Travelling time is nigh. You've got a lot on your mind. Well, if you have a brachycephalic dog or cat ("snub-nosed" to you and me!), you may already know that finding an airline willing to fly them can be somewhat challenging. Scratch that: it can be downright impossible in some cases! And why? Well, snub-nosed breeds are more prone to respiratory problems and therefore there's a heightened risk for them when flying. And this means that the airlines are pretty darn nervous about flying them.
We've all likely heard an excited Pekingese, Pug or Bulldog (English or French!) rasping with excitement like they've just chugged their way through 60 cigarettes or had a too-quick walk/run round the block. The fact is, a nice long snout means that the internal respiratory system "equipment" is nicely spaced out, whilst our brachycephalic friends have it all too tightly packed into a confined (snub!) area. It's sort of like moving from an airy, spacious villa to a tiny apartment and having to fit the same amount of furniture into it - you do indeed get it all in there, but it's v-e-e-e-e-e-r-r-r-y cramped. Unsurprisingly, the situation is worsened if the dog or cat is carrying around a few too many of those famous extra Dubai kilos!
As a result of everything being tightly packed, snub-nosed breeds tend to have smaller nostrils, a longer soft palate and a narrow trachea (windpipe) and don't breathe as efficiently as those with a good old snout. They are prone to overheating, can have difficulty cooling off and when stressed, their airway can actually collapse either partially or completely, cutting off the airflow. It's a little like breathing through a straw - if you gently suck through the straw, there's no problem getting air. But when you really try to suck hard through the straw (similar to a snub-nose breathing when stressed, exercising or over-heated), the straw collapses and the air is cut off. Because of this, they are more vulnerable to changes in temperature and air quality when flying, and whilst these are much the same as we experience when we're travelling, it's not always ideal for our brachycephalic/snub-nosed friends.
Next week, we'll give you some tips on what you can do to reduce the stress and risk of airline travel for your symphonically raspy snub-nosed pet.
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