Pets may experience stress and anxiety from unfamiliar situations and locations. Cats are especially stressed by change. Instead of travelling with their owner on vacation, pets can be boarded at kennels or kept at home with a friend or pet sitter. However, that also includes unfamiliar situations and locations. This is not an option when moving permanently.
Pets may travel in the aircraft cabin, checked baggage or cargo. However, airlines set their own policies regarding the travel of pets. Pet Airways specialized in transporting pets, but failed as a business. In recent years private jet pet travel gained some momentum especially due to the discounted flight sales. In such travels pets are allowed in cabin with their owners which reduces stress and trauma.
The Humane Society of the United States recommends avoiding air travel if possible. Extreme temperatures and thin air have extra risk for brachycephalic animals such as bulldogs, Pekingese dogs, pugs and Persian cats. The United States Department of Transportation Air Travel Reports recorded 302 deaths, injuries and disappearances over 6 years with 35 deaths in 2011. Two dogs died in as many months on United Airlines flights in 2012.
If pets escape, they can face danger, even if they escape on the ground. A cat named Jack escaped from his carrier in American Airlines baggage handling at John F Kennedy airport, went missing for 61 days, and was eventually euthanized. Another cat escaped and was run over by a vehicle on the tarmac at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India when traveling with Jet Airways.
In 2018, United Airlines admitted to forcing a passenger pet to be stowed away in an overhead bin, resulting in the animal's death. Only two days later, another dog aboard a United flight was mistakenly sent to Japan instead of its intended Kansas City destination.
Pets riding in cars are safest contained in carriers tied with a seat belt. They are advised to be in the back seat or have the airbags turned off. Dog harnesses can restrain but the Center for Pet Safety found "a 100-percent failure rate to protect either the consumer or the dog". Unrestrained pets can interfere with driving and can be seriously injured in an accident, but no states require pets to be secured in cars.
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