Number of Pets: 2
Pet Type: Dog/Cat
Pet Breed: Shepherd/Boxer mix and Tortoiseshell Cat
From: Portland, OR
To: Buenos Aires, Argentina
I am considering moving to Argentina or Brazil next year. I will not move without my pets. However, I have heard horror stories of the percentage of dogs that die on airplanes. Can you tell me a bit about your safety measures? Will someone travel with my dog in the cargo area? How are the dogs walked/allowed to go to the bathroom on long flights?
My shepherd/boxer mix has a long snout, so the short snout breathing issue is not a problem. However, if he feels threatened, he will be aggressive. He gets reactive with big dogs (mostly other shepherds) and will chase cats (cannot be with my cat).
My cat gets very carsick, so I imagine a flight wouldn't be great either. She will bite if she is touched in the wrong spot. Can you please advise me on how this move might work and what conditions my pets would be in during their travel?
These are all great questions! Sad stories about airline mishaps often surface in the news, but when you look at the numbers, you'll see that air travel for pets is actually very safe. Please read more about airline pet travel myths on our blog and in this Yahoo Travel article in which we offered some advice, and you may also want to take a look at this recent infographic put together by Barkpost.
Essentially, it's very important to choose a pet-friendly airline and to prepare your pets through crate-training, a vet health consultation and a generally healthy lifestyle. You can read more basic pet travel tips here. Pets are not accompanied in the cargo area, but this part of the plane is pressure and temperature controlled and often provides a better and more calm environment than the cabin would. Pet-friendly airlines take care to load pets last before departure and remove them first upon arrival, and they will be transported in temperature-controlled vehicles.
As for pets with possible nervousness issues or behavior quirks, please know that safe travel is perfectly possible for them, as well. When working with a pet-friendly airline, trained professionals will be handling pets during comfort stops and pets will not be interacting with other animals during this time. If your pets flew with United and were routed through Houston, for example, they would be given water and a bathroom break at a safe facility under the care of individuals prepared to handle animals of all temperament.
We often advise our clients to label the travel crates if they'd like airline or airport staff to be aware of any issues; "I'm sometimes aggressive with other dogs" or "I have anxiety around strangers" are common examples. Either way, these issues shouldn't prevent your pets from flying.
Hopefully this information helps to get you started, Nicole. If you're interested in hiring some assistance, one of our PetRelocation Specialists would be happy to discuss your options and concerns with you further. Please fill out our online consultation form at your convenience or feel free to give our office a call at 1-877-PET-MOVE.
Good luck with everything, and we hope to hear from you!