Flat-faced dogs and even cats known as brachycephalic breeds (i.e. pugs, bulldogs and Persians) are being banned from flying in cargo because studies have shown that these animals are at a higher risk for breathing problems and overheating due to stress. The shorter muzzles of these critters restricts breathing, making it harder for the animal to cool itself down by panting.
The whole thing is based on a study put off by the US Department of Transport showing that nearly half of all in-flight dog deaths were represented by short-faced breeds. English bulldogs, for example, represented the largest number of breed victims.
While the department itself never made any move to ban these pets from flights, they did recommend that owners consider their pets’ health and consult a veterinarian before flying their pets as cargo. Some airlines like Aer Lingus and American Airlines actually have already put a ban on letting short-nosed animals fly in luggage.
The ban, despite its good intentions and aim to actually help these brachycephalic breeds, are causing people to kick up a fuss anyway. Hong Kong’s SPCA thinks the move is an over-reaction, especially considering air travel may be the only options for some owners…like those looking to move abroad. This problem may force the owner to abandon the pet, or put them to sleep.
Somebody better start creating cruises for pets, in that case. Travel by sea might eventually be the only option available!