Pets Flying in Cargo: Myths and Facts
Many myths exist about shipping pets as cargo, so we thought we'd review some of them and offer solutions for easing pre-travel worries about moving with your four-legged family members.
Myth: The pet cargo hold is dangerously hot or cold.
On most flights that accept pets, the cargo area itself is climate-controlled just like the passenger cabin above. So why do airlines have temperature restrictions? While many airlines have "Weather Embargoes" during the summer/winter months, it is not because of the cargo hold temperatures.
Airlines that are not "pet friendly" take all of their cargo to the plane at one time. Animals often end up waiting on the tarmac while the cargo is loaded or unloaded. It is this wait on the tarmac that causes the Weather Embargos and can be the most dangerous to pets.
We only use pet friendly airlines that keep pets in climate controlled environments throughout the entire trip. This means that we are able to move pets year-round without any temperature embargoes.
All pets are kept in a climate-controlled area of the airline's cargo offices until all of the people and luggage have been loaded on the plane. Pets are then driven out in climate-controlled vehicles and boarded on the plane, which means they are never sitting out on the tarmac waiting.
When the plane lands, the pets are the first ones off the plane and driven back to the climate-controlled area at the pet cargo offices.
Myth: The pet cargo hold is not pressurized.
In most large "wide-bodied" aircraft, the pressure is the exact same as it is in the cabin above.
Just like we only use pet friendly airlines that keep pets in climate control, we only book pressurized flights for all live animal transportation. The air the humans breathe in cabin is the same air that is circulated through the bottom of the plane.
Myth: Isn't it safer just to drive my pet?
Unless you are planning on driving your pet or having a friend drive your pet, it is safer and faster to send your pet by air than it is to have a ground transportation company drive them. Long distance ground transportation can be more distressing for a pet than flying, and also more potentially complex and even dangerous due to the amount of time it takes and the stopping/starting/bathroom breaks involved.
Myth: Pets should be tranquilized/sedated prior to the flight because this will help them feel less stressed.
Tranquilizers suppress the respiratory system, which makes it hard for a pet to cope with the changes in altitude and temperature. This is particularly true in "snub nosed" breeds.
A pet may react differently to the same drug, in the same dose, depending on his state of excitement and the altitude at which he is flying. No studies have been done to determine the effect of tranquilizers on pets at high altitudes.
Crate training, crate training, crate training!
A pet that has been acclimated in advance to their pet travel crate will have much less stress when flying. Here area few tips for crate training dogs for travel and tips for crate training cats for travel.
Ready to start planning your pet's safe move? Contact us to set up a consultation.