Travelling with a snub-nosed dog: How safe is it?
Snub-nosed dogs or brachycephalic breeds are often at higher risk during air travel than other breeds, and you will need to take special precautions while flying. Many airlines refuse to fly brachycephalic breeds because of the risks involved. However, with a little bit of planning and some security precautions, you can relocate your snub-nosed dog safely. Read on to understand why these breeds are at risk and what you can do to mitigate the risk.
What are snub-nosed dogs?
Snub-nosed dogs are dogs with short-noses such as Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, Japanese Chin, some Mastiffs, and Griffon Bruxellios. These dog breeds are prone to respiratory disorders because of their shortened snouts even under normal circumstances, and air travel is known to exacerbate the condition. These breeds do not breathe as efficiently as dogs with normal-length snouts do, and take longer to cool off when they are overheated. The changes in temperature and air quality in the plane make them especially vulnerable to stress and overheating.
Making it safer for snub-nosed dogs to fly
It is not always possible to travel by road, and if you are relocating to a different country, you will have to take your snub-nosed pooch by air. There are several things you can do to make his travel more comfortable and safe.
Choose a pet-friendly airline
Though many airlines refuse to carry brachycephalic breeds on their flights, several pet-friendly airlines will oblige, provided all safety precautions have been taken, and as a pet parent, you are aware of the risks involved. An experienced animal travel company can confirm if an airline has experience in flying snub-nosed dogs and validate that the cargo hold is temperature controlled. The pet travel company will also ensure that the water supplies are checked before and after flying. An airline that has experience in flying pets will ensure all safety precautions are in place.
Make sure your dog is healthy and at a normal weight
Obese or overweight snub-nosed dogs are at higher risk while flying. If they are stressed or overheated, their airway can collapse and cut off air supply. Healthy and fit pets have fewer medical conditions and make for better travellers.
Get the right crate
Buy a crate that is slightly larger than necessary to give your dog a little more room and air flow inside the crate. The extra space lets in more air and can make a huge difference in making it more comfortable for dogs with stress and breathing issues. Acclimatising your pet to their new crate with crate training before they actually fly will associate it with positive memories. Give him treats in the crate and praise him when he goes in. If your dog is comfortable with the crate, the flight will be that much more comfortable and less stressful for him.
Take the vet’s advice
Your pet’s vet can help you with making sure your doggie is healthy and fit before travelling. The vet can formulate weight loss plans if your dog is overweight and help him get fit before the journey.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Hydration plays an important role in making the flight safer for your short-snout pooch. Make sure your dog is well hydrated in the days before his or her trip. Attach a large water bowl to the crate door for your pet to drink during the flight and train your dog to use the water bottle before the journey. You could also freeze and attach a second water bowl for peace of mind. Leave instructions with the airline crew to offer water to your dog before take-off, after landing, and during layovers.
Choose the best time to travel
Most airlines do not accept snub-nosed dogs during hot summer months when the temperatures are very high; other airlines do not fly these breeds to certain destinations known for high temperatures. Reach out to an experienced animal travel company with a strong track record who will create the safest travel plan for your pooch, at the coolest times of day and on the most direct routes.
Get expert help
Flying with your snub-nosed pooch requires you to plan ahead, and make several safety arrangements. It is advisable to take the advice of a pet relocation service to check airline compatibility and make arrangements on your behalf. If you are planning to travel with your snub-nosed pooch, contact us at Petraveller, and we’ll be happy to help.