Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pet first aid and CPR- Preparation (Part 5)

Be prepared.  Learning pet first aid and CPR is one way to be prepared, but you still need to take a couple more steps. 
Ø  Know where your emergency veterinarian is located.  Your regular vet may only be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  So what do you do when your vet is closed for the night? Always have an emergency vet that you can go to in case of an emergency where your regular vet is not available.  And don’t just have the address and phone number on hand, DRIVE THERE! When there is an emergency you are more likely to panic and become disoriented which might turn a simple drive to the vet into a nightmare of wrong turns and wasted precious time.  Here is a list of local emergency veterinarian offices.  Find out which office is closest to you (considering traffic) and then take a drive to visit the facility.
VCA Aacacia Animal Hospital- 939 West Sixth Street, Corona  951-254-2993 
Yorba Regional Animal Hospital- 8290 E. Crystal Drive, Anaheim  714-921-8700
Animal Emergency Clinic- 12022 La Crosse Ave., Grand Terrace  909-825-9350
California Veterinary Specialists – Emergency clinics in Murrieta, Ontario, and Carlsbad

Ø  Have a pet first-aid kit on hand.  Having a human first-aid kit is better than not having any kit at all, but dogs and cats do have different needs that require different tools.  For example, if your dog gets a cut on his back leg a band-aid will not stay on nor keep the wound clean, no matter how sticky it might be.  And while your dog may normally be the sweetest creature on Earth, she may not be so sweet once she is under extreme stress from an injury.  According to First-aid expert, Denise Fleck, your first aid kit should include the following items:
·         4x4 gauze squares- to control bleeding and dress a wound
·         Rolled gauze- to secure the gauze squares and further protect the wound from dirt and bacteria
·         Adhesive tape or self-adhering bandage- to secure the rolled gauze
·         Styptic powder & cotton swabs- to control minor bleeding (such as broken toe nails).  Corn flour or starch will also work in place of styptic powder.
·         Blunt-nosed scissors- the purpose of blunt nose is to avoid accidentally stabbing your pet while attempting to remove a bandage or anything else.
·         Tweezers- to remove small objects like ticks, stingers, or debris from a wound
·         3% Hydrogen Peroxide- to induce vomiting.  Dosage: 1tablespoon per 15lbs of pet’s weight.
·         Eye wash or Saline solution- to flush minor wounds or eyes
·         Antibiotic ointment- to soothe and promote healing in minor cuts, scrapes, or bug bites
·         Needless syringe- to administer medications and other liquids
·         Digital Thermometer- to check your pet’s temperature (normally between 100.4˚ - 102.5˚ Fahrenheit)
·         Antihistamine tablets- for bee stings and snake bites. Dosage: 1mg per pound of pet’s weight. Double dosage for snake bites.
·         Antacid tablets- to soothe upset stomach. Mylanta works for cats and dogs.
·         Electrolyte replenisher- to aid in rehydration
·         Leash- to wrangle a pet in need of help or use as a temporary muzzle
·         Towel or blanket- to treat for shock, help transport or restrain a pet
·         Pet First-aid handbook- to assist with important details you need to know
o   Phone numbers and address to your regular veterinarian as well as the emergency veterinarian.
o   Your dogs vaccination records, list of current medications and medical conditions.

This list gives you the ability to put together your own first-aid kit, or several kits for different areas of the house or for your family and friends.  But if making your own pet first-aid kit is a job you would rather leave up to the professionals you can simply purchase one, ready-made.  Check out the Pet First-aid kits available through Denise Fleck at

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pet first aid and CPR- Education Cont’d (Part 4)

Of course experience cannot be surpassed by simply reading instructions, especially in this case, but it is better to have initial exposure through written instruction than not to have any at all.

