Find an Airline-Approved Cat Carrier for Any Budget

Pet travel carriers cover a vast budget range. It is common for two nearly-identical carriers to have a $50 price difference, but what does that extra charge get you? Sometimes, it affords durability, added security, and a warranty. More frequently, it means a stylish shell and additional color options. This means that finding an airline approved cat carrier is a complicated task—it can be difficult to understand what, exactly, your money buys.  

We’ve cut the hard part out for you. Below, you’ll find one airline approved cat carrier for each budget range: up to $30, $30-$50, and $50+. The below containers are indicative of what, roughly, that price point should generally include.  

 

Budget: Sherpa Delux Pet Carrierfrom $19.99 on Amazon 

If you’re looking to save money on an airline approved cat carrier, the Sherpa Delux Pet Carrier is the way to go. This container is available in three separate sizes and can accommodate cats up to 22lbs. We should note: most airlines impose weight restrictions on in-cabin pets, so there is no guarantee that your 20lb+ cat can fly. However, if you find an airline to accommodate your larger-than-life cat, this carrier will do the trick. 

This carrier features a patented wire spring frame which allows the container to be compressed by several inches—perfect for sliding your animal under the seat in front of you. The Sherpa Delux also comes with the brand’s “Guaranteed On Board” policy, which promises that the carrier meets airline rules and regulations. If your airline denies the carrier for any reason, you are eligible for a full refund. This carrier is durable, includes a padded fleece lining, and features mesh side panels for ventilation. 

 

Mid-Range: Mr. Peanut’s Soft Sided Pet Carrierfrom $35.99 on Amazon 

This mid-range airline approved cat carrier is an excellent option for furry frequent fliers. Available in five colors, this stylish container measures 18”x10.4”x11” and is recommended for pets up to 15lbs. We especially appreciate that the carrier itself is just under three pounds. Most pet carriers are incredibly hefty, which can cut into your pet weight allowance; this soft-sided carrier mitigates any weight issues you may encounter while attempting to board.  

Mr. Peanut’s Soft Sided Pet Carrier comes with a removable fleece bed for maximum pet comfort. Additionally, it features several carry features, making the process easier for the person carrying the animal. The brand warns that each airline sets very specific carrier requirements but points out that soft-sided carriers are often the easiest to travel with. However, this carrier ensures compatibility for Delta, Southwest, United, American, and Virgin airlines. The container is strong and waterproof—perfect for every adventure.  

 

Luxury: Smiling Paws Pets 4 Way Expandable Soft Sided Carrier; from $59.99 on Amazon 

If you want the much-wanted trifecta of durability, style, and comfort, we recommend the 4 Way Expandable Soft Sided Carrier from Smiling Paws Pets. Available in two sizes, this container offers unique 4 way expansion, allowing your pet to move around more comfortably while in the airport. Your airline will likely require you to zip up the expanded portions for take-off and landing, but—if it fits under the seat—your pet will be able to enjoy an additional 1.5 square feet of space. This means all the difference in long distance pet travel. 

In addition to offering this unique feature, this Smiling Paws Pets carrier is reinforced; the hinges are made of stainless steel for extra security, and the laminated fabric is leak-proof and water repellent. The machine washable fleece pad provides additional comfort, and the ventilated design allows for maximum air circulation. You can carry this container multiple ways, over the shoulder or using the top handle, ensuring additional ease while moving through the airport.  

 

Feline Travel Requires More than a Carrier 

Though cats may fly with less frequency than dogs, they are often the in-cabin pet companion of choice. Most cats fit the size requirements for in-cabin transit, meaning carriers are designed to accommodate our feline friends. Though this may make the research process more tedious, you are more likely to find a carrier to fit your exact needs and budget. 

However, a comfortable carrier may not be enough to ensure safe and comfortable feline travel. If you plan to travel with a cat, remember to adequately prepare the animal for the journey. Cats are very temperamental, and introducing a new carrier just before take-off—no matter how fluffy it may be— is never a good idea. For more information about traveling with a cat, see our guide 

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Seatbelts and Safety Harnesses for Pets and Animal Airline Travel

In-cabin and cargo pet travel restrictions differ significantly, but service animal policies remain consistent across airlines. In most cases, your assistance animal will need to sit at your feet for the duration of the flight. He does not need to be in a carrier but should not extend outside the “footprint” of your seat. You will likely be assigned to a row with additional room to accommodate the extra passenger. Some type of safety harness is also ty required for takeoff and landing.  

Select airlines, like British Airways, include additional requirements in their service animal policies. They require an animal travel safety harness (or equivalent) to secure assistance dogs during takeoff, landing, and when seat belt signs are switched on. A similar device is required of Virgin Atlantic assistance animals as well as other airlines. 

