Category Archives: Travel with Your Pet

Aloha from LAX to HNL








Great news for pets bound for the Hawaiian Islands. This new cargo service is available from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hawaii. Aloha’s unique service moves live animals with the utmost priority and care for transport of your live animals throughout the Islands of Hawaii. According to AlohaAir Cargo, “it doesn’t matter if you’re shipping dogs, cats, tropical fish, pigs, llamas or even a water buffalo. If they can safely and comfortably fit in our planes, consider them our personal VIPs (very important pets) to fly first class all they way to their island destination.”

Aloha Air Cargo has provided live animal and pet shipping for several years in the State of Hawaii. Our services are convenient and open to Hawaii pet owners (relocating or vacationing), breeders, hobbyists, zoos, rescue organizations, and dog show participants.

Your pet will receive royal VIP (Very Important Pet) treatment as Aloha’s valued guests from the time they arrive at the cargo facility to the time they are picked up at destination. The airline prides themselves on taking extra care of your animals and you can be assured it will be first class all the way.

Airport to airport service is available for shippers that drop-off their own animal at the airport and have the receiver pick up at the destination airport. Before being loaded and after arrival, your pet will be kept safe and comfortable in a shaded, covered, well-ventilated area.

For more information on this service please check out AlohaAir’s website.


Life Unleashed Interviewed by CNN

CNNLife Unleashed is pleased to announce that is was selected by CNN’s London news bureau to be interviewed for our pet travel expertise. We were interviewed for the story covering the Johnny Depp incident with his pets and not properly following Australia’s importation protocol for pets. Here is a link to the article in which Life Unleashed contributed – Johnny Depp’s dogs: Pirate chose wrong island to stash Pistol  By Susannah Cullinane, CNN.

(CNN) Johnny Depp may have been a success as swashbuckling Capt. Jack Sparrow but any potential smuggling career of his own has hit a large rock in the shape of Australia. Officials there are showing no mercy after Depp allegedly breached bio-security regulations by flying his two dogs into their country on his private jet, without proper documentation. Yorkshire terriers Boo and Pistol must be taken out of Australia by Saturday morning — or risk being euthanized.

Australia tells Johnny Depp: It’s time your dogs buggered off

It’s all about the planning — as any pirate worth his salt should know — and landing on this particular island requires more than just a map showing where it is. Pet travel experts say that Australia is known for having some of the most stringent biosecurity regulations in the world. The strict laws are to prevent the spread of non-native diseases such as rabies, ehrlichia, leishmania, leptospirosis and internal and external parasites.

Wrong place to smuggle little Treasure

“Australia is definitely the most complicated and strictest place to get a pet to,” Emeleye Bunny manager of UK-based PBS Pet Travel told CNN.

“You have two things that are the first to be done, a rabies injection, a month’s wait after then a blood test to ensure it has been effective,” she said, with the date of the blood sample for pets in the UK needing to be 180 days before travel.

Closer to the travel date, cats and dogs need to have internal and external parasite treatments, blood tests and a government export certificate from Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In addition to that, she said, pets needed an import permit from Australia and then 10 days quarantine on arrival.

According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture website, the same conditions apply for pets from the United States.

Tasman Sea neighbor New Zealand shares similarly strict regulations meaning pets can travel between both countries without having to be quarantined. But coming from the United States, Pistol and Boo would have fared little better there.

Between friends

In Europe, it is also easy to move dogs and cats between neighbors, Bunny said.

Citizens of member states can apply for a “pet passport,” used by cats and dogs — and ferrets. Pets must be microchipped to match them to their passport (or in some cases — pirates take note — have a tattoo). They must also have been vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel.

The United States is a common destination and easy to reach for Britons traveling with pets, Bunny said.

“We have regular customers traveling back and forth and then people who are relocating permanently. It’s so straightforward — so it’s something that happens a lot and very regularly,” she said. “When you start getting outside of Europe and the U.S.A. — places like South Africa, Dubai and Hong Hong — you start needing blood tests, vaccinations etc.”

And it seems Depp could just as easily have been caught out in the waters better known to his alter ego Capt. Sparrow.

