Transportation of Dogs and Cats - Position Statement
June 15, 2017
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) strongly recommends that if dogs and cats are to be transported, the manner of conveyance should ensure the safety, security, health and welfare of the animal, and the public safety.
- The CVMA recognizes existing provincial, national, and international legislation, guidelines and/or standards for humane transportation.
- The CVMA supports and recommends the use of approved (e.g., IATA), safe, secure, and rigid travel enclosures with adequate ventilation that have been secured within the conveyance.
- The CVMA opposes the unsecured transportation of dogs in exposed or open vehicles.
- The CVMA supports allowing small dogs or cats to travel with their owners in the airline passenger cabin.
- The CVMA encourages pet owners to seek guidance from their veterinarian concerning the fitness of their animal to travel.
- Conveyance refers to motorized or self-propelled modes of transportation including, but not restricted to, bicycles, motor vehicles, airplanes, trains, or ships/vessels.
- The CVMA recognizes existing provincial, national, and international legislation, guidelines and/or standards for humane transportation, such as those indicated by the Canadian Transport Agency, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Live Animals Regulations, Canada’s Health of Animals Regulations (part XII), and the CVMA’s Kennel Code of Practice (1-7).
- The use of approved (e.g., IATA), safe, secure, and rigid travel enclosures with adequate ventilation that have been secured within the conveyance are recommended. Other forms of containment, such as wire cages, and collapsible or soft-sided carriers carry a greater risk of injury in case of impact.
- Whenever possible, pets should be acclimated to the enclosure before travel to minimize stress associated with transportation.
- In the case of motor vehicles, where a rigid enclosure is not available, restraint devices such as crash-tested seatbelts and body harnesses (8) are strongly recommended to prevent driver distraction, ejection of the animal from the conveyance through an open window, and risk to other occupants of the conveyance in the event of a collision (9). Restrained animals must be supervised in order to prevent accidental entanglement, entrapment, or strangulation.
- Additionally, restrained pets or pets travelling in an enclosure within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle should be secured in the rear to avoid injury or death from an airbag inflated in the case of impact (10).
- The CVMA opposes the unsecured transportation of dogs in exposed or open vehicles such as motorcycles, or pick-up or flatbed trucks due to the high risk of injury or death of the animal in the event of ejection; the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust; the potential for distraction of the driver; and the risk of causing an accident involving other motorists and/or pedestrians (10-15).
- Some jurisdictions have enacted legislation prohibiting the transportation of dogs outside the passenger compartment of a vehicle unless the animal(s) is secured in a kennel or other prescribed animal restraint device (4-6).
- Adequate climate regulation and ventilation are required for the safe transportation of animals in all forms of conveyance. These include, but are not limited to, regulation of temperature, humidity, circulating ventilation, and air pressure (if appropriate). Weather conditions for the duration of travel should be monitored. Dogs and cats must not be left unattended in parked vehicles or on an airport apron during hot or cold weather, as interior vehicle temperatures can change drastically in short periods of time (16). Muzzles should not be used when the animal is in transport, as muzzles restrict their ability to thermoregulate by way of open mouth panting.
- Alarm devices that monitor vehicle temperature, battery voltage, and engine stall are strongly recommended for any operational canine units (i.e., military or police) which are unattended in the vehicle. Handlers must be in close proximity to the vehicle to hear the alarm and respond immediately.
- The CVMA encourages pet owners to seek guidance from their veterinarian concerning the fitness of their animal to travel, particularly in cases of transport for long distances, conveyances without climate control, and for young, senior, or debilitated animals. For some conveyances, such as airplanes, a health certificate may be required by the associated airline to demonstrate health and fitness of the animal to be transported (1).
- Documentation required for travel depends on the destination and mode of transportation. At minimum, the pet's health and vaccination record should accompany the pet. Other documentation that may be required by transportation companies or regulatory authorities may include veterinary health certificates, import permits, documentation of rabies and/or other vaccinations/titres, electronic identification (e.g., microchip), and/or parasite prevention.