The Pet Heimlich Maneuver

Local resident Denise Fleck, Pet CPR and first-aid instructor and owner of Sunny Dog Ink, said that the number one life saving technique every dog owner should know is the Heimlich maneuver.  But she always cautions her students to use the Heimlich only once you are certain the dog is choking and can no longer get air.  Denise says, “It has been my experience that dogs have a better chance of getting the object out themselves if they are able to cough or gag, and only in a few incidents have I needed to intervene and remove the object with my fingers.”   And even when she does have to attempt to remove an object with her own fingers, she is adamant about careful handling.  “Always be extremely careful when attempting to remove anything from your pet's mouth because you could push the object farther down your dog's throat, tear at the throat tissue, or get bitten in the process.”

If you have let your dog try to cough an object up, and attempted to remove the object but have seen no progress you will need to perform the Heimlich maneuver.


·         Stand or kneel behind your dog and place your arms around his waist, keeping his head down.
·         Close your hand, making a fist, and place your fist in the soft part of the stomach just behind the last rib.
·         Grasp the fist with your other hand and push up in a quick and rapid manner (similar to the Heimlich maneuver performed on humans). 

Alternative techniques:
For a small cat or dog, place him on his stomach in your lap and lower his head in front of your knees.  With the palm of your hand, deliver a sharp blow between the shoulder blades to expel the object.

Or, place your hands or several fingers on each side of the animal’s chest and thrust inward, pushing your shoulders and elbows in the direction you want the object to go - out the mouth. After two thrusts, give the animal a moment to cough and/or look in his mouth to see if the object is now reachable. If not, repeat. If your dog goes unconscious, place him on his right side and thrust with hand over hand on just one side of chest to squeeze the lungs.  

Please be aware that any of these methods can cause internal damage to your pet. While doing something to save his life is better than nothing at all, be careful while thrusting and be sure to go to the veterinarian straight away, even after you dislodge the object.

Here is a video to review some of the techniques talked about above.
Safe Dog Safety Tip: Choking 
Melanie Monteiro 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pet first aid and CPR- Education Cont’d (Part 3)
If your dog has ever swallowed something toxic, you know the sense of panic and helplessness you feel wondering if your dog will suddenly drop dead.  That is how I felt last year when I left the room for a split second and my 1 year old dog inhaled a pizza sized sweet bread dessert and a side of chocolate dipping sauce.   I knew chocolate was toxic, but I didn’t know how toxic, and I didn’t know what to do about it.  I used this technique to induce vomiting; it worked for me and saved my dog’s life. 
Inducing Vomiting
If you know your dog just ate something poisonous or toxic, like chocolate or anti-freeze, within the last 20 minutes, you can induce vomiting before any real damage is done.

What you need:
·         3% hydrogen peroxide (You can use salt, but 3% hydrogen peroxide will work faster.)
·         Needle-less syringe (eye dropper or turkey baster will also work, although none are absolutely necessary but they will make the task easier)

Dosage: 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 15 lbs of the dog’s body weight. (example: 30 lbs = 2 tablespoons)

·         Fill the syringe with the appropriate amount of hydrogen peroxide.
·         Open your dog’s mouth or slide in between the cheeks and gum line, to the back of the jaw. 
·         Slowly inject the hydrogen peroxide down the back of the throat. 
·         Give it about 3 - 5 minutes. If your dog doesn’t vomit within 5 minutes, you can repeat the process. 
**If your dog swallowed a dangerous object such as glass or splintered wood, you DO NOT want to induce vomiting. 
After induced vomiting, you may want to give your dog activated charcoal (burnt toast will also work) to absorb any leftover toxics that may have made it past the stomach.      

See a veterinarian as soon as possible if:
·         Your dog swallowed a dangerous object (large or sharp objects that may not be passable or may cause internal damage)
·         You can’t get your dog to throw up
·         Your dog ate something poisonous over 30 minutes ago
·         Your dog is acting disoriented or lethargic

A good rule of thumb to determine if your dog ate a potentially fatal dosage of chocolate:

Milk Chocolate: 1 oz of milk chocolate for every 1 lb of body weight can be fatal
Dark Chocolate: ½ oz of dark chocolate for every 1 lb of body weight can be fatal
Baking Chocolate: ¼ oz of baking chocolate for every 1 lb of body weight can be fatal

Below is one of the better videos on YouTube that give you a little insight on inducing vomiting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pet first aid and CPR- Education (Part 2)