“Challenging countries are New Zealand, Australia, Japan and some of the Caribbean islands — most of the places that are rabies-free,” Kathleen Gallagher of Life Unleashed pet moving company told CNN.

Life Unleashed offer a chaperone service for pets, but many countries require that animals only enter their territory as manifested cargo — meaning they need to travel with a commercial carrier, she said.

“Even with my fly buddy service there are certain countries you cannot bring a pet into unless it’s manifested cargo,” Gallagher said. “It doesn’t affect just air. Yachts run into that problem too. You can’t just take your dogs off a boat in the Bahamas without proper protocol.”

Good looks don’t cut it

The presence of Depp’s dogs in Australia came to light when the grooming company he took them to posted photos online, but canine good looks and breeding are not enough to circumvent the rules.

The secretary of Britain’s Kennel Club, Caroline Kisko, told CNN there were quite a number of British show dog owners who took them overseas to compete but they tended remain within Europe — often driving in the undersea tunnel between the UK and France known as the “Chunnel”.

“People showing in the UK will show on the continent because it’s simple and straight forward. I think there are very, very few people who would fly their dogs to North America, she said. “Certainly not Australia.”

And flying a pet anywhere abroad is not as straightforward as simply stowing a dachshund under the seat in front for take-off.

While pets tend to travel on normal passenger planes — with or without their owners — they can only do so in a specific cargo area of the aircraft.

“Not all aircraft are suitable,” Bunny said. “The aircraft has to have a specific area that is temperature-controlled and pressurized.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is responsible for regulations governing pet transport, for example the specifications of travel boxes particular breeds needed to be transported in.

Airlines in Britain have agencies to handle cargo at airports, Bunny said. “Trained members of staff ensure everything meets requirements before it’s accepted in for travel.”

Because everything is checked prior to departure, she said the chances of a pet being turned away on arrival are slim.

“When you travel with the airlines you have to meet the country of export’s requirements, country of import’s requirements and the airline’s requirements,” Gallagher said. “[Depp] would have wanted to contact the government before he went, work with a commercial airline — perhaps one of Australia’s airlines — and sent them cargo.”

So had Johnny Depp flown with a commercial airline — or merely tried to send his canine friends off on an unaccompanied seafaring adventure on commercial ship — they would likely have avoided the life and death scenario they face now.

But — alas poor pooches — Capt. Sparrow arrived by private jet.

As the famous Pirate of the Caribbean once said: “The only rules that really matter are these: What a man can do and what a man can’t do.”

Capt. Sparrow just learned what a man can’t do Down Under.

Kennel Requirements for Your Pet’s Travel

When it comes to travel, your pet’s crate is the most important component to ensuring a safe and comfortable transportation experience. Our shipping parter United Airlines offers some helpful tips and suggestions when it comes to selecting your pet’s kennel.

One of the most important steps you can take to ease the stress of travel for your pet is to make sure it becomes familiar and acclimated to its crate. Purchase the kennel as far in advance as possible. Veterinarians recommend leaving the kennel door open in the house with treats or a familiar object inside so that your pet may spend time near the kennel and perhaps venture inside on its own. Familiarization with the kennel will allow your pet to feel a sense of security and comfort when traveling alone in an unfamiliar environment. You want your pet to view the crate as a positive experience.

Life Unleashed and United Airlines provides the following advice to all pet guardians preparing their pet to travel and in selection of the crate:

