Lately, there have been several alarming accounts of pets being injured and even dying because of negligence on the part of the airline and their staff.

Animal deaths on flights, though tragic, are relatively rare. According to DoT statistics, 26 animals died while being transported on planes in 2016, a rate of 0.5 per 10,000 animals transported. When animals do die in flight, in can be due to temperature-control failure, poor ventilation or rough handling. However, the Humane Society suggests looking into every available alternative before transporting a pet on an airplane.

An estimated 2 million pets that travel on commercial flights each year. But as any animal lover knows, it only takes one tragic incident to turn a family upside down.

Kokito, the french bulldog that gained the nations attention is just one of the latest. Poor Kokito was forced by a United Airlines  flight attendant in his carrier into an overhead bin, where he died in flight. The 10-month-old French bulldog was kept there for the entire three-and-a-half hour trip Monday, March 12 from Houston to New York. The family and other passengers heard him barking in the overhead compartment for two hours.

<iframe src=”https://www.cbsnews.com/embed/videos/senator-asks-united-for-answers-after-dog-dies-in-overhead-bin/” id=”cbsNewsVideo” frameborder=”0″ width=”620″ height=”349″></iframe>

Kokito’s owner had the dog in a carrier but struggled to put Kokito’s carrier under the seat in front of her. The family says a flight attendant insisted it go in the overhead bin.

In a separate incident, the SAME airline, United Airlines, mistakenly flew a Kansas family’s dog to Japan. CBS affiliate KCTV reports that Kara Swindle and her two children flew from Oregon to Kansas City, Missouri, Tuesday on a United flight. The family is in the process of moving from Oregon to Wichita, Kansas.

According to CBS affiliate, KCTV, Kara Swindle was flying into Kansas City Tuesday night, accompanied by her two children and Irgo, the family’s German shepherd. Or so they thought.

Upon landing in Kansas City, the family went to a cargo facility to pick up 10-year-old Irgo, a German shepherd, but were instead given a Great Dane. Swindle, of Wichita, Kansas, learned Irgo had been put on a flight to Japan, where the Great Dane was supposed to go. The airline said the kennels were similar.

According to KCTV, Irgo will see a veterinarian before being put back on a flight to Kansas City. There is a chance that Irgo may need to be quarantined for up to two weeks in Japan due to traveling on an international flight. It remains unclear as to when the dog will arrive in Kansas City.

Here’s another….Kathleen Considine, a Portland-based bartender who made headlines last year after her Facebook post detailing the death of her 7-year-old golden retriever, Jacob, went viral. Jacob had been traveling from Detroit, Michigan to Portland, Oregon when his one-hour layover in Chicago turned into 20 while United Airlines waited for a plane that could fit his crate. The airline said Jacob showed “no signs of distress” while in their care, but he died on the emergency vet table hours after landing from Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus Syndrome, a bloating condition that causes the stomach to dilate and twist into an abnormal position, and is commonly caused by stress.

When I started writing this article I had planned on giving the readers a list of ways to keep you pet safe when flying with them, but these recent stories regarding tragic airline errors makes me question if it is even safe to fly your pet anywhere.

The Humane Society suggests that when making travel decisions, choose what is safest and most comfortable for your pet. For instance, unless you’ll be able to spend a lot of time with your dog, they’ll probably be happier at home than tagging along on your trip. As a rule, cats are almost always better off in their own home. Don’t forget that car travel should be planned wisely with your pet as well. Your Dog Advisor just published an updated, comprehensive guide on how to secure your dog for car travel. It is completely free and you can find it here: How To Secure Your Dog In The Car.

If you’re nervous about flying your pet on an airline and would rather them stay at home while you travel give us a call at 502-802-5052 and we’ll chat about how we can help you with private, in-your-home care for your pet.