Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 5, 2006

When the furry must fly, preparation is key

Hawaiian Humane Society

Putting the kitties on a plane? Find out which airlines will treat them best and familiarize them with being in a carrier.

BOB SHANLEY | Associated Press

spacer spacer


Pets moving to Hawai'i must meet all advance requirements of the Agriculture Department; see www.hawaiiag .org/hdoa/doa_importing.htm.

spacer spacer


spacer spacer


spacer spacer


Get to the vet. Make sure vaccinations are up to date and pets are healthy for travel. The Humane Society discourages pet tranquilizers, as you want your pet to be alert.

Crate-train your pet. Experience makes animals comfortable with a carrier. Feed your cat or dog in the crate, or place a treat inside. Throw in an old shirt with your scent on it. Gradually keep your pet in the crate for longer periods. The crate should be large enough to let your pet stand up and turn around comfortably and make sure it's approved by your airline.

About food and water. Stop feeding your pet six hours before departure. Line the crate bottom with bedding in case of an accident. Freeze your pet's water so it won't spill during loading but will melt while traveling.

Get your pet an ID. Ensure your cats and dogs have collars and ID tags with a telephone number at your destination. O'ahu residents moving to the Mainland should call the Hawaiian Humane Society at 946-2187 to update contact information. To update info nationally, call AVID Microchip ID at (800) 336-2843.

Crate preparation. Write "Live Animal" in big letters on the crate, and tape on a photo of the pet, along with the pet's name and your contact info. At boarding time, ensure that the crate gate is zip-tied securely. Take a few ties with you and tape some to the kennel.

Learn more: For more on pet travel, see www.pettravel.com and www.petswelcome.com/milkbone/frameairtrav.

spacer spacer

More than 200,000 Hawai'i residents moved to the Mainland between 1995 and 2000, according to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Since 56 percent of O'ahu families include a pet, that's potentially a large number of animals on planes. Nationwide, it's estimated that some 200,000 pets are airborne annually.

While air travel for pets can make owners anxious, planning can provide peace of mind. There are dangers with air travel, but don't let fear discourage you. Fido and Fluffy would undoubtedly prefer a trip by air rather than spend a lifetime without you. For Hawai'i-bound families who have made a lifelong commitment to their animals, the furry must fly.

Every type of pet transportation carries a risk, whether it's a walk through a busy intersection or a drive across the island. Air travel incidents are rare. Recent regulations require airlines to report pet travel statistics, which contradict speculation that thousands of pets die every year while being transported. Only 56 pet incidents were reported on U.S. carriers from May 2005 through May 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Before you book your trip, ask the airline a lot of questions each carrier has its own pet-transportation rules. Some don't accept pets at all, while others limit the number of animals per flight. Certain crate sizes and styles may be prohibited. Most airlines will not allow pets to travel if temperatures along the route are too hot or too cold. Some major carriers that allow pets partner with smaller airlines that don't.

With airport security elevated, your pets and kennels will be carefully examined before loading. There's a danger your nervous feline or pooch will flee with all the strange stimuli of an airport terminal. Take a leash with you, or ask that the inspection be performed in your presence.

If weight requirements are met, and your pet crate can fit comfortably under the seat in front of you, your cat or small dog may qualify for cabin travel on a domestic flight. Bigger pets travel with the baggage in temperature-controlled comfort.

Most important, remember that you are the only advocate for your pet. Ask questions to find the airline that will make you and your pet comfortable while traveling.



Tag no. 107338 Still a frisky teen, Odie is just 1 year old and noted as "a great cat!" by his former family. This neutered male has a handsome tiger-striped coat mixed with Abbysinian swirls and white accents. He is comfortable with other cats and people of all ages.


Tag no. 102884 Speaking of Frisky, this friendly brindle and white hound is itching for a loving home. She's still a big puppy at 12 months of age. Frisky is enrolled in the shelter behavior training program, learning good manners and walking nicely on a leash.

These animals already may have found homes. The Hawaiian Humane Society and McInerny Dog Park at 2700 Wai'alae Ave. are open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For directions, special events and to see more pets available for adoption, visit www.hawaiianhumane.org or call 946-2187. Call immediately to report lost or found animals ext. 4.


Our new Web feature, Pet Project, is for people who love their dogs, cats and other animals so much they want to show them off to everyone. At Pet Project, you can submit a photo of your pet, read the latest news about pets, learn about new books on pets or join a discussion group with other pet owners in the community. Go online to http://the.honoluluadver tiser.com/section/petproject.