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Pet Travel Agents - What Do They Do?

By: Rebecca O'Connor

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As more people see pets as family members, more of us are traveling with our furry children. However, managing interstate travel and vacations with pet-friendly accommodations can get a little tricky.

Even trickier though are the mounds of paperwork involved in traveling with a pet between countries. Pet crazy folks that can't imagine a long trip or a move to another country without their pets should find a pet travel agent. Even those looking for a simple trip but not wanting to deal with the hassle of organizing a pet-friendly itinerary could save time and headaches with an agent helping.

So what does a pet travel agent do? The amount of paperwork and planning involved in shuttling a furry friend across borders is staggering. Customs agents can demand signatures from your vet, vaccine records and even blood samples. Different airlines also have different rules and regulations that must be followed. One mistake and your traveling pooch or feline gets left behind. A pet travel agent manages all these details so you don't have to fuss over whether or not you have all your ducks in a row.

Gale Young, president of the 200-member Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International says that the pet travel industry is growing by 20 percent per year. Thousands of pets travel by plane every year and Young notes that, "When you use a professional pet shipper, you know they are doing things by the book, that things are being done the right way." If you have a big trip planned paying a pet travel agent can definitely be worth the extra money. It doesn't come cheap though. Hiring a pet travel agency for domestic door-to-door service can be as much as $1,500 an animal. For pet crazy folks though, just about any price is worth it to have their best pal with them.

Barbara DeBry of Puppy Travel in Utah runs a full-service Pet Travel Agency (www.puppytravel.com) and has many stories of pet owners stuck in the airport with a pet that cannot board the plane. If you're in the Philippines with your best doggie pal and they won't put him on the plane with you to get back to the United States, what would you do? Panic, of course, but having someone like Barbara lined up to help you with any situation that arises can alleviate a lot of the pressure.

If you have a big trip or relocation planned, a pet travel agent might just be your new best friend. They can shop around for you, prepare a budget, provide with a checklist of what you will need and also stand by for moral support. You can even request pick up and delivery service from some agents. Chances are whatever you need your pet-loving agent can help you get it. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and travel!

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