Flat faced pets have been banned from travelling cargo on some airlines because they are more likely than other breeds to have trouble breathing during flights, and have died in some cases.
A Cathay Pacific
travel advisory states:
Brachycephalic (snub-nosed, short snout or flat face) animals, including Brachycephalic dogs and cats, will not be accepted for carriage as check-in baggage from 18 July 2011 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.
Animals with short faces have a harder time cooling down by panting.
Singapore Airlines and several American carriers have enacted bans but the Globe and Mail
reported that Canadian airlines have not done so.
According to the US Department of Transportation
about half of the dogs that die while being transported as cargo are members of short-faced breeds.
“We understand that they must have some statistics that certain breeds of dogs are more problematic in the cargo cabin, but there are cases when air travel is unavoidable, especially when owners need to emigrate,” CNN
quoted Rebecca Ngan, PR and communications manager of SPCA Hong Kong, as saying.
“If owners cannot send them in the cabin they may have to abandon them or put them to sleep.”
The New York Times
reported that short-faced animals make up about a quarter of the passengers with Pet Jets and Pet Airways, which offer charter plane service for pets
According to the University of Prince Edward Island:
Overheating is especially dangerous in these breeds, because increased panting (the normal mechanism for cooling in dogs) can cause further swelling and narrowing of the already constricted airways, which will increase your dog's anxiety. Excitement, exercise, or warm weather (and especially a combination of these factors) can trigger this vicious cycle. These dogs can also have gastrointestinal problems, because of difficulties coordinating swallowing when they are working so hard at breathing. This can result in vomiting ar gagging because of swallowing so much air, or aspiration pneumonia, because of breathing in saliva or food particles.
The problems appear most often in dog breeds such as the English bulldog, pug, Boston terrier, Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Chinese shar-pei, French bulldog, Lhasa apso, and shih tzu - and in Himalayan, Persian and exotic shorthair cats.