Two weeks ago, the news was agog with the death of a dog named Bear in KLM's cargo hold while en route from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. He wasn’t sick or unhealthy in any way, Bear was a healthy, happy puppy on his way to his new home in Los Angeles when he met his unfortunate demise.
Surprisingly, Bear’s death wasn’t the first of its kind, many dogs have died in the last several years while onboard a flight. Interacting with some the bereaved families, it turned out that most of these deaths were actually preventable. Hence, we have gathered our thoughts and decided to share with you our tips and expertise when it comes to flying with your dog. In case you ever decide to fly with your French Bulldog, read this guide and follow our advice to prevent this from happening to you.
- Is it really necessary you fly with your Frenchie or Can you leave him/her behind?
Unlike the bygone days, there are now so many choices of where to keep your pet and he will be well catered for; places like luxury pet hotels. But, these aren’t pocket-friendly for you, then consider leaving your Frenchie with a close friend, family member or neighbor.
Apart from Luxury Pet Hotels, Close Friend, Family Member or Neighbor, there are still other options available to you. Consider hiring a pet sitter or a pet walker. There are some available software that can assist you to easily find such people close to you, you can search online. In the event that none of these options is viable for you, and you must fly with your Frenchie, then keep reading for more tips.
- Use a Pet Bag Approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
There may be other cute bags you can use but if you are flying with your Frenchie, it is recommended that you only use a TSA approved bag. They are allowed in the airport, aircraft, easier to move from place to place and have the appropriate ventilation. The TSA approved bag you choose should be one that matches the size of your French Bulldog - preferably, look through the sizing chart before you purchase.
- Not All Airlines are Pet-friendly, Choose the Right One for Your French Bulldog:
Be meticulous while selecting the Airline you are going to fly with your pet. Not all are equal and will treat you and your pet the same. Take steps to find out the type of Airline and their reputation. If they are pet-friendly, if they aren’t going to treat your Frenchie as your family member, don’t choose them.
- Buy Two not One Ticket
This is about making sure that your Frenchie is safe and sound, don’t save to kill your dog, do not skimp when it comes to your dog’s well being. Buying your pet a separate ticket will also help to inform the Airline in advance you are bringing your dog. It’s smart to bring a certificate of health from your dog's vet, even if they didn’t for it at the point of booking, just in case the Airline asks for this information while you are checking in.
Remember that the TSA approved bag should have "PET ON BOARD" sign or flag but in the case, you don't have it ask the Airline to clearly mark the bag that there is a pet.
- Have Frenchie Defecate or Urinate before Boarding:
Most Airports have a pet release station. We recommend allowing enough time between arriving and boarding the plane so you can make sure your pet gets their potty time. There will be fewer chances your dog will urinate or defecate when the plane takes off or lands. You don’t want to end up messing up the whole plane.
- Position your French Bulldog at the Right Place during the Journey:
Your dog will be in the TSA bag for the flight. We recommend having a bag with an opening on the side and on top. Please, listen to your dog during the flight and check on him/ her every few minutes. Listen if your pet's breathing is normal or becomes more labored. We would encourage you to place the air vent from above aiming at your dogs head.
In case of an emergency or labored breathing, please tell an airline attendant immediately, and quickly remove your Frenchie from the back and place him/her on your lap. Ask for the oxygen face mask and place it on your French Bulldog’s face. You must NOT agree to put your dog in the Cargo, or anywhere else for that matter, except right with you, so you can monitor it. They may tell you that it’s where they keep dogs, tell them not your own dog because it’s dangerous to do so, some dogs make it through the journey, many others don’t.
- Come along with Your Travel Water Bowl
Give your dog water during the flight when the aircraft serves drinks. Try to be discrete about it and only open the top of the bag and place your hand with the bowl inside the bag. If anyone tells you anything which we doubt, say your dog was panting and needed water.
Following the above tips, we are confident your dog will be safe during a flight.