Now you know your dog (or family pet) will more than likely experience an emergency at some point in his life.  And you know that prevention is key, inside and outside the home, but what next?
Local resident Denise Fleck, instructor, writer, trainer, and owner of Sunny Dog Ink, has several different titles as well as a very impressive resume with her active role in the pet community.  Denise has trained with seven national organizations in animal saving skills.  She has hands on experience volunteering at rescues and on an animal response team.  Denise has given pet first aid and CPR training to several celebrities, hundreds of pet care professionals, and everyday pet owners across Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire, and San Diego counties; increasing awareness and empowering people with new tools to make a difference and save a pet’s life.
In a recent interview with Denise I asked, Why is Pet CPR and first aid important for everyday pet owners?  She replied, “No one has a vet velcroed to the hip.  When your pet is injured it makes a big difference how quickly you can get attention to your pet, so knowing what to do can limit the pain and suffering and save a life.”
When I asked Denise, What is the number one life saving techniques every pet owners should know?, her first response was, “To know your pet.  Noticing signs when something is wrong can catch a lot of problems before they become serious.” 
Become familiar with your dog.  If you know your dog’s normal temperament then you will notice if he has a change in behavior, if he’s acting funny, or if something seems wrong.  Check over his body regularly to see if there are any current problems than have gone unnoticed but may become bigger problems if left unattended. 
·         Check his ears for smells, wounds or mites. 
·         Check his eyes to see if he can follow your finger at different lengths away. 
·         Check his mouth for clean teeth and health looking gums. 
·         Do a massage over his entire body (including the muzzle, tail and paws) checking for bumps, scrapes, ticks, fleas, hot spots, and sensitive areas your dog does not like you touching. 
The more regularly you do this, the more your dog will become use to you touching all areas and they will be more relaxed if you have to do so in an emergency.  

When I asked Denise what the number one life saving technique was, she automatically answered “know your pet” but as far as first aid techniques, she said the “Heimlich maneuver.” 
Educate yourself.   During an emergency, every second counts, so you need to act quickly.  Learning first aid techniques for various situations and knowing CPR can make all the difference in the result of a situation.  Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency will not only substantially increase your dog’s odds at living but also help you to keep from panicking until you get your dog to the vet.  You are not helping yourself, your dog, or the situation by panicking, so it is best to stay calm and act quickly. 
Check out the Sunny-dog Ink website for more information about upcoming classes with Denise.  Or, get a little education sooner…. On June 26th Denise will be teaming up with Team O2, in an effort to raise contributions for pet oxygen masks.  Starting at 4p.m., she will be teaching an “Introduction to Pet First Aid and CPR” at this event, located at 2400 N Canal Street in Orange (behind Walmart).  The cost is $10 and firefighter and other emergency personnel are free.  All proceeds go toward providing two local communities with pet oxygen masks (life saving equipment).   This is a win-win opportunity for you and the community. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pet first aid and CPR- Introduction (Part 1)

