Is Air Travel Safe for Pets?

Is Air Travel Safe for Pets?

Some Breeds More at Risk Than Others

Last week, we discussed United Airlines’ decision to ban certain dog breeds (often labeled as aggressive) from its planes. While doing some research on that topic, I came across another interesting pet policy on United’s website. The airline also dictates when and what types of short-nosed breeds can fly on their planes. This policy hasn’t generated as much of an uproar, however, because this policy focuses on keeping dogs safe in the sky.

Owners of Boston terriers, bulldogs, and pugs can fly with their pets if they meet certain requirements outlined by United. Puppies between eight weeks and six months and under 20 pounds can fly year-round. Adult breeds that exceed the 20-pound weight limit cannot fly during the summer months (May to September) and can fly during the September to May if temperatures are less than 85 degrees.

This policy highlights the risks of flying with short-nosed breeds. These breeds are more likely to die in flight due to their short snouts and respiratory problems that can come with it. Pugs, for example, will be more responsive to air quality and temperature changes on planes than longer-snouted Golden Retrievers.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends getting your short-nosed dog used to the kennel in which it will fly before you travel. Don’t fly with a dog with underlying medical issues or weight problems. Finally, minimize layovers and avoid flying when the temperatures are warm.

Airline policies can help guide your decision to fly with your pet, but always talk to your veterinarian about the safety of air travel before planning your getaway.