Even if you do not have an assistance dog, investing in a pet travel safety harness is a good idea for frequent travel. Below, we have included a few of our favorite securing devices for safe pet and animal travel. 

 

Puppia Soft Dog Harness—$15.59 from Chewy 

What We Like: This inexpensive and easy-to-use harness provides both comfort and security for small and medium-sized breeds. It is lightweight and features a comfortable neck opening, an adjustable quick-release chest belt, and a D-ring for leash attachment. This is an excellent low-cost option for animals who require securing during takeoff and landing. 

Sizes: This harness is available in five sizes: x-small, small, medium, large, and x-large. To determine the correct size, you will need to measure around your animal’s chest and neck.  

Additional Features: This harness is extremely comfortable, which provides a huge benefit to dogs on long-distance flights. The secured D-ring for leash and belt attachment ensures your animal will not budge during his time in the air. Used in conjunction with a seatbelt, this harness provides optimal security at a very low price point.  

 

Sleepypod Clickit Sport Dog Safety Harness—$69.99 from Chewy 

What We Like: This is one of the sturdiest safety harnesses we’ve seen. The Sleepypod Clickit boasts an Infinity Loop design in conjunction with an impact-absorbing padded vest to distribute and reduce damaging forces. It uses three points of contact, which reduce both forward and lateral movements during turbulence. This harness is crash-tested with the same requirements used for child safety restraints.  

Sizes: This harness is available in four sizes: small (16.5-22”), medium (22.5-28”), large (28.5-34”), and x-large (34.5-40”). To determine the correct size, measure around your dog’s ribs just behind the front legs. 

Additional Features: This harness is made from ballistic nylon and automotive-grade materials, making it incredibly durable. It can easily attach to your plane or car seat belt with built-in loops, so you won’t need to purchase additional gear. This also doubles as an everyday walking harness. 

 

Kurgo Tru-Fit No Pull Dog Harness$27.99 from Amazon 

What We Like: We love the security and flexibility afforded by the Kurgo Tru-Fit harness. It attaches around the animal’s neck and torso for optimal comfort and sports five separate adjustment points. The Kurgo Tru-Fit harness can be tethered during car or air travel, and it also works well as a walking harness.   

Sizes: This inexpensive securing mechanism comes in six diverse sizes. Measurements should be taken around the dog’s neck and chest, and the largest available harness size fits a neck of 24-35” and a chest of 28-44”.  

Additional Features: This harness includes a 10” dog seat belt which can be used to tether the animal during car and air travel. Though the harness is not crash tested, it comes with a lifetime warranty; even if your item is damaged in travel, the company will replace it free of charge. 

 

 

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Learn about the Best Airline-Approved Kennels for Cargo Travel

Animals traveling in the cargo hold of an aircraft must be provided with additional amenities. If a pet is traveling with you in the cabin, you are wholly responsible for its actions and care. Cargo travel, however, is different—kennels must be sturdy, include food and water dishes, and have a single metal door. They cannot have wheels, top opening doors, or plastic latches. The best kennels for cargo travel are going to make your life and the life of your pet that much easier.  

Before purchasing a crate, we recommend checking out your airline’s cargo kennel requirements. Each airline has separate rules and restrictions relating to pets in cargo, and you want to purchase a kennel to fit these parameters. Once you have your list of necessities, check out our list of airline-approved and IATA-compliant kennels below. We have reviewed some of our favorite airline-approved kennels that are designed to improve your pet’s cargo travel experience.   

 

Petmate Sky Kennel—$58.99 from Amazon 

What We Like: This kennel’s heavy-duty frame is an ideal choice for air travel, and the carrier meets all IATA airline requirements for the cargo hold. With a single metal door made from a single piece of metal, pet escape is impossible—your dog will not be able to pull the door inward to collapse the crate. Our favorite feature of the Petmate Sky Kennel is one that most other containers fail to provide: pre-drilled zip tie holes. When traveling with a pet in cargo, airlines require pet parents to zip tie the kennel doors shut. This crate makes the process a bit easier. Additionally, the crate is made of 25% recycled materials, so you can feel good about this purchase. 

Size: The carrier is available in six sizes. Their measurements, from smallest to largest are (Length x Width x Height): 21”x16”x15”, 28”x20.5”x21.5”, 32”x22.5”x24”, 36”x25”x27”, 40”x27”x30”, and 48”x32”x35”. 

Additional Features: Featuring air holes on all four sides, two attachable food and water dishes, Live Animal stickers, and an extra safe lock, this crate has everything you could possibly need. There is, however, one caveat to purchasing this crate; it comes with plastic nuts and bolts, but you’ll need metal replacements for air travel. This small detail is easily fixed, but you should reserve an extra few dollars in your budget to purchase the required addition.  

 

Aspenport Pet Porter Kennel$48.74 from Amazon 

What We Like: Slightly pricier than the Petmate Sky Kennel, the Aspenport Pet Porter is another fantastic option. It features a single, locking metal door, metal nuts/bolts, and ventilation on all four sides. The plastic shell is durable, and the latch door cannot be pulled inward. This kennel is safe, comfortable, and secure, providing the perfect container for cargo shipments. You will need to supply your own food and water dishes.  

Size: The Aspenport Pet Porter Kennel also comes in several colors and sizes—nine, to be exact. The sizes are determined by weight range—up to 10lbs, up to 15lbs, 15-20lbs, 20-25lbs, 25-30lbs, 30-50lbs, 50-70lbs, 70-90lbs, and 90-125lbs. The range of weight availability makes this a solid choice for larger, heavier animals. You’re sure to find a suitable size for your pet no matter how large he is. 

Additional Features: This kennel features a handle, side latches, metal nuts and bolts, compartment covers, and tie down holes, making it one of the most secure containers available.  

 

Skudo Plastic Pet Carrier—From $25.19 from Amazon 

What We Like: The Skudo Plastic Pet Carrier is one of our favorites; it boasts all necessary features for an airline-approved kennel but offers pet owners a few additional pieces. The container is available in six separate sizes and boasts a traditional handle, built-in hooks for a shoulder strap, easy snap-lock buckles, ventilation on all sides, and a durable plastic shell. You will need to purchase your own metal screws (the crate comes with plastic) and food bowls separately.  

Sizes: The Skudo Pet Carrier is available in six sizes. Their measurements, from smallest to largest, include: 21.5”x14”x8.2”, 23.6”x15.8”x9”, 26.8”x18.8”x11.5”, 31.4”x23.1”x15”, 36.2”x24.9”x16.5”, 36.2”x27.2”x27.2”.  

Additional Features: The carrier offers removable wheels and a pull handle, which is perfect for transporting heavy dogs before the flight. In general, American airports do not allow animals to leave their crates while in the terminal buildings. This can make traveling with large dogs quite a hassle—carrying a 75lb dog in his carrier is not as easy as you might think. The wheels and handle make moving this kennel a breeze, and their ability to be removed makes the container IATA-compliant. 

 

Marchioro Clipper Ithaka Pet Carrier—$233.12 from Amazon 

What We Like: Though one of the more expensive kennel options, the Marchioro Clipper is one of the most secure containers on the market. It features “side-clackers” and additional pins to keep each part of the crate firmly in its place. The front door boasts a spring-latch, making it both secure and accessible. The carrier meets all International Airline Standards and is IATA -compliant. 

Sizes: This kennel comes in four sizes: 27.75”x19.5”x20.25”, 32.25”x22.25”x23.5”, 36.5”x25.5”x26.75”, and 41.5”x29.25”x31”. 

Additional Features: This kennel stands apart from the rest because of the number of accessories included in the purchase. Each kennel includes attachable wheels for easy transport, a shoulder strap, a water bottle, and a no-spill cup. This eliminates the need to purchase additional materials for pet cargo transit. 

 

Folding Metal Dog Crate—$582.99 from Pet Travel Store 

What We Like: Larger, more rambunctious dogs may need more structure and security than what a regular plastic crate can provide. This Folding Metal Dog Crate is the most secure (and one of the most expensive) available. It is made of high-quality, heavy-duty aluminum and features welded rivet construction, rounded square vents for increased airflow, and a marine grade slam latch.  

In reality, you likely won’t need this level of security to get your pet to a destination. However, you never know how your pet will react to air travel, and planning for the worst-case scenario is never a bad idea. If you have a large, potentially volatile dog in need of transport, this may be your best option.  

Sizes: This kennel is available in four sizes: Medium (24.5”x23”x18.5”), Large (34”x28”x22.5”, Extra Large (40.5”x28”x22.5”), and Giant (27.5”x32.5”x26.5”). 

Additional Features: This kennel features the best security technology available, including welded round cross bars for stability, airline rails, and impact/stacking corners for impact protection. The crate can fold flat for transport, and the package includes a handle for easy carrying.  

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Find Expandable, Collapsible, and Rolling Pet Carriers for Carry-On Travel

Traveling with a carry-on pet can be stressful, but selecting a safe, comfortable, and airline-approved pet carrier goes a long way toward a successful trip. While it’s easy to worry about a pet that’s out of sight in the cargo hold, passengers are responsible for the animal’s actions, behavior, and well-being when traveling in the cabin with a dog or cat.  

It can be difficult to anticipate a pet’s demeanor during a high-stress day of travