Dr. Fiona is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
Hi. I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital.And I’m answering questions from pet owners today for Pets Best. This question is: “I’ve heard you shouldn’t fly with dogs that have smooshed faces, like pugs, because they can die due to breathing issues. Is this true?” This is a great question.
If you’re planning on flying with your pet and you’ve contacted your airline you may find that you’re going to have special regulations for your smooshed nose breeds like pugs and shih tzus. And the reason is that dogs with a shortened face, it’s called Brachycephalic Syndrome, typically have a harder time with respiration. They have smaller nostrils. They have a smaller trachea. And this becomes an issue when dogs get hot.
Dogs don’t sweat so they cool themselves by panting. And if the dog can’t actively pant to cool itself, they’re going to be at risk for overheating. So the reason these smashed faced breeds typically don’t fly very well, or that there are extra regulations for them, has to do with temperature. So, they don’t have as good of an ability to cool themselves down while they’re in cargo or in transit.
Definitely contact the airline. They may have regulations for temperatures and even times of year that they’ll allow your pet to fly. If you have comments or questions for me, feel free to post below or on Pets Best Facebook page.