TSA: Remember Special Rules For Four-Legged Travelers

May 21, 2015

Anyone who’s flown on an airplane in the past decade has the airport security rules memorized: Don’t leave your bag unattended. Take off your shoes when you pass through metal detectors. And leave weapons at home.

But what about rules for furry travel companions?

The Transportation Security Administration has special rules for flyers with small pets.

Evee is a four-pound mini-Pomeranian. She likes to take her owner, TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz, on plane trips. But Koshetz says, as we enter the busy travel season, it’s clear many passengers need a reminder of the rules. For one: While the carrier needs to go through the x-ray machine, Koshetz warns travelers to NEVER send their pet with it.

“You might think that’s very obvious but unfortunately we’ve had many people across the country who have put their dogs through.”

She says to be sure to have furry friends in a hand-held travel carrier at all times except when passing through security. Then, people can carry pets in their arms or walk through the metal detector on a leash. TSA officers then give pet owners one more security test.

“The officer also swabs my hands — both my hands —  to make sure that I have no residue of explosives on my hands, and that would also mean that the dog doesn’t have any explosives secreted on the dog.”

Once the test comes back negative, the pet has to go right back in the carrier, where they’ll be expected to stay for the remainder of their trip. Koshetz also says it’s important to check with airlines while planning trips. Airlines have different weight and size guidelines for pets.