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Snub-nosed cat and dog breeds

Traveling with brachycephalic (snub-nosed) cats and dogs is restricted in almost all European airlines, and some airlines have completely ceased transporting them due to the increased risk. However, air travel is the only mode of transportation with specific restrictions imposed by transportation companies for the transportation of brachycephalic breeds. There are no official restrictions by sea or land, but in such cases, the owner's responsibility is emphasized when making the decision to travel.

The risks of flying with snub-nosed breeds

Transporting brachycephalic breeds always carries a higher risk compared to breeds with normal-length snout. The terminals at the airports and the temperature inside the aircraft (especially before takeoff and after landing) can become elevated, which can lead to overheating for brachycephalic breeds with abnormally short and narrow airways. Being in a transport crate can cause stress for the pet, resulting in dangerously high temperatures inside the crate. Stress-induced panting can also lead to swelling of the airways, hence further narrowing the already restricted airways and making it difficult for the pet to breathe. Brachycephalic pets may also experience difficulty breathing due to the changes in air pressure associated with flying.

 

Brachycephalic dog breeds are known to have certain "dramatic" temperaments, as anyone familiar with breeds like the French Bulldog or Boston Terrier might know. These breeds are not known to be exceptionally patient, and their excessive energy combined with their snub-nose anatomy, unfortunately pose a significant risk for them when traveling. Even if a brachycephalic pet appears to breathe relatively normally in everyday life, their bodies are unable to handle "normal stress" in the same way as their longer-nosed buddies.

Choosing a crate

When transporting brachycephalic pets, it is crucial to ensure that the transport crate is spacious enough and that its ventilation is functioning properly. When choosing a transport crate, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the guidelines provided by IATA to ensure an adequately sized crate.

 

The transport crate for brachycephalic breeds should be at least 10% larger than that of a normal-nosed pet of the same size. You can read more about the requirements for transport crates here!

Which breeds are considered snub-nosed?

The airlines have prepared their own lists of short-nosed breeds, so always check the currently valid listing of the airline you are using before buying your tickets. If you can't find your pet on the airline's list, but you still suspect it belongs to short-nosed breeds, check with the airline. Below is an indicative list of short-nosed cat and dog breeds.

 

Cats

  • British Short Hair

  • Exotic Short Hair 

  • Himalayan Cat 

  • Persian 

  • Scottish Fold 

 

 

Dogs

  • American Pit Bull Terrier

  • American Staffordshire Terrier 

  • Affenpincher

  • Boxer

  • Boston Terrier

  • Brussels Griffon

  • Bulldogs 

  • Bull Mastiff 

  • Chow Chow

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

  • English Bulldog

  • English Toy Spaniel 

  • Japanese Spaniel / Japanese chin 

  • Chinese palace dog / Pekingese

  • Lhasa Apso

  • Pug

  • French Bulldog

  • Shar Pei

  • Shih Tzu

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Tibetan Spaniel

If you are unsure whether your pet is categorized as a short-nosed or not, check with the airline in advance if it can be transported!

See a comparison of airlines operating in Europe from here

How can brachycephalic breeds be transported on an airplane?

Many airlines have refused to transport brachycephalic breeds in the cargo hold of the airplane, and some airlines do not allow them on flights at all anymore. However, there are several airlines that allow brachycephalic breeds to be transported in the cabin. In the cabin, only small individuals weighing a maximum of 8 kg (or occasionally 10 or 12 kg) together with their transport crate can be transported. Cabin transportation is safer than in the cargo hold because the pet owner can constantly monitor their pet, and the temperature differences in the cabin are often not as significant as in the cargo hold. Additionally, the presence of the owner is a calming factor for many pets. It is not recommended to give any sedatives to brachycephalic dogs during the journey, as they can suppress the respiratory system. However, if you regardless need to travel with a brachycephalic pet that easily gets stressed, it is advisable to discuss about the travel plans ahead with a veterinarian.

 

Although many airlines do not transport brachycephalic breeds in the cargo hold of passenger planes, they may allow them as cargo shipments. However, this is very risky and can be life-threatening for brachycephalic pets. In cargo transportation, pets have to be left alone in a crate for a long time, which increases their stress levels. Their condition cannot be monitored during the journey, and they cannot be removed from the transport midway. An overly stressed pet can suffer from overheating, lack of oxygen, and even die during the journey. For countries that only allow pets to be transported in the cargo hold or as cargo, traveling with a brachycephalic pet is not recommended.

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