Short-Snouted Dogs More Likely to Die on Airplanes – An Update

You probably saw this last week: The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) issued a new airline report that stated, “Short-faced” dogs are more prone to die during flight.”

How Safe are Pets on Planes?

Well, duh. We’ve been saying this for years. Unfortunately, animals on planes die or get injured (or go missing); it doesn’t happen often, but once is too often if it’s your beloved dog or cat.

The airlines know this, and the last thing they want to do is to accidentally kill or injure a pet, so many have set up guidelines for pets as “checked-baggage” designed to protect animals.

Find a Good Deal on a Flight Now (with or without Sparky)

Bulldogs Sound like Buzzsaws

I mean, the DOT is not the first to notice the correlation between short-snouted (or “short-faced”) dogs and their ability to function under potential temperature extremes in airplane cargo areas. We’re not animal experts, but I’m inclined to believe those short-snouts signal the potential for all kinds of respiratory problems. I mean, have you ever heard the sound of a bulldog snoring? Think – buzzsaw.

Pet Restrictions on Airlines

Many airlines have restrictions on transporting pets as cargo, and some are pretty complicated.

United Airlines Pet Policies

United, for example, has a “summer air transport embargo” for the following dog breeds, as either checked-baggage or cargo (from June 1st through September 30th): Boxer, English or French Bulldog, King Charles Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Pug, Shar-Pei, and Shih Tzu.

Delta Air Lines Pet Policies

Delta’s restrictions are even tighter, with summer and winter embargos on all pets, depending on the routes – and, year-round restrictions on the transport of short-snouted animals. All the details are on Delta’s website, and I suggest you read it very carefully so you don’t show up at the airport with an animal that will not be accepted.

Pets on Allegiant and Southwest

Most airlines allow pets of any snout-length to be transported in the cabin – and that’s the only way they’re allowed to travel on Allegiant and Southwest, but there are size limitations, so your bulldog and boxer will likely be out of luck. Ask yourself – do your pets really need to travel?

Pets and Allergies

Oh, and don’t forget all those people with pet allergies onboard – it’s almost as raging a debate as the great peanuts-on-planes controversy.


Published: July 19, 2010