Has your dog ever started limping, had an allergic reaction to a bug bit or sting, or eaten a ton of chocolate before you could stop them?  Has your dog ever choked on a small toy, sock, or bone?  From scratches to heart failure, dogs will need medical attention at some point in their life.  If that isn’t bad enough, 9 out of 10 pets experience an emergency at some point in their life.  So, it isn’t a matter of IF your dog will need emergency attention, it’s a matter of WHEN your dog will need emergency attention.  And when that time does come, it’s up to your knowledge and quick action that will make the difference between life and death.
Riverside resident, Angie Lopez, shares her experience with her 3 year old Lab, Daisy. “The whole family was outside eating barbeque and enjoying the day.  We had no idea Daisy got into the house until we realized she wasn’t outside.  We found her laying on the kitchen floor. She had eaten everything in the trash, and I mean everything!  We had to rush her to the vet to get her stomach pumped.  It scares me to this day when I think what would’ve happened if we hadn’t found her in time or if we weren’t even home.”
So what can you do to increase the chances that your dog (or any family pet) will avoid becoming a statistic?
Prevention in always key.  Ensuring your dog has a healthy and dog friendly environment at home is the first step to keeping Fido out of trouble. 
·         Chemical cleaners are the obvious choice that should be kept out of reach of the dog.  But there are other household items our dogs may get into that can endanger their health as well, such as getting into the trash or choking on a hair scrunchy. 
·         Table scraps can also be dangerous for your pup.  Feeding Fido left over dinner can bring about surprises with unknown food allergies, poisonous food, bones that splinter, and upset stomachs (just to name a few things that can go wrong). 
·         Other than items your dog may ingest, you want to make sure he doesn’t over extend himself while playing where he might twist a leg, jump from too high and hurt his back, or fall from any height hurting any number of things.
·         Make sure your backyard and home are secure, where your dog can’t sneak out the back fence, eat his way through the drywall in the garage, or slip through the balcony bars and accidentally step off the balcony. 
·         And lastly, ensure your dog is well trained.  This is another preventative action that can keep your dog from running into the street and getting hit by a car.  If you have a pool, you can train your dog on which way to swim to finds steps out of the pool to avoid him drowning if he fell in.  And since you can’t control your environment when outside of the house, train your dog to leave anything on the floor that you did not give him.  This will ensure he doesn’t pick up a dead animal or strange food rotting under a bush. 

So now that you know the basics to accident prevention, you need to educate yourself so you will know what to do in the event of a medical emergency.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In-home Teeth Care for your dog

Cleaning your dog’s teeth is a simple task that takes less than a minute to do. 
Massage: If your dog is not use to you touching his muzzle, you may have to work your way up to teeth cleaning.  Start with regular petting and gentle massages on his muzzle. 
Broth: Then, a great way to start this new habit of teeth cleaning is with a little bit of broth.  Get a bowl of chicken or beef broth and dip your finger into it.  Your dog will be a little more welcoming of a yummy finger in their mouth.  Gently massage the gum line with your finger.
You may have to do this for a week or longer before your dog is comfortable with your finger in his mouth. And there is the possibility that your dog will never be ok with your finger in his mouth.  The steps you take next are up to you and what you feel safe doing.  If in-home teeth cleaning will not work with your dog, seek professional help from your veterinarian.
Brushing your dogs teeth
Tools: You have a plethora of options when it comes to products to clean your dog’s teeth. From toothbrushes to teeth wipes, you can pick and choose what technique works best for you. 
Riverside resident, Jennifer Anderson, has a Yorkie and a Toy Poodle, Coco and Channel.  She shares her experience with various tooth brushes on the market.  “The first brush I got was the one with three sides of bristles, so it could clean the front, back, and bottom of the teeth at the same time.  My dogs hated it, so I tried teeth wipes for a while.  The dogs hated those too and I didn’t feel like the wipes were doing anything.  Now I’m using the little rubber brush that goes on your finger.  The dogs still hate it but I like it better because it does the job and it’s a soft rubber so I don’t worry about hurting them on accident while brushing.”

