By Benjamin Willcocks
These days, taking your dog on holidays with the family is becoming much more commonplace. And with the escalating costs of pet boarding and sitting facilities, it’s even becoming more affordable to take your pet with you, rather than leaving him at home.
But what about when you fly somewhere? Interestingly enough, it’s becoming more and more popular for dogs to travel on planes to various exotic holiday locations, as well. But what are some considerations you need to make before opting to take your dog with you on a flight?
Obviously, there is the question of your dog’s behaviour. If you have a highly anxious dog, then you need to take measures (usually involving sedation) to ensure the experience is as relaxed and pleasant as possible for your furry mate.
Behaviour aside, there are actually certain breeds that do better with flight travel than others, too. Short-nosed, or brachycephalic, dogs such as Pugs, English bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs, are at a higher risk of dying whilst flying than other breeds.
This is primarily related to the anatomy of their face and their nasal conformation. Try to think of it in the following way: These breeds have all of the soft tissue you would expect in a long snout breed, but in only half the space. Imagine a normal dog that runs at full pace into a parked car. The face squashes up, and internally there is now an excessive amount of tissue which serves no purpose but to affect their ability to breathe and moderate their body temperature.
As a result, these breeds of dog are predisposed to breathing difficulties and heat stroke. Add the stress and anxiety related to travel, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Airlines in the USA have already earmarked this as a problem and apply travel restrictions to these breeds, which is normally related to limitations in travel during the hotter summer months.
In saying this, there are elective procedures which can be done to minimise this risk, so you can always discuss these surgeries with your veterinarian.
Common sense comes into play, as well. It’s important to ensure the cargo-hold is climate controlled, and avoid travelling during summer and at the hotter parts of the day. If all of those safeguards are in place, you won’t have much to worry about except having fun upon your arrival!
Benjamin Willcocks is a regular contributor to the pet health & lifestyle website, and is the managing editor of Exceptional Canine Australia