on all medications that control arrhythmia and congestive heart failure. Traveling may also be embarked on if you feel well enough post bypass, stent placement, angioplasty or surgery. Wait a minimum of two weeks however, post the procedure prior to traveling any distance. In general, heart rhythm issues, heart failure, angina or high blood pressure are not a concern when deciding to travel. Be sure to check with your medical professional/s for their official assessment.

If you have had a heart attack that caused either shock or heart failure, do not travel less than 4- to 6-weeks’ time post-incident. Also, do not travel if you have consistent or recurrent chest pain, rhythmic disturbances or heart failure. Any heart condition combined with diabetes will have to be assessed by a cardiologist prior to travel.

Geography and Traveling

Traveling with a heart condition isn’t as easy as just picking a destination. It is very important to understand that local conditions can have an effect on the heart. Cold weather can strain the heart and may increase the risk of repeated issues. On the other hand, warm weather can lead to dehydration, which in turn can stress the heart muscle. Consider the unique issues to visiting developing countries without advanced medical care facilities, equipment, testing and services you may need.

Being Prepared When Planning a Trip

When planning a trip, be sure to schedule a pre-trip checkup with your physician. Discuss your travel plans including duration, location and activities. Let your doctor discuss your limitation and any added risks you should be aware of. Your physician may choose to do a clinical assessment if you are venturing to certain destinations. Ask him or her to always provide you with two prescriptions—one as a generic version of your current medications. This is so if you must refill the prescription while you are gone, you can do so easily.

A general rule of thumb is to take with you twice as much of your medicine you normally would need. Keep it in its original packaging to avoid issues with customs and to help doctors assess it in case of an overseas or out-of-the-country emergency. You also should store your medications in two different locations within your bags, i.e. on in a carry-on and one in a suitcase, to ensure they are always close by. Ask your physician for advice also on additional medicinal protection you may need for tropical illnesses when you are traveling.

Also, when traveling, be sure to have a written summary of your complete medical history, and include the most recent electrocardiogram. Be sure it is with you as you travel. Keep your physician’s name, contact phone number and email written down and on you in case of an emergency. Have an additional list of the medications you currently are taking and their dosages.

Finally, consider travel insurance. If you have a serious pre-existing condition to contend with. Medical costs can soar very quickly when you are traveling abroad. Anything that happens while you are out of the country can be covered by your additional insurance plan.

The Transport

The risk for people with stable heart conditions is considerably low when traveling on a plane. Inform security personnel about your pacemaker and always keep a copy of the brand of pacemaker you have, along with the type. This is in addition to your electrocardiograph. Your pacemaker is not affected by security screening machines. When boarding the plane, keep some of your medications on your person in case you need them urgently. Also, be sure to properly hydrate yourself to keep your blood circulating.

If you are traveling by car, there can be a lot of stress to the heart. Be sure to stop and take breaks every two-hours or so and do not drive after dark. Be aware of what medications cause drowsiness. When you arrive at your destination, the first few days are going to be the most difficult on your heart. Be careful to get proper rest and avoid straining yourself. Make note of altitude changes also and do not swim in water cooler than 20°C.

Emergency Procedure

If you do suffer an emergency, seek medical attention immediately. An emergency is an unusually fast (more than 100 bpm) or unusually slow heart rate (less than 50 bpm), an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of legs, or light-headedness. Any pain or pressure in the chest that radiates to your jaw, left arm or neck should be addressed, as this likely is a heart attack. Be sure to stay calm. Alert the people around you and seek medical help. When it arrives, give the attending your health information and ask for a physician who speaks English. Ask for a written record of all treatments so you can give them to your personal doctor at home for a follow-up. If possible. Request copies of all radiographs and testing also.

Traveling with… – Traveling while Pregnant

Traveling with… – Traveling while Pregnant

As long as there are no specific risk factors, traveling while pregnant is not a cause for concern. If, however you are expecting twins say, then long travels are not recommended. Be sure to discuss your trip with your midwife or doctor prior to departure.

It is best to travel between 16 – 28-weeks. After the fourth month of pregnancy, miscarriage risks are lowered and traveling until the end of pregnancy should be relatively safer. Prior to leaving, be sure to check your repatriation contract or insurance to ensure that your pregnancy is not an exclusion clause. Be sure to understand as much information as possible about health conditions in your city of destination.

Be aware of altitudes higher than 2,000 meters, as the fetus may be deprived of oxygen at this height. This is particularly relevant during the first tri-mester. It is also not recommended to partake in sporting events. Do not visit locations rife with yellow fever or malaria. And especially be aware of locations with limited healthcare or medical development.

How to Travel

You can fly during pregnancy if you have no complications such as placenta anomaly, uncontrolled diabetes, risk of premature birth or hypertension. Most airlines however will request that you provide them with a recent certificate of medical soundness if your due date is close. After 37-weeks they may refuse to allow you onboard. Be sure to check with each airline for their stipulation on pregnant passengers, as all have some variation.

Remember too that seats on a plane can be narrow and may be uncomfortable. Motion sickness can be increased during pregnancy and nausea may be experienced also. Wearing compression socks may inhibit swelling and moving throughout the plane’s cabin periodically may help maintain proper circulation.

If you are traveling via car, be sure to wear the proper safety restraints. The belt will protect you and your fetus in case of an accident. Place the belt as low as possible so that it is cradling the pelvis and belly. It is not recommended to go on long road trips (no longer than 2- to 300-kilometers per day) and you should always avoid cars that jolt. Stop regularly and walk a bit to relax.

Trains are the most commonly suggested forms of transportation for pregnant women. It is the least taxing and can be the most reliable. In addition, it allows you to move through the cabins freely.

Ensure That All of Your Immunizations are Up-to-Date

Speak with your physician to ensure that all of your immunizations are up-to-date prior to traveling. Discuss which ones are safe for pregnant woman and which are not. Living vaccines should be avoided. These include rubella, mumps, measles and tuberculosis. Inactive vaccines such as diphtheria and tetanus are acceptable. If absolutely needed, immunization from yellow fever can be administered but most favorably during the first trimester.

Any infectious disease is a serious health threat for you and for your child. A concern is malaria due to how dangerous it can be. Pregnant women are encouraged to avoid all infected areas of the world. It is it impossible to avoid, be sure to go out fully covered and ask your physician to give you a repellent. Be aware though that not all preventative drugs are safe for pregnancy – chloroquine, proguanil and quinine are some drugs used for malaria that are compatible. As much as possible, travel throughout clean and hygienic conditions as much as possible. Be very careful with ingesting water and food. Never take any unknown medications.

Always prioritize travel to countries where health infrastructures are built up and strong. Be sure to check with your insurance policy prior to your departure.