As Jennifer experienced, there are a lot of choices on the market.  Traditionally, people will buy a tooth brush.  Whether it is three-sided or one-sided, the outcome is the same.  If you have a smaller dog, keep the size of their jaw and teeth in mind when finding a brush.
Next you need dog toothpaste (pet toothpaste).  Human toothpaste contains fluoride in it, which is toxic if too much is swallowed (for humans and dogs).  Because dogs cannot spit out toothpaste after brushing, their toothpaste contains natural preservatives that help break down sugar and are completely digestible.  Human toothpaste is usually a mint flavor that foams and freshen breath leaving your mouth with a clean, minty tingle.  Dog toothpaste is usually beef or poultry flavored (to make it more enticing to dogs) and it doesn’t foam or give the dog minty breath because it is designed to keep the teeth free of tartar and control gum disease.  Because tartar build-up leads to gingivitis, which causes bad breath in dogs, the toothpaste gets rid of bad breath by keeping the teeth tartar free.  
Brushing: Put a small amount of toothpaste on your brush, lift up your dogs lip and brush all their teeth.  Although some vets may tell you to brush in circular motions, anyone who has tried to brush a dog’s teeth knows that it’s difficult enough to brush back and forth, let alone in circular motions.  Do what you can.  Brush all of your dog’s teeth, but most importantly, get the back teeth which they use most often to break down their food. It’s ok if they lick the toothpaste, and there is no need to rinse or wipe the toothpaste off.  Do a quick brush and reward your dog as soon as you’re done to make it a positive experience. 
If your dog doesn’t respond well to the toothbrush and toothpaste you can try using teeth wipes or a wet cloth. Simply wipe and loosen the food particles (and plaque) from their teeth before it hardens. Their saliva will do the rest.
After Brushing
There are plenty of other options to help improve your dog’s dental hygiene between brushes and teeth cleanings.  There are water additive you can put in your dogs water bowl to help control plaque and tartar. Dental Bones (from nylon bone toys, to rope toys, to Greenies) are great for teeth cleaning as well.  Bones, especially rawhides, give the dog something hard to continually chew that will naturally break-up tartar as they chew.  So be sure to give your dog one of these beneficial treats regularly.       

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Does your dog have Stinky breath?

Has your dog come up to lick your face and you noticed an awful stench coming from his mouth?  Bad breath is an early and most easily detected sign of periodontal disease, or in your dog’s case, canine gum disease. 
What is Periodontal Disease?
Food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line, forming plaque.  If plaque is not removed it hardens and becomes tartar.  The tartar irritates the gums causing inflammation called gingivitis.  Gingivitis is the actual cause of bad breath.  As tartar builds it begins to separate the gums from the teeth, forming pockets which promote even more bacteria growth.  When teeth have reached this point it is known as periodontal disease and the damage is irreversible.
Does this sound familiar? Tartar, gingivitis, and periodontal disease are things that affect human teeth as well as canine.  The only difference is that dogs can’t brush their own teeth every night.  Periodontal disease can be very painful and can lead to loose teeth, abscesses, bone loss, or infection that can spread to the rest of the body.  Dogs can and have died from this disease.  Of course, certain environmental factors as well as genetic factors can attribute to the disease.  Older dogs, smaller breeds, and short-faced breeds are at greater risk for periodontal disease.  Hard kibble is a little better than wet food in that is creates less plaque.  And most importantly of all, whether you clean your dog’s teeth or have them cleaned regularly makes a world of difference.     
Treatment for periodontal disease varies depending on the stage of the disease.  All cases start out with a visit to the vet.  The stage of the disease will determine whether the dog gets a professional teeth cleaning or a tooth extraction.
Caring for your dogs teeth

You have a couple of options in caring for your dog’s teeth and preventing periodontal disease.  In-home prevention should always be on the top of the list.  Plaque hardens in 3-5 days.  Brushing your dog’s teeth every couple of days or even once a week can save you hundreds of dollars down the line.  There are plenty of brushes and dog toothpaste on the market.  Remember: dog toothpaste is not the same as human toothpaste and is safe for the dog to ingest; No rinsing needed.  But dogs can only use dog toothpaste!
 Your second option, professional teeth cleaning, should be combined with in-home teeth cleaning.  Overall, taking your dog for a professional teeth cleaning at least once a year is better than not at all, but if you do not do any in-home teeth cleaning, you risk the possibility of Fido developing gum disease.  Remember: 1 year for a dog is like 7 years for a human.  Going one year without dental care is like you going 7 years without brushing or seeing the dentist!  Most veterinarians do teeth cleaning, but usually by putting the dog under anesthesia first.  If that makes you uncomfortable there are companies that clean dog’s teeth without using anesthesia, offering professional teeth cleaning as often as once a month.
Canine Care is one of the leading anesthesia-free teeth cleaning companies in California.  The company is mobile, sending licensed Dentists, dental hygienists, and registered veterinary technicians to over 600 various dog care and supply facilities across the state.  Canine Care services 2 locations in Corona, 5 locations in Riverside, 5 locations in Redlands, 2 locations in San Bernardino, and 1 location in Moreno Valley.  For more information about a location near you and the next teeth cleaning day, check out their website.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What to do this weekend

