Warning for Dog Owners Flying With Pets

A warning for owners of short-snouted dogs: They accounted for about half of the purebred dog deaths on planes in the past five years, according to new government data.

Breeds at risk include bulldogs and pugs. More than 122 dog deaths were reported since May 2005, when US carriers began disclosing the numbers, according to The Associated Press, citing a Transportation Department report.

The dogs that died were shipped as cargo.

English bulldogs accounted for the highest number of deaths (25) followed by pugs (11) and golden retrievers and Labradors (seven deaths each). Also among the reported deaths of pure breads were six French bulldogs and four American Staffordshire terriers, AP reports.

There were two deaths each of boxers, cockapoos, Pekingese and Pomeranians, while mixed breeds accounted for four airline deaths – there were also a dozen dogs that perished whose breeds were not known.

The department is recommending owners consult veterinarians before putting their dogs on flights. AP says the DOT also believes the deaths represent only a tiny percentage of the number of pets shipped on planes. There were also 55 injuries and 33 lost pets.

A short-nosed breed expert, Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America's health committee, tells AP an issue for these dogs is they don't have as efficient an internal cooling system as longer-nosed dogs, and tend to be heat-intolerant.

Sonny Seiler of Savannah, Ga., who owns the University of Georgia's mascot, Uga the bulldog, tells AP that when he flies with the dog he takes precautions including having Uga undergo a quick procedure at the University of Georgia veterinary school to enlarge the dog's airways, so it's easier for her to breathe during the flight.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, some carriers including Delta prevent short-nosed breeds from flying in cargo holds in hot months (a rule that also applies to cats).

Photo, The Pug Father, flickr
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