Today I had a great conversation with a Veterinarian and more importantly a Pet Parent to Nya, her 5 year old American Bulldog (let's not forget about her college age human son) and who is on the cusp of changing lives all over the country when it comes to Pet Travel.
Dr. Nelva Bryant lives in Georgia and loves veterinary medicine because there are so many aspects to it that touches people and their pets every day. That is why she chose to specialize and be the authority on Best Practices When Traveling with Your Pet (Dog or Cat).
When asked, "Tell me about your career path?" she replied:
"I always wanted to become a veterinarian. My parents encouraged me to work hard, take chances, and never give up. My career reflects those values. As a veterinarian, I worked in small animal clinical practice, completed a Veterinary Pathology Residency and Fellowship, completed a Master's in Public Health (MPH) Degree, served my country as an Active Duty Officer in the US Army Veterinary Corps and US Public Health Service, and served as Delta Air Lines' (Industry-First) Staff Veterinarian."
Dr. Bryant made history in her role as the very first Staff Veterinarian for an airline and made significant changes while on staff before the pandemic. The brilliance of this position was created by the COO of Delta Airlines, but the position reported to Cargo Operations. Her role was to analyze their systems, fix policies, reviewed and revised the training program as well as taught animal policies weekly, developed job aids for training and fixed any errors that may have occurred. Not to mention the countless other responsibilities that she had in addition to these.
Dr. Bryant is so much of a "Rock Star" in the Veterinarian medical community that she has been nominated for membership as a Distinguished Fellow in the Veterinary Medicine Academy of the National Academies of Practice. This is an elite organization with amazing members from the medical community.
Like many of us, when the pandemic hit, she analyzed her situation and pivoted in what she wanted to do and where her career should go from here. What she came up with was to continue being the voice for pets and their parents by helping airlines develop safer and more reliable policies and practices and exceed safety as one set of standards across the industry. As well as, keeping Pet Parents responsible for their pet's overall health when traveling.
Until the airline industry is back to normal production, Dr. Bryant keeps herself busy developing her new company, DVM Transportation Consultants. A website is in the works but you can follow along, chat and ask questions with her on social media at When Pets Fly. Click here for the Instagram account and here for the FaceBook account to join in on the discussion. Dr Bryant loves helping the Public so make sure you reach out to her with all your traveling questions!
When asked, "Tell me about your Company?", she replied:
"DVM Transportation Consultants, LLC is led by a uniquely trained and skilled veterinarian working in the airline transportation industry. With background knowledge and ability to interpret international, federal, and state regulations about the transportation of animals, consultative services are provided to mitigate risk during air transport. While working in the airline transportation industry, insights to prepare pets for future air travel can be provided.
Services include the following:
Dr. Nelva Bryant doesn't like to get into which travel crates are better and which are not but I did ask her if she could share tips on "What should traveling Pet Parents look for in a travel crate when traveling by plane?":
"Travel crates, if having top and bottom parts, must be held together with nuts and bolts. The door must have a lock. The bottom part must not have ventilation openings. The surface of the top must be solid with no additional door/opening, and ventilation openings on the top portion, only.
When traveling via air cargo or a checked baggage, you want to make sure that the travel crate complies with the International Air Transportation Association Live Animals Regulations. IATA publishes its Live Animal Regulations Manual yearly. Unfortunately, I don't believe many of the crate manufacturer companies are aware of IATA, because I often see crates stating that they are airline compliant-however components of the crate does not comply with IATA. This is bad because it gives the pet owner the perception that the crate is safe for air travel and put the pet at risk. I don't feel comfortable endorsing a product, I'd rather educate consumers on what makes a crate compliant for air travel via cargo."
As we discussed more aspects of traveling by plane, Dr Bryant said that all airlines should have emergency procedures in place, in case of an animal emergency. This should include having contracts with animal transportation companies and veterinary hospitals at nearby airports. However, when traveling with your pet she recommends that a Pet Parent include some First Aid items (or a First Aid Kit) with your carry-on stuff. This way you are prepared if anything occurs. Additionally, she recommends that you should have with you, your Pet's Health certificate, rabies vaccination certificate, vaccination record, photo of their pet, food, and medications (if needed).
Additionally, she recommends that you pay attention to the amount of time the pet travels in the crate. Dr. Bryant says that a pet should not do more than 6 to 8 hours in a crate. If the pet is in cabin with you and you have stops, plan to take your pet out to get water and potty. This will help to reduce accidents in the crate.
We also asked if there are age limits. "What is too young or too old to travel?" and she replied:
"According to USDA Animal Welfare Regulations, a dog or cat must be at least 8 weeks of age and fully weaned prior to air travel. However, to ensure the safety of pets during travel, the airline can mandate that pets are older. Pet parents should check with their air carrier for the policies regarding the transport of pets. There is no age limit for travel, however as pets age they are more likely to develop underlying medical conditions that can go untreated. These conditions can be exacerbated during travel.
Pets should be medically "fit to fly". Meaning, pets should not have a medical history of any disease that might impact their cardiovascular or respiratory systems. Additionally, diabetic pets, pets with a history of seizures, or pets requiring daily medications may not do well during transport via air."
I hope this interview was as informative for you as it was for me to learn so much about airline traveling with pets. Now go and follow Dr. Nelva Bryant on her social media at When Pets Fly and stay tuned for her informative website. Her company plans to be the authority on airline travel and pets.