If you are looking for something to do with your dog this weekend you are in luck!  For some reason June 11th seems to be a choice weekend for almost every city in Southern California.  From the Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood, to the Relay for Life event in Corona, to the blood drive in San Diego.  Yes, it’s a busy weekend for humans and dogs alike.  Here are a few dog friendly activities for your family…
5th Annual Super Pet Adoption Event
When:  June 11, 2011  10:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Where:  Irvine Animal Care Center   6443 Oak Canyon Road, Irvine, Ca 92618
Cost:  $1 donation will get you in.  Parking is free.

The Super Pet Adoption is like the OC Pet Expo, but on a smaller scale.  This event gives you the opportunity to see hundreds of pets available for adoption in one place, instead of driving from city to city.  This year’s event will feature hundreds of vendors, including over 50 rescues and shelters from all over Southern California.  There will be demonstrations, ask a vet and trainer booths, low-cost micro chipping, and a special book signing of the book “A Dog’s Purpose” by author W. Bruce Cameron.
Even if you are not looking to add another little animal to your household you can still participate by becoming a volunteer for the event.  The Irvine Animal Care Center is still looking for volunteers, ages 15 and up, to help with different aspects of this adoption event.  For more information on the event, a list of vendors and rescues, or for volunteer opportunities, visit The City of Irvine website.

Furry Fitness Challenge
When: June 11th, 2011   11:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.
Where:  Camp Bow Wow Anaheim    1431 N. Daly St., Anaheim, Ca 92806
Cost: Free to participate

This Saturday marks the start of a 7-week weight loss challenge for humans and their dogs (or cats).  How it works: Come to Camp Bow Wow on Saturday with your dog or cat to sign up and get an official weigh-in of your combined weight.  You get 7 weeks to get in shape with your pet and shed some pounds before the final weigh-in on August 6th, 2011.  “The team with the greatest percentage (not actual pounds) of weight loss wins!  The National Grand Prize is a FREE YEAR of services at Camp ($3,000 value!), plus $150 to and a free year of dog or cat food from Nulo (a $600 value)!  We even have prizes for the top 25 runner up contestants!” –Camp Bow Wow 

Camp Bow Wow is also offering special access to online tools where you can upload your photos or videos and track your progress.  This site will also give you access to a real doctor and a real vet to ask questions about your health or your pets health.

Stick around after weigh-in to check out the vendors, dogs for adoptions, enter for a raffle prize, and more.  Check out Camp Bow Wows official contest rules for more information.

3rd Annual Bandit the Biker Dog Memorial Blood Drive

When: June 11th, 2011   9:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Where: San Diego Harley Davidson   5600 Kearny Mesa Rd., San Diego Ca 92111
Cost: Free to participate

In honor of a special little Boston Terrier, San Diego Harley Davidson is hosting this year’s Bandit the Biker dog memorial blood drive to benefit the San Diego Blood Bank.  Having raised 154 pints the first year and 123 pints the second year, this year’s goal is to raise 200 pints of blood that will help save lives through the San Diego Blood bank.  With celebrity guest MC, Kenn Scott, this event will also feature giveaways for donors, pet adoptions, Free BBQ, live music, raffle prizes and much more.  For more information on this year’s event or for a flyer, check out Bandit the Biker Dog website.  For more details on Bandit the Biker Dog and how this memorial blood drive got started, check out Bandit the Biker Dog blood drive page for the story, pictures, and news clips.

