Five Things You Need to Know About the Delta Pet Policy

The internet was abuzz this week with word about the changes to Delta’s pet flying policy. And as tends to happen, people got about 75% of the way there before they took a sharp left turn and read it incorrectly. Here is what you need to know:

Delta_A330

1. Headlines saying “Delta no longer allowing pets as cargo” are wrong.

As of March 1, 2016 pets will no longer be allowed as checked baggage. This does not mean pets over 30 pounds will be allowed in the cabin. It means they must fly as cargo, which is different than baggage. (More on that in a minute.) The exceptions to this rule will be active duty military travelling to new posts, and certified support animals.

2. The in-cabin policies have not changed.

Pets under 30 pounds have always been allowed to travel as carry-on in approved carriers. This policy does not affect that at all, nor does it allow animals into the cabin that it did not before.

3. Delta Cargo is probably going to be a lot safer for the pet than travelling as baggage.

When a pet is to travel, airlines require a health certificate signed by a veterinarian. One of the worst parts for me is when they require a “statement of acclimation“, stating that a pet is acclimated to temperatures above or below a certain range. I live in San Diego. Pets don’t get acclimated to 45 degrees here.

Even if you are flying a pet from San Diego to Miami, if there is a layover in Denver then the pet may be exposed to extreme temperatures during that period, and that is where trouble usually happens. No matter how you plan, delays and problems occur and most problems happen on the ground.

You would be surprised at the number of people who get upset when I say, “This isn’t safe for your pet. I can’t sign this statement.” Most do not agree to delay travel. They just find another vet willing to take on the liability. 74 pets died on Delta flights in the last ten years.

In cargo, pets will be in temperature controlled holds at all times in air and on the ground, not sitting on the tarmac in the rain and snow (it happens). They will also utilize professional kennel services if overnight stays become necessary. While airlines do temperature and pressure control luggage holds, cargo areas often have a separate controlled temperature area specifically for temperature sensitive cargo, and this is where pets will go.

4. It’s going to be a pain.

  • There is no guarantee you and your pet will be on the same flight
  • It’s probably going to be more expensive
  • The pickup and drop off locations will probably be somewhere other than baggage claim

United has a similar plan in place already if you’re wondering how this will probably look. PetSafe costs in the $ 200-$ 2000 range and they have a long list of restrictions for breeds, most notably brachycephalic breeds. (But English Bulldogs shouldn’t be flying in cargo ever anyway.) In short, you’re going to have to REALLY want to travel with your pet.

5. Plan ahead.

Have your ducks in a row in terms of appropriate kennels, health requirements, and travel dates. International travel with pets can require a TON of work. To make it even more fun, domestic travel cannot be booked more than 14 days ahead of time. Those people who start thinking about this stuff a week before they’re supposed to depart are going to be in for a major surprise.

You can read the original Delta blog post here.

The liability of pets in luggage compartments has been a headache for veterinarians and airlines for many years, so I can’t complain about this. Whether this change is due to a genuine concern for pets, bad PR, or financial liability doesn’t really matter to me- all I care about is the fact that this is a good change for travelling pets.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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CucumberGate, Terror, Abuse, and You

So by now you’ve all seen the videos, right? A person places a cucumber behind a cat who’s blissfully chomping away on some food. The cat turns around, spots the sinister gourd, and jumps about five feet in the air.

The first thing that happened was that a bunch of people thought it was funny and shared it all over the internet.

The second thing that happened was a bunch of experts chimed in warning about how this wasn’t a benign thing, that cats could be permanently scarred, and that people should not do this to their own cats. The Huffington Post called on a cat behaviorist for advice. The AVMA put out a position statement on the controversial topic.

The third thing that happened was another group of people shared the second group’s warnings and began fighting with the first group of people who thought it was funny, and now we have CucumberGate.

Now granted, while I don’t think intentionally scaring other people or animals is a particularly nice thing to do, is it really worth getting all that upset about? Does one startle cause permanent psychological damage?

I unintentionally scare the crap out of my dog every day. Whether it’s a belt on the floor or the vacuum, he worries. Then he gets over it. My kids have been traumatized by Santa Claus from birth until age at least age 5. The first couple of times it was unintentional, then I knew what was coming and did it anyway because #tradition. They still say Christmas is their favorite holiday.

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I didn’t have any cucumbers in the house this morning, so I took out a zucchini. I felt comfortable doing this for a couple reasons- first, Penelope is a fearless cat. Second, she’s been watching me cut up zucchini for months now and I thought it was an acceptable risk. As you can see, she didn’t give two hoots, which is exactly what I assumed would happen. If she did get startled, well, I guess I would be a horrible person, but it wouldn’t be the first time I made the wrong call.