  • Each kennel should contain no more than one adult dog or cat, or no more than two puppies or kittens younger than six months, of comparable size, and under 20 pounds (9 kg) each.
  • Dogs and cats cannot travel together in the same container.
  • The kennel must be constructed of rigid plastic, wood or metal. The roof must be solid with no doors or ventilation openings.
  • The kennel must have ventilation on three sides for travel within the 50 United States and Puerto Rico. The kennel must have ventilation on four sides for travel to and from all other destinations and for snub nosed breeds traveling to any destination.
  • The kennel must be large enough for your pet to freely sit and stand with its head erect, turn around and lie down in a normal position.
  • Your pet’s head or ear tips, whichever is higher, must not touch the top of the crate. If your pet’s kennel does not provide enough room for your pet to stand and sit, without the head touching the top of the container, you will need to purchase a larger kennel before your pet can fly.
  • Many airlines require an additional 3 inches of height clearance when transporting your pet to and from any destination outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Short-nosed dogs require a kennel one size larger.
  • The kennel door must be made of metal. Plastic and Fiberglas™ doors, including side plastic latches, are prohibited because they are not strong enough to protect animals during normal handling.
  • All kennel hardware must be secure and in good working condition. A metal nut and bolt must be secured in each hole that is in place to connect the top and bottom of the kennel. Please note that it’s common for kennels to have nuts and bolts that are metal and covered with a plastic coating on the outside, and those are acceptable.
  • Snap-sided kennels or kennels with plastic side latches will not be accepted, unless the shipper drills holes and adds metal nuts and bolts to secure the snap or latch closures.
  • Two dishes (one for food and one for water) must be attached to the inside of the kennel but also be accessible from the outside of the kennel so they can be filled from outside the kennel without opening the door.
  • The door must close securely. In accordance with federal regulations, animals must be accessible in the event of an emergency.
  • Regulations require that any wheels must be locked or otherwise rendered inoperable. Kennel wheels must be either removed or taped to prevent the kennel from rolling in transit.
  • The floor must be solid and leakproof and contain absorbent material, such as shredded black-and-white printed newspaper.

For more in-depth information on kennels and a chart showing the best way to measure your pet please visit the United Airlines web site directly at

Photo Courtesy of United Airlines Web Site

Life Unleashed Partners with Bags VIP

Like many of the major airlines, cruise lines, and resorts, Life Unleashed Pet Movers today announces that it has joined forces with Bags VIP Luggage Delivery Service to enhance the travel experience for our clients. As pet relocation specialists, first hand we see how hectic and overwhelming it can be just to get your pet taken care of and dropped off or picked up from the airline cargo facility. Life Unleashed decided to take it a step further and make the overall travel or relocation experience that much easier by partnering with Bags VIP. Bags VIP luggage delivery agents will retrieve your checked luggage same-day and deliver it within 100 miles of your accommodations or home so you can get started in on your vacation or begin acclimating to a new home with your pet. Bags VIP luggage delivery allows you to bypass baggage claim and gives you more time to focus on yourself and your pet without the added frustration, time, or hassle of waiting.



Bags VIP luggage delivery is available for all domestic flights arriving at an airport included on the Bags VIP list of airports served.

In general, Bags VIP luggage delivery is not available for passengers arriving on international flights because of U.S. Customs and Border Protection policies. However, if the service is available at the destination airport, Bags VIP luggage delivery is available for international travelers arriving in the U.S. from airports with Pre-Clearance, from U.S. Territories, or when an international traveler clears Customs and Border Protection at a U.S. airport prior to boarding a domestic connecting flight to a destination where Bags VIP is offered.

Bags VIP is offered on international flights ORIGINATING from the following pre-clearance airports:


  • Calgary International Airport (YYC) – Calgary, Alberta
  • Canada Edmonton International Airport (YEG) – Edmonton, Alberta
  • Canada Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) – Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Canada Montreal Trudeau International Airport (YUL) – Montreal, Quebec
  • Canada Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW) – Ottawa, Ontario
  • Canada Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ) – Toronto, Ontario
  • Canada Vancouver International Airport (YVR) – Vancouver, BC
  • Canada Winnipeg International Airport (YWG) – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


  • Bahamas, Freeport (FPO) Bahamas
  • Nassau (NAS)
  • Bermuda (BDA) – St. George, Bermuda
  • Aruba (AUA)


  • Shannon Airport (SNN) – Shannon, County Clare
  • Ireland Dublin Airport (DUB) – Dublin, Ireland



Checklist to Prepare Your Pet

Even though airlines differ in their requirements, this is a very helpful outline and checklist prepared by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. However, make sure to check with your own airline’s specific rules, regulations, and required procedures prior to traveling with your pet. It is important to realize that not all airlines are alike.


This is the checklist to prepare your pet when flying on KLM.  When checking in your pet at the airport, they will use a checklist to make sure that your pet is fit to fly.

