Is it Safe to Fly With My Short Nosed Dog?
Short Nosed Dogs Flying
Certain dogs are not allowed to fly because of the type of nose they have. This may sound unrealistic or even cruel but in reality the air lines are looking out for your dog’s health. Research has shown that 50% of dogs that have died on airplanes in the last 5 years (since writing this on March 2017) were short nosed dogs. These include Pugs, Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzus. The Pug was the only breed to report double digit deaths in the last 5 years at 11 deaths. We don’t want this article to scare you when flying with your dog. You should keep in mind that the number of total deaths that include all breed types of 122 is a small percentage of the total dogs that flew in that 5 year span. But for dog owners that own a short nosed breed, you want to think twice before flying with your dog.
Problems Caused by Short Noses
Brachycephalic, is known as a respiratory issue and is more common in short nosed breeds. This condition effects short nosed breeds in all environments, not just when flying. A short nose does not change the anatomy of the dog’s breathing or nose structure, but it does mean that the dog has to intake the same air particles in a smaller space. This makes it more difficult for short nosed breeds to breathe. This smaller space creates a narrowed trachea, a longer soft palate, and smaller than normal nostrils which all lend to difficulty in breathing normally.
Why Are Small Nosed Breeds More Likely to Die When Flying?
Because of restrictions with breathing, short nosed dogs are more likely to have trouble breathing when flying. The air pressure and atmosphere is different in a plane cabin compared to the ground. Dogs are placed in pressurized cargo holds where air flow is greatly reduced. If your dog has problems in this pressurized cargo area, there is no one to monitor your dog. You will not be able to monitor your dog’s breathing until after the plane has landed. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t fly with your dog altogether, but you should be aware of the potential dangers and minimize risk when flying with your short nosed dog.
What Precautions Can I Take When Flying with My Dog?
Health is the most important. Your dog should maintain a healthy weight and go for regular checkups at the Vet. If your dog is out of shape, you should start exercising with your dog months before traveling. Remember, your health impacts your dog’s health as well.
Familiarize your dog with traveling in a crate. Practice traveling with your dog in a crate when you take him/her to the Vet, groomer, or when taking them to a park. The more comfortable they are traveling in a crate, the less likely they are to become nervous or anxious when flying in a crate. This can greatly reduce their labored breathing and potential struggles.
Another recommendation is to provide your dog with an item that makes them feel “at home”. Maybe their favorite toy or blanket would help. You should take precaution not to provide your dog with anything heavy like a thick blanket. This will hinder their heat regulation and potentially cause overheating. You should not provide them with anything they could potentially choke on either.
If your dog is small enough to travel on the plane with you, be sure to consult with the airline about regulations and rules they may have when flying with your dog.
Lastly, you should prioritize meeting with your Vet to review potential issues and suggestions they may have. A professional opinion is always the best policy. They may advise against flying depending on your dog’s conditions.
Dog Lover Store
March 10th, 2017
Updated on June 7th, 2019
Kim is the co-owner of DogLoverStore with her husband, John. She earned her BS in operations management at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She enjoys walking in nature, gardening in the sun, eating sour candy, going on drives, yoga, and reading.