Bottom line:

  1. People who don’t think it’s funny aren’t humorless doofs. It’s good to care.
  2. People who do think it’s funny aren’t sadistic psychopaths.

Unless you’re saying world famous animal advocate and voice of Dory herself is a psychopath, then we’re all screwed:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Yeah, it’s not the kindest way to conduct yourself, but life goes on, right? While I have no problem with people voicing a little, “hey, maybe this isn’t the nicest thing,” I worry when people call something like this animal abuse because we animal lovers have a hard time getting taken seriously sometimes as it is.

I struggle with “that’s not nice” getting conflated with “abuse”, because if that’s where we’re drawing the line I have a few Christmas photos I need to burn before CPS sees them. And so do about 9000 people on Awkward Family Photos.

 

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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I like to post dramatic rescue videos like this one every so often…

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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I have 2 3yr old maltipoo and just got a 2mo old l…

I have 2 3yr old maltipoo and just got a 2mo old labradoodle whos really full of energy. My male is ok with her playing with him but its been 2 days and he keeps trying to hump her not letting her out of his sight. My other one is scared of her own shadow so shes very slowly coming around but growl and snarls at the lil one but wags tail as doing it… so not sure if thats a good thing. Id like to know best way to go about this. The puppy is bigger than my older dogs.
BAD RAP Blog

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Vicky — mascot of the USS Iowa

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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California’s End of Life Option Act and How it Would have Changed Mom’s Death

In 2014, a young, vibrant woman named Brittany Maynard moved from the home in California she had known all her life so that she could die on her own terms in Oregon. Diagnosed with glioblastoma, arguably one of the most monstrous forms of cancer in this world, Maynard was willing to uproot her life, put her face out into the world, and share a most intimate decision with a universe of strangers in order to help people understand why someone might make the decision to hasten their death.

With little fanfare and no more than a small sidebar in the local newspaper, California has just become the fifth state to legalize assisted death for terminally ill patients. When I read it, on a plane on my way to deliver a talk on how we deal with death in our culture, I cried. I cried for Maynard, and for my mother (seen here on the left at last year’s Fourth of July bash), and for me.

June28th 4th @ Santa Luz 110

Like so many others, I was transfixed with Maynard’s bravery in opening herself up to scrutiny and criticism. I put myself in her place and wondered what I would have done in the same situation. As a veterinarian who routinely helps people gently end the lives of pets suffering from terminal disease, the idea is not as challenging to me as it is to many. Especially with brain cancer- something that can rob you of the essence of who you are, turn you into someone else, snaking its way without order or reason through your control panel until your body can no longer hang on.

It is, to me, one of the most petrifying propositions out there.

So when my own young and vibrant mother was diagnosed with the very same cancer not five months after Maynard’s death, I fell to my knees and cried with grief, with anger, and above all with terror. For we, too, live in California, and my mother’s delicate health by the time she was diagnosed did not allow us the luxury of moving anywhere. Three weeks before her diagnosis, she was hiking though Red Rock. Three weeks after, she was bedbound. It happened that quickly.

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My entire family was focused on my dear Aunt Michele’s mobility, and no one knew what was brewing with my Mom.

I found myself preoccupied with fear for my mother, and worry about what I might do if her pain and suffering were unable to be controlled. Hospice and palliative care is excellent, but even that has its limits. People I thought were my friends sent me all sorts of horror stories they have heard about this cancer, expressing remorse at the news and the hope that my mother, ever so dignified, would not be one who would lose it all in the fugue of neoplasia.

I am really good at delivering an easy death. I have access to drugs no one else can get, and they are remarkable. We can give them to dogs and cats and rats and horses, but not to people. People have to ride it out on cocktails with middling degrees of efficacy. Our own perceptions make it worse: more than half of palliative care professionals have been accused of “euthanasia or murder” by providing adequate palliation to dying people, because euthanasia for a pet is mercy but for a human is dastardly. We have a long way to go in how we think of these things.

Fearing the Loss of Control

Instead of concentrating on my time with my mother, I spent most of it worrying- what would I do if the meds stopped working? How would I respond if she asked me to help her die? How could I refuse? How could I say yes? I had no reassurance that the necessary tools to control the situation were in my toolbox, and that took away from so many little moments I wish I could have back.

In the end, my mother’s cancer took mercy on her. She died quickly, as she wished, and never once complained of pain. She forgot things, felt sleepy, and drifted off oh so gently into that good night. It was a blessing, strange as it sounds. She willed herself to progress the way she wanted.

