Air Pet

By Kim Campbell Thornton

I ran through the Denver airport, pulling Harper's carrier behind me. Luckily for both of us, it was on wheels. A 1 1/2 hour delay at our point of departure had made for a close call in catching our connecting flight.

Flying with pets in the cabin can be fraught with challenges. Will the collar and tags set off the metal detector at security? Will the bag fit beneath the seat? Which has more under-seat space -- a window or an aisle seat? Harper and I have navigated all of these issues and more on recent flights to visit family for the holidays and compete in a nose-work trial.

At check-in, I gave my confirmation number as well as Harper's and received a receipt for her prepaid fare. Keep it handy. I had her rabies certificate as well, but no one asked to see it.

The first hurdle was getting through security. If you're traveling with a dog, cat or other pet, don't try to send him through the X-ray machine in his carrier. You must take him out and walk or carry him through the metal detector. A soft carrier that zips open at the top makes it easier to remove your pet comfortably and safely. Have a leash on him while he's in the carrier so you have full control. Run the carrier through first so it will be waiting on the other side.

Harper and I didn't set off any alarms when we walked through the metal detector, but a random swabbing of my hands for traces of explosives resulted in a full-body pat down and check of our bags. The TSA agent explained that it's not unusual for people traveling with dogs to be selected for this testing. I held Harper on her leash while they tested her bag. Then they had me put her in it while they performed a pat down on me and tested my other bags.

Once on board, Harper's carrier wheeled easily down the aisle. I ponied up for "economy plus" seating to make sure we had plenty of space for her carrier. I chose a window seat so I didn't have to worry about anyone accidentally kicking her bag or a food cart running into it, but Jill-Marie Jones, who travels frequently with her Jack Russell terrier Scribbles, prefers aisle seats for ease of access and a quick exit off the plane.

The carrier fit well beneath the seat. Once we were airborne, I partially unzipped the top so Harper could stick her head out if she chose. The flight attendant brought a cup of water for her to sip. I also had a collapsible rubber bowl attached to my purse with a clip to use for food or water.

As we ran through Denver International to our next flight, we passed one of the relief stations that many airports have installed for the needs of traveling pets. That's thanks to a U.S. Department of Transportation ruling requiring terminals serving more than 10,000 passengers daily to have a post-security pet-relief area. For our return trip, I installed the free Where To Go app on my phone to make finding one just a tap away. Some travelers with pets bring pee pads for use in bathrooms or quiet areas.

Harper has always been a good traveler, but it had been seven years since her last flight. She was a little nervous in the airport because she wasn't used to being in that type of carrier, but she settled down on the plane and slept through all the flights. You might say she completed the trip with flying colors.


Maturity brings

pup size surprise

Q: When we got our goldendoodle puppy, Walker, the breeder said he would probably weigh about 30 pounds at adulthood. He's 100 pounds! What happened? -- via email

A: That's quite the size difference! As you've discovered, it's not always easy to predict what size a puppy will be at adulthood, although there are some factors that can help you make an educated guess.

As you may have heard, a puppy's paws can be a predictor of size. Pups who will grow to jumbo size tend to have jumbo-size paws at an early age.

Size can also depend on whether the mother was the larger or smaller of the parents. Puppies generally grow to be approximately the same size as their mother.

Another tip is to look at a pup's overall proportions. Awkward, gangly puppies with big heads and long tails probably haven't grown into their bodies yet. There's a good chance they will be large at maturity. Puppies who are going to be small in adulthood look properly formed at an early age.

When it comes to goldendoodles, one point to consider is whether the poodle partner in the mating is a miniature or a standard. It sounds as if your pup had a standard poodle parent instead of a mini. Between them, standard poodles and golden retrievers can weigh from 45 to 75 pounds (males are bigger).

Goldendoodle size can vary widely. They typically come in three size ranges: 15 to 30 pounds, 30 to 45 pounds and 45 to 100 pounds or more. One way to estimate a pup's future size is to add the weights of both parents and divide by two. But because goldendoodles are a crossbreed, traits such as size aren't always predictable. Their size at adulthood is often a guess, not a guarantee. -- Dr. Marty Becker

Do you have a pet question? Send it to or visit


New app calls vet;

sends reminders

-- With the tap of an app, Bay Area pet owners can summon a house-call veterinarian and keep tabs on their pets' veterinary history. For $45 a month, subscription-based Fuzzy provides two wellness visits annually, including services such as microchipping, heartworm testing, annual fecal exam and vaccinations, and monthly home delivery of parasite preventives. Owners can also review and share a pet's health records and will receive electronic notices that a teeth cleaning is due or reminders to give parasite preventive. The company plans to add other markets in 2017.

-- Syrian cats and dogs in war-ravaged Aleppo had a refuge, thanks to the kindness of ambulance driver Alaa Aljaleel, who cared for animals unable to go with fleeing owners. Last month, a bomb struck the sanctuary, killing at least two cats and a dog. Aljaleel's home was also hit, but he was not injured. Donations to the shelter can be made through its Facebook page, Il Gattaro d'Aleppo (Italian for "the cats of Aleppo"). So far, more than 4,000 donors have helped the shelter provide food, warmth and care for nearly 200 cats and some dogs. Donations also benefit humans and have provided three wells and two ambulances.

-- No one knows for sure which breeds were used to create the Bedlington terrier, but the breed with the lamblike appearance shares some similarities with Dandie Dinmont, Kerry blue and soft-coated wheaten terriers. The first dog to carry the name Bedlington terrier was Ainsley's Piper, born in 1825, known for his hunting prowess well into old age.

Quick in mind and body, the Bedlington has a moderate energy level, a happy-go-lucky personality and the independent streak typical of terriers. He needs a trim every four to six weeks, plus maintenance grooming twice a week. -- Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker.


Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by "The Dr. Oz Show" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Kim Campbell Thornton. They are affiliated with and are the authors of many best-selling pet-care books. Joining them is dog trainer and behavior consultant Mikkel Becker. Dr. Becker can be found at or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.

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