- While the CVMA supports allowing small dogs or cats to travel with their owners in airline passenger cabins for the benefit of both the animal and the owner, allowing pets in the passenger cabin is ultimately the decision of the airline. The CVMA recognizes the position of the Canadian Medical Association that pets pose a health risk to those with pet allergies (17) as well as the Canadian Transportation Agency's (CTA) need to balance pet transportation within the airline industry with the health and welfare of both pet and passengers (18). The CVMA encourages pet owners to research and familiarize themselves with the pet transportation policy of the airline carrier so they can determine how it may impact their travel plans and the health and welfare of their pet(s).
- The CVMA supports transportation companies (e.g., airlines and rail companies) extending special privileges to service dogs that assist their owners during travel.
- International Air Transport Association. Available from: http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/live-animals/pets/Pages/index.aspx Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- Canadian Transportation Agency. Available from: https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- Government of Canada. Health of Animals Regulations. C.R.C., c.296. Available from: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._296/ Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- CanLII. New Brunswick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Chapter S-12 1997,C27 s.1. Available from: http://canlii.ca/t/51vg3 Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- Province of Manitoba. Manitoba Laws – Manitoba Animal Care Act. CCSM c. A84 1996, 5 (e). Available from: http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/a084e.php Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- Motor Vehicle Act [RSBC 1996} CHAPTER 318, s 72. Available from: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/LOC/freeside/--%20M%20-/45_Motor%20Vehicle%20Act%20RSBC%201996%20c.%20318/00_Act/96318_01.xml#section71 Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- CVMA Kennel Code of Practice. 2007, 2nd ed. Available from:
https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/Code-of-Practice-for-Canadian-Kennel-Operations Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- Center for Pet Safety 2013 Harness Crashworthiness Study Summary Report.
Available from: http://centerforpetsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013_cps_harness_study_summary_final.pdf Last accessed April 19, 2017.
- American Automobile Association. “One in five respondents to AAA/Kurgo survey admit to driving with dog in their lap” 2010. Available from: http://newsroom.aaa.com/2010/08/aaa-kurgo-2010/ Last accessed April 11, 2017.
- Canadian Automobile Association. Car safety for pet passengers. Available from: http://caanational.dimentians.com/car-safety-for-your-pet-passengers/ Last accessed April 19, 2017.
- Houston DM, Fries CL, Alcorn MJ, Thomas SS. Injuries suffered by dogs from riding in the back of open pickup trucks: A retrospective review of 70 cases. Can Vet J 1995;36:510-511.
- Agran P, Winn D, Anderson C. Injuries to occupants in cargo areas of pickup trucks. West J Med 1994;161:479-482.
- Anderson CL, Agran PF, Winn DG, Greenland S. Fatalities to occupants of cargo areas of pickup trucks. Accid Anal Prev 2000;32:533-540.
- Hampson N, Norkool D. Carbon monoxide poisoning in children riding in the back of pickup trucks. J Am Med Ass 1992;267:538-540.
- American Veterinary Medical Association. Available from: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/pets-in-vehicles.aspx Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- McLaren C, Null J, Quinn J. Heat stress from enclosed vehicles: Moderate ambient temperatures cause significant temperature rise in enclosed vehicles. Pediatrics 2005;116: e109-e112. Available from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/116/1/e109 Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- Stanbrook MB, Kovesi T, Hebert PC. Pets in airplane cabins: An unnecessary allergic hazard. CMAJ 2010;182:421.
- Canadian Transportation Agency Issues Decision on Allergies to Cats in Aircraft Cabins. Available from: https://www.otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/ruling/227-at-a-2012 Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- American Veterinary Medical Association. Travelling with your dog or cat. Available from: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/CVI/Pages/Traveling-Dog-Cat.aspx Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. Available from: http://www.ipata.org/ Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- Animal Transportation Association. Available from: http://www.animaltransportationassociation.org/ Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- The Humane Society of the United States. Travel Safely with Your Pet by Car, Airplane, Ship or Train. Available from: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/traveling_tips_pets_ships_planes_trains.html?referrer=https://ca.search.yahoo.com/ Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- Air Canada. Travelling with your pet. Available from: http://www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/airport/baggage/pets.html Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- Via Rail. Travelling with pets. Available from: http://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/baggage/travelling-with-pets Last accessed April 12, 2017.
- Center for Pet Safety. Available from: http://www.centerforpetsafety.org/ Last accessed April 12, 2017.
(Adopted March 4, 2017)