Had we been given access to life ending drugs, she would likely have filled the prescription.

Had she filled the prescription, secure in the knowledge that she had some control, she would not have taken them. There is no doubt in my mind. She didn’t need them. It doesn’t change my mind one bit as to their necessity, doesn’t make me any less inclined to cheer this new law and fight any who would seek its appeal. It would not have changed the medicine, but it would have changed the emotion, the fear, and the terror.

Because it’s not the inevitability of the outcome that matters in these situations, it’s the little bits of control we are given in times where so much of it has been taken away.

And that would have changed so much.

 

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Las Vegas to the Rescue! Calendar Helps Dogs in Need

Las Vegas has been referred to as The Capital of Second Chances, and thanks to a just released calendar featuring famous Nevada natives a brighter tomorrow is in the cards for dogs and cats who need…



[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


DogTipper

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Another Tumour

Lacey had her third Mast Cell Tumour removed the other week.  It was on her back this time so we could do the surgery locally and the recovery was so much easier – no bandage changes every few days, no trips to Calgary for check ups, no bootie every time she went outside.  We were able to go for walks again right away too and her anal glands (which get infected every time she has a tumour) seemed to bother her more than the incision itself.  With a little more hair growth, the scar should be invisible. We got clean margins so that was a relief!

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Cancer for President 2016

I took time out of my crazy busy schedule to watch the debates last nite. I wish I didn’t but I’m glad I did.  It’s time to face facts folks.  No politician gives a shite that you lost a loved one to cancer or that you yourself have it.  DC has a ‘deaf ears’ policy towards cancer even though it is the greatest global killer ever.
Check out this graphic
Every scientific and medical organization agrees that cancer is the deadliest and most pervasive pandemic afflicting not only adults but innocent children as well.  It no longer discriminates.  
And yet as we bear witness to a cross species scourge that’s killing not only millions of people every year but millions of companion animals as well, what does our president do – a systematical and systemic reduction in funding for the National Cancer Institute.  I wrote previously about this and put forward the facts in my blog #NotMyPresidentDay 
Now I’m not just Obama bashing since the past two administrations are guilty of hamstringing the NCI budget but the most egregious sin Obama committed was funding $ 6.2 billion in Ebola virus research – almost twice the budget of NCI for a disease that claimed only a few lives in the US.  
Oh and nevermind that he gave out over $ 20 billion last year to ‘renewable energy’ concerns that failed so piss that money down the toilet. 
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From all of the death and tragedy I’ve witnessed on my travels, I’m truly at a loss why cancer is not front and center in any and all national debate and discussion.  
Yes I’ve heard all of the reasons and rationalizations but my conclusion comes down to this: cowardice and political expediency.    
We used to be a nation of hope and resolve.  Of dreams and ideas.  It took us only 10 years to put a man on the moon defying all odds and previous scientific limitations.  
But now we either relent because big pharma is making so much money from selling blockbuster cancer drugs and politicians are in their pocket or we’ve given up as a nation and accepted the inevitability of complacency.  
There is no one in this world that has put their life and the lives of their dogs at risk for as long and far as I have for this cause but given the current political environment, every day I ask why?  
We’re only a couple of fuzzybutts and yes, we’ve shown what two dogs can do for the world but it’s not enough.  It’s time to make cancer a national referendum or else..
#CancerWins2016

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

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Thank you Veterans

Dogs have been members of the military for many, many years, but they weren’t always seen as soldiers. At least to the leadership.

During the Vietnam War, when the troops withdrew, the dogs were left behind as ‘surplus equipment.’ To this day, that fact haunts many of their handlers, who knew without a doubt that these loyal canines were nothing short of soldiers themselves.

It is not an easy job. More than 500 dogs are deployed serving the military at any given time. They protect, serve, give emotional support, and sometimes die in the line of duty. Up to 5% of canines are thought to suffer a canine form of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Fortunately today, attitudes towards military dogs have changed. Military canines are recognized as fellow soldiers, who are treated when injured, retired when done with their work, and thanked for the sacrifices they make without complaint.

gabe

I met Hero Dog Gabe at the 2013 Rose Parade. He has since passed, but not without leaving a wonderful legacy.

Our veterans give so much and are so humble about what they go through in service to the country. I have so much respect for the sacrifices they and their families make every day. One day doesn’t seem like nearly enough to honor you.

Thank you, to the men, women, and canines of the armed forces.

If you’d like to see some amazing images, check out NatGeo’s Dogs of War gallery.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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