Travel arrangements:

  • Be sure to arrange vaccinations, travel documents and other important matters well in advance. Contact the local embassy of your destination country for precise requirements. Remember that some countries have strict quarantine regulations.
  • Secure a label to the side of the kennel stating the animal’s name and feeding instructions.
  • Allow five days for your pet to get used to its kennel before the flight.
  • Do not allow your pet to drink for 4 hours before departure. Do not feed your pet for 4 hours before departure.
  • We strongly advise you not to tranquillize your pet.

KLM Pet Checklist Kennel:

  • Dog/cat must be able to stand with head fully erect (without touching the roof), turn around, and lie down comfortably.
  • Kennel must be made of rigid plastic with a built-in metal door. (Wooden kennels and kennels with plastic doors are not permitted.)
  • The kennel must have two empty dishes attached, or a single dish with 2 compartments for food and water.
  • The kennel must have a blanket, newspaper or other absorbent material on floor. Straw is prohibited.
  • The kennel must have at least one ‘Live Animal’ sticker and two ‘Arrow Up’ stickers attached to the exterior. KLM will provide these if necessary.
  • The door lock must be secure, but no padlocks may be used. Door hinges and locking pins must extend beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the opening by at least 1.6 cm (0.62 in).
  • Wheels must be removed or taped.

Age/quantity: Your dog or cat must be at least 10 weeks old. Each pet must travel in its own kennel. However, if 2 cats or 2 dogs of the same size each weigh max. 9 kg (20 lbs), then these 2 pets may travel in 1 kennel. Pups or kittens younger than 4 months may travel in the same kennel as their mother.


  • Your pet’s passport or health certificate must be in English. We strongly recommend attaching copies to the kennel. Make sure to bring the original documents with you when you check in.
  • The kennel must have a tag with the passenger’s name, address, and phone number attached.
  • A label must be attached to the side of the kennel stating the animal’s name.

Physical condition: Your pet must not appear to be physically distressed, injured or tranquillized. The pet may not wear a leash or muzzle, nor may these be left in the kennel.

SOURCE: The above information is courtesy of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Car Travel Safety Tips for Your Pet

The upcoming Memorial Day Weekend is a good time to think about summer pet travel safety before your next road trip. It is most important to remember never leave a pet unattended in any vehicle – not even for a quick errand. Experts claim that a vehicle can reach 120 degrees in just a matter of minutes whether the car is parked in sun or shade. This puts pets at such a risk of heat stroke due to their inability to perspire as humans do. It is also recommended that each pet should have access to water at all times in a vehicle. Even ice cubes work well to help pets avoid dehydration.


According to the Automobile Association of America, unrestrained pets in a vehicle are considered the third worst distraction to drivers. Safety harnesses, booster seats, and barriers between the seats are all excellent ways of preventing unwanted accidents. For those of you who have pets that love to hang head out the window – Doggles are the perfect way to prevent any eye injury caused from road debris as well as offering your pet’s eyes additional UV protection.

Comparing Pets to Peanuts

I just came across an interesting article regarding in-cabin air travel for pets. Air Canada has come under fire in the February issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal for allowing pets to travel during a flight in the cabin. Currently, like many other airlines, Air Canada allows small pets to travel in the aircraft cabin and under the seat.

An article in the well-respected Canadian Medical Journal suggests that airlines should ban pets from flying with passengers in the cabin. Medical experts consider pets to be an “allergic hazard” exposing people that have pet allergies to unnecessary risk. Some equate this “hazard” as being similar to people that suffer from peanut allergies. As a result some airlines have stopped serving peanuts. Now, there is a push to ban in-cabin pets!

Certain doctors feel that new legislation needs to be introduced to the Canadian Transport Agency to safeguard these passengers suffering from pet allergies. Experts claim that research suggests one in ten people suffer from animal allergies. Previous studies have indicated that pet allergen is present on the seats of both domestic and international flights sparking more concern.

Some feel that airlines need to put the well being of all human passengers above those of pets and if not, be forced to comply.  As cited in the Canadian article, ” Pets can be accommodated comfortably and safely in airplane cargo holds, which is where they belong,” said the authors.