Certain Breeds of Pets Should Not Fly
According to the American Humane Society, some breeds of dogs and cats have extreme difficulty breathing on a plane due to reduced oxygen in the pressurized cabin. These include any type of brachycephalic dog or cat, which technically means the animal has genetically inherited a pushed-in face. Bulldogs, pugs, and Persian cats fit this description. Their nasal passages are too short to allow for normal breathing on a plane.
Your dog or cat will probably still feel anxious about flying, but riding in a carrier where she can see you can dramatically reduce her stress. Some airlines allow limited numbers of small pets contained within a carrier to remain with their owners. Each airline has its own rules, so be certain to check on this option early. Most cats meet size limitations, but your dog may not.
If you’re unable to keep your pet in the cabin with you, be sure to follow these tips for the trip in the plane’s cargo hold to go as smoothly as possible:
- When an airline loses a pet, it’s usually during a connecting flight. You can reduce that risk by booking a direct connection.
- Do not give your pet tranquilizers before the flight unless you have received a prescription from Buffalo Companion Animal Clinic. Also, avoid feeding him for at least four hours before the flight to reduce the likelihood of motion sickness.
- Try to avoid flying with your pet when outside temperatures are extremely hot or cold, both in your departing city and your destination city.
- Leave your pet’s carrier out at home for a few days before the trip to allow her to get used to it.
- Be sure that your pet has proper identification, including a microchip, tag, and collar. You should label his pet carrier as well.
- Groom your pet a few days before the trip and be sure to trim her nails. This prevents her from getting them caught on anything at the airport or on the plane.
We recommend scheduling a preventive care exam approximately two weeks before your trip to make sure that your pet is healthy enough to fly. Our staff will check his vaccination status and give any vaccines that are due soon. We also advise you to learn the airline’s pet policies well in advance to avoid additional stress on the day of your trip.