Is your pet safe when traveling in air cargo ?

A rabbit's death is raising questions from fliers about how safe it is to fly animals.

It's heartbreaking to think about losing a pet.

A 10-month-old rabbit died on a United flight from the U.K. to Chicago.

Simon's owner says he was healthy and was checked out by a vet three hours before the flight. He was expected to eventually be the world's biggest rabbit.

His owner says she has sent rabbits around the world and never had anything happen like this.

Craig Toby has never allowed his dog Tucker to fly in Air Cargo with any airline.

“I do not feel it's safe and I would never do it,” says Toby.

In fact, when he relocated to Florida from Indianapolis, he drove his pets instead of using air cargo.

“I've heard of so many deaths,” says Toby.

He says it's the fact that he can't see his dog that worries him, but there is one thing that might change his mind.

“I would have to see the area. Maybe fly in the area myself,” Toby says.

Cory Robinette is an international pet moving specialist with Air Animal Pet Movers in Tampa.

“I think air cargo has a stigma that it's a big black hole,” says Robinette. “This compartment is pressurized and temperature control, very like the condition you or I are flying in on a plane. “

Robinette urges pet owners to prepare in advance. The worst thing you can do is have your pet board a plane last minute. 

She offers these tips:

  • If you’re traveling overseas, give yourself 6-7 months to prepare.
  • If you stay in the country, then you’ll need 2-3 months.
  • Have your pet get accustomed to using its crate for long periods of time. This will help with the stress or anxiety your pet can feel during the flight.
  • Also, don't overfeed or overexercise your pet prior to the flight. Many people tend to give their pet too much food because they fear they will get hungry during the flight, but Robinette says they can cause their stomach to turn.

You'll also need an Airline Veterinary Health Certificate to make sure your pet is health to fly.

“We can prepare the pet (and) understand the medication needs. and I can make sure everyone involved with the pet knows the protocol,” says Robinette.

So, what’s the likelihood your pet will die? Robinette says the chances are very low.

“It's not likely. We are moving pets daily all around the word and we don't have incidents of death."

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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