United Airlines Has Begun Banning Certain Dog Breeds from Traveling – Is One Yours?

dog travel

With summer approaching, it might be tempting to think about quitting your job and traveling abroad with your furry friend. The only problem, however, is that taking your four-legged animal on vacation with you has now become a complex matter. This is primarily due to the fact that multiple high-profile cases surfaced last year that involved animals dying on planes. Although companies like United Airlines said they’re teaming up with American humane societies to prevent this from happening again, they’re also updating their pet handling process.

What does this mean? It means pet owners should expect to see a change in airline policies — changes that will minimize incidents with pets and changes that will also ban certain breeds along the way.

United Airlines, for example, have banned several dog breeds that include bulldogs, Boston terriers, all pugs, boxers, shih tzus, mastiffs, American pitbulls, and Pekingese. The airline has even started banning chickens, large rabbits, and piglets that are less than eight weeks old from flying as well. So, why were certain breeds banned and not others? 

Believe it or not, this decision was made based on noses. Studies have shown, that animals with short noses are much more likely to die on planes due to breathing problems than those who don’t. Dogs with short noses are also more likely to have respiratory problems as well — even in normal, everyday conditions. Why is that? Because their breathing isn’t the same as other breeds with normal length snouts. Therefore, they have a harder time cooling off after playing, exercising, or overheating.

What are some things you can do to help your dog before traveling? Here are some suggestions:

Bring Them with You

Generally speaking, there are three ways pet owners can transport their animals: as baggage, in the cabin, or as cargo. If your pet is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, then most airlines will allow them to stay there throughout the duration of the flight. That is, however, assuming you don’t have a carry-on bag with you. Before you book a ticket, make sure that you check the airline’s policies to see if it’s even acceptable to bring your pet with you. If the airline allows you to bring your pet into the cabin, then you should consider booking your flights with that particular company.

Although some airlines allow dogs in the cabin, most require pets to be put in a carrier — one that allows them to sit, stand, and turn around in. Remember, before you book your flight, check and make sure the airline has enough room. That’s because airlines are only allowed to carry a certain amount of pets on each flight. So, check ahead of time to make sure that they haven’t reached their limit. What about service animals? Service animals and emotional support animals are allowed in the cabin, of course, as long as you have the proper documentation.

Check Your Pets Health

Perhaps the biggest reason pets die while traveling is mainly due to mishandling and poor health. That said, you should get your pet checked at least 10 days before the flight to ensure they’re in good condition to fly. If you find that your pet has health issues, then they shouldn’t fly —  no exceptions. When you take your pet to the vet, make sure you have all the animal travel forms with you so the veterinarian can fill them out. Almost all international flights will require these forms before they allow you and your pet to board.

If your pet is in good health, the concern doesn’t end there, because good health doesn’t necessarily guarantee a safe flight. Nonetheless, a simple checkup is the bare minimum a pet owner can do to make their animal is ready for traveling. It also helps to have your animal microchipped if possible. That way, if they get misplaced or escape, you’ll be able to locate them and let the airline staff know.

Make Sure You Have Proper Equipment

traveling pet

As noted, there were some high profile cases last year involving pates dying during flight. When locked up in a carrier, your pet’s animal instinct will kick in as they try their best to escape from the crate, only to come looking for you. That’s why it’s important to have reliable equipment that complies with International Air Transport Association (IATA) policies. Remember, the carrier should not only allow your dog to sit and stand, but it should also allow them the ability to breathe as well by having proper ventilation. 

If you decide to check your crate in, make sure it’s made of a rigid material — like hard plastic or metal. Some companies like Petco and PetSmart offer crates and carriers specifically for airline usage. Owners of stronger dog breeds can also use metal hardware to keep the carrier doors locked and animals secure. 

For animals flying in cargo, it’s best to place food and freezing cold water inside the crate for them, even if the flight isn’t long. The ice in the water will eventually melt and remain fresh throughout the flight for them to drink. You can also place one of your shirts in the carrier with them to help keep them calm.

What if your dog is one of many breeds banned from flying with United Airlines? Then be proactive. There are still ways you and your furry friend can travel and have fun. For one, you can look at other airlines and check out their pet policies. If that doesn’t work, consider driving to your destination and turning it into a fun road trip. If you just want to get away from home and experience the outdoors for the summer, then try taking your dog camping. You already see how happy your pooch taking them for a walk, so imagine seeing the wilderness with hundreds of acres of grassland to sniff. 

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure they’re in good health and you’ve reviewed all the policies beforehand. That way, you decide to actually quit your job and travel with your furry friend decide, you’ll make the most out of your trip and share tons of memories together.

Author Bio:

H. Davis enjoys exploring the outdoors. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him at the gym or watching sports (Go, Broncos!). Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!

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