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Should You Fly With Your Pet?

October 15, 2019
If you’ve flown recently, you may have noticed some four-legged passengers in the airport. It’s not surprising that many people want to take their pets with them on trips. After all, Fluffy and Fido are part of the family. But is flying with pets really a good idea? A Des Moines, IA vet discusses the topic below.


Flying is stressful enough for people, and we understand it. It can be extremely frightening for dogs or cats. This alone is a concern, because stress can have a very immediate and severe impact on your pet’s health.


Many airlines have policies that pets must fly with cargo. One key issue here is the fact that temperatures in cargo holds can get extremely hot or cold. Water, hunger, and the need for sanitation are concerns as well, especially on longer flights. It’s also important to consider the possibility of delays, which increase these risks. Your pet may also be frightened by the noise and/or the feel of pressure changes.

Brachycephalic Pets

Brachycephalic pets, like pugs, are at higher risk here, due to their short nasal passages. In fact, many airlines don’t allow them onboard. If your pet has a snub nose, we strongly recommend boarding instead.


If you decide to proceed, do plenty of research. You may need to look up several different regulations, including airline policies and the standards set by Airline Carrier Access Act (AACA) and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as laws in your destination states or countries. (Note: the rules are different for service and therapy animals, but that’s a whole other topic.) Next, take your pet to the vet, and make sure they can fly. If possible, book your animal companion a seat in the passenger cabin. Most of the time, you’ll want to choose direct flights. However, for longer trips, you may actually want a long layover, so you can retrieve your four-legged pal between flights. Finally, avoid flying in summer or winter.


In many cases, boarding is a better option. Your pet will be safe and sound in a comfy pet hotel, and will be spared the risks and stress of travel. You can enjoy your trip without worrying, and then come home to purrs, cuddles, and tail wags. Do you need to schedule boarding? Contact us, your Des Moines, IA vet clinic, today!

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