Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Flights of fancy, flights of danger

Nope... that ain't going to work

Cathay Pacific has joined a long list of airlines that will no longer fly brachycephalic dogs such as Bulldogs, Pekes and Pugs, because of the risk of the dogs dying during the flight.

The move comes in the wake of US Department of Transport figures released a year ago which showed tha short-faced dog breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs represented about half of in-flight dog deaths on American airlines - with Bulldogs accounting for 25 of the 108 deaths of known breeds, far more than any other breed.

Petflight.com which lists more up to date figures (although still only for the US), claims that 86 of the 149 dogs that have died during air travel since May 2005 have been brachycephalic.  Last year alone, there were 39 pet deaths on American airlines. Almost 70% of the deaths involved brachycephalic or short-nosed dogs, with Bulldogs and Pugs making up the majority of the dog types.

Announcing the new rule, which came into effect yesterday (July 18),  Cathay Pacific said:  "Brachycephalic (snub-nosed, short snout or flat face) animals, including brachycephalic dogs and cats, will not be accepted for carriage as check-in baggage until further notice. There has been increasing concern in the industry that brachycephalic animals have high potential risk of breathing trouble during air transportation, causing negative health impact to the animals."

Says petflight.com: "Overheating, or the inability to cool themselves properly, is a major issue for brachycephalic dogs that travel in the cargo hold area of planes. Traveling in an airplane cargo hold can be a very nervous endeavor for any pet, and while the area of the plane that they use to transport pets is climate controlled the experience could be too much for your short-nosed pet.

"Many airlines have more stringent temperature requirement for transporting brachycephalic pets that you should pay special attention to. And while overall pet travel is very safe, your short-nosed pet is at a higher risk for problems.

"Make sure you have your veterinarian check your pet out for air travel, never use sedatives, and don't fly your pet if you think it might be too much for them to handle. You know your pet and are in the best position to make a decision if it will do well on a plane."

American Airlines has not flown brachycephalic dogs since November 2010. Its banned list includes the Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, King Charles Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pug, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu and Tibetan Spaniel. The airline also refuses to carry four brachycephalic cat breeds: the Burmese, Himlayan, Persian and Exotic Shorthair.

British Airways has banned brachycephalic dogs since 2009.


  1. Nah, surely if they stick a fan on the crate, stick the dog on ice packs, put a cooling coat on and get one of these they'd be ok?


  2. ps; what about the ones with "wide open nostrils"?

    Surely they are allowed?

  3. jo siemieniowski19 July 2011 at 15:58

    At last, these airline are taking notice of the conditions that can kill these dogs xx

  4. I think it is interesting that these dogs are dying in climate controlled environments, and am wondering about what that may indicate about the stresses other dogs are experiencing during flights, but are able to compensate for, and/or what additional stresses the brachycephalic breeds are experiencing related to their physiognomy, that may not be related to overheating.

  5. Lhasa Apso's Why ??

  6. Emmm Hello Can anyone tell me why a Lhasa Apso??

  7. because many class them as brachycephalic

  8. Presumably we are talking about American Burmese and not European?