Pet Travelling during the summer
The United Arab Emirates is known for its hot climates, especially during the summer months. Due to the warm weather, travel for pets not only poses risks but also carries restrictions for certain types of breeds during a ‘seasonal embargo’. These types of breeds mostly consist of a brachycephalic type but are not completely directed towards this group.
Most, but not all, airlines have an embargo in place during the months of May 1st through 30th of September. Generally, these months are the warmest time of the year with temperatures peaking at 46 degrees centigrade in August. So what breeds are placed under the embargo*?
• Boston Terrier
• Brussels Griffin
• Chinese Pug
• Chow Chow
• Dutch Pug
• English Bulldog – Embargo during all seasons
• English Toy Spaniel (King Charles Spaniel)
• French Bulldog – Embargo during all seasons
• Lhasa Apso
• Japanese Chin (Chin, Japanese Spaniel, Japanese Pug)
• Shih Tzu
• Tibetan Spaniel
• British Shorthair
• American Burmese
*The listed breeds are with Emirates – a lot of other airlines such as KLM-Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways also follow the same or a similar list.
So, why are these dog and cat breeds more prone to respiratory problems? Brachycephalic, or ‘short nosed’, dogs and cats generally have smaller-than-normal nostrils, a longer-than-normal soft palate (muscle fibers at the back of the throat), and a narrowed trachea which can create breathing abnormalities during exercise such as play time. You may be thinking that if your dog or cat is traveling, then why is there an embargo, as my pet wouldn’t be playing in the travel carrier! Well, with travel comes stress and with stress comes vulnerabilities. Stress for an animal can be brought on by unknown surroundings, closed space, noise and the inability to relax. When an animal becomes over-stressed, the trachea (airway) can collapse, rendering it almost impossible for the pet to breathe, which can lead to an unfortunate death.
Why does the risk of fatality increase during flights? Well, other than the stress of the pet’s surroundings and an unfamiliar environment, air quality and temperatures vary than what the pet may be used too. Although the hold is kept the temperature regulated (20°C-24°C) and pressurized, ventilation of your pet’s Travel Carrier may affect the airflow of which your pet requires. There are steps to take to minimize the risk involved with the traveling of your pet, especially during the warm months we experience here in the U.A.E. See below some ideas on how to minimize the risk involved and to help you travelling pet have a comfortable journey to their destination.
• Having your pet keep a healthy weight
• Well-ventilated Travel Carrier
• Having your pet well associated with the Travel Carrier well in advance of the travelling date
• Veterinarian health check within 14 days of travel
• Selecting the correct flight route – consider direct routes or a route with a layover
• Selecting the correct flight time – consider night time flights
• Use of stress relief sprays to aid calmness – NOT sedatives
• Consider the method of travel – is your pet eligible for inside the cabin travel
• Keep positive energy
• Provide plenty of water for your pet at all times – ensure water is available for your pet during their flight
• Do not offer your pet any food, 4 hours prior to the flight – travelling pets will not suffer on an empty stomach