All great events; All great opportunities to save a life, either by donating blood or adopting a pet.  Do your part to make a difference.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Traveling Safely with your Dog- Part 3

Car and boat are not the only ways to travel with your dog these days.  Sometimes life takes you to faraway places which you have to fly by plane to get to.  If you can avoid flying with your dog, it is the overall best option.  Traveling in a plane, whether the dog is in the passenger cabin or in the cargo section, is stressful for dogs.  In addition, shipping your dog can be incredibly expensive, dangerous for your dog, and a big headache dealing with airlines that are not pet friendly.  
Traveling by plane
There are three ways in which you can transport a dog by plane; in the passenger cabin, as excess baggage, or as cargo.
Passenger Cabin- Your dog can fly with you on the plane IF she is small enough to fit in a carrier that will stow under the seat in front of you (usually under 20 lbs, except for service dogs) and she stays in her carrier during the entire flight.  That isn’t bad, and if you have a small dog (or cat) this is the best way to go.
Excess Baggage- Your dog may be able to fly below you, in the cargo area as passenger excess baggage.  Of course, each airline has certain restrictions and regulations, and many airlines no longer allow animals to be carried as baggage, especially during the hotter months of May to September.
Former Corona Resident, JP Pineda, had a challenging experience flying her Shepherd mix, Duke, to Spain.  “I flew internationally with Delta, because they were one of the only airlines that would allow animals,” she said.  But she does not recommend Delta to anyone transporting an animal since “it was awful; they have really bad customer service.  I called several times trying to get everything I needed in place for Duke to fly and still they failed to mention their summer pet embargo where they do not take animals as cargo during the summer months.” So even though she had gone through the trouble of getting his flight in order ahead of time, she ended up having to make last minute arrangements to have him by fly air freight (cargo) instead.  
 Cargo- Sending your dog by air freight can be and should be a last resort.  If you can’t fly with your dog, if the dog exceeds the excess baggage limit, or if it is the summer months in which most airlines will not fly with live animals, you may be stuck with sending your dog by cargo plane.
 After JP had to change her plans to ensure Duke made it to her in Spain she had to arrange for a friend to take Duke to the airport while she waited for him on the other side. “It was ridiculously expensive.  Plus the vet bills and changing everything last minute, the costs can add up quickly.”
Sending a dog by plane can be a very scary experience for the human and a traumatizing experience for the dog.  So many things can and do go wrong, and many animals die during transport each month.  There are certain requirements and basic necessities any dog should have while traveling by air and the first thing should be a sturdy kennel that will hold up during all of the transportation.  Dogs can escape from their kennel, get tossed around in their kennel, and possibly even run over in their kennel.  Try to book a straight flight, with little to no connections.  This will lower the chance of your dog being misplaced, not transferred in time, or forgotten on a baggage cart.  And be sure your dog has access to water through a feeder that won’t spill.  A dog can get lost and left in baggage claim for days without staff even knowing a living thing is there.
You can use pet movers or relocation companies to take care of everything for you, but it will cost you a pretty penny.  These companies generally do all of the foot work for you as well as pick-up and delivery.  Many would say it is worth it to avoid the hassle of dealing with the airlines and customs.  But whatever   path you choose to take, do your homework.  Research the airline you are planning to fly with, their pet baggage restrictions and requirements and any seasonal embargos they might have.  Airlines are required to report any incidents with animals to the Secretary of Transportation.  The Department of Transportation then produces  Air Travel Consumer Reports each month, listing the number of animals injured, lost, or killed specifically by airline.  Be sure to make these reports apart of your research when choosing an airline.  In addition, gives monthly pet travel reports, tips, airline incidents and more through their website.  Some of the top pet-friendly airlines include Continental, United (Continental and United have recently merged) Jet Blue, Air Canada, and a new one you may want to check out a pet only airline called Pet Airways.  Once you’ve decided what airline you are going to use, contact the airline and let them know you are planning to transport a live animal to be sure they can accommodate you on your chosen flight date. 
Again, flying with your dog can be very stressful for everyone involved.  If you don’t have to fly, then don’t.  But of you do have to fly then please do your homework (months in advance)!  JP flew with Air Canada on the way home and though she had a much better experience, it was not without hiccups.  When JP was asked if she would do it all again she said, “It depends on the circumstance.  It would depend on how long I was going to be gone for and if it would be more stressful for my dog to be away from me for that long or more stressful for him to fly.  It’s a personal question every dog owner has to ask themselves.”

This article barely scratches the surface of traveling with your dog by air.  For more in depth explanations of what to expect when shipping your dog by air, check out