The Transportation Security Administration is reminding travelers about the rules for bringing pets on board planes.
While it’s unclear what prompted last week’s reminder, the TSA said in a news release that “too many travelers have been leaving their pets inside their travel bags and placing their pets through the X-ray unit.”
If you do plan on traveling with pets, the TSA offered a list of rules you should follow and tips for making the experience easier.
According to the TSA, the first thing you need to know is that you should transport the animal in a handheld carrier, but remove it from the bag before the security screening.
The second thing the TSA wants you to know is that you should place the empty carrier on the conveyor belt so it can be X-rayed while you’re either holding the animal in your arms or on a leash as you go through the metal detector.
Additionally, the TSA suggests that before you travel, you familiarize your pet with the processes and carrier the best you can before your trip and that you should familiarize yourself with the processes and airline policies as well as pet relief areas at the airport.
Although the TSA publishes a similar announcement multiple times a year, there’s no data immediately available showing how often TSA officers X-ray an animal annually.
Experts say X-rays are not necessarily dangerous when administered appropriately like during a medical or dental exam, but excessive exposure could lead to cellular damage or cancer later in life.
In short, the TSA said: “Never place a pet in the X-ray tunnel. The X-ray at the security checkpoint is used to screen passengers’ personal property and carry-on luggage only.”