Very scary new stats released by the U.S. Department of Transportation show that dogs with short muzzles (such as pugs, bulldogs, and boxers) make up about half of all dogs who have died in airplane cargo holds during the past five years. Veterinarians surmise that “respiratory issues” are to blame for these dogs’ higher death rates. Many dogs and cats who have been purposely bred for pushed-in faces have difficulty breathing and exercising even under normal circumstances.
No dog, cat, or any living being should have to endure the terror and trauma of being wedged among the baggage in a loud, dark, strange place in which they experience the unfathomable sensation of being borne aloft, far from their guardians. In order to help prevent fires, most cargo compartments are unventilated, and when systems fail, as they sometimes do, temperatures inside can quickly reach extremes of cold when the plane is in the air and extremes of heat when it’s on the tarmac. Let’s promise never to treat our animal companions like luggage and always to drive them to our destination or leave them safe at home with a trusted caretaker if they can’t fit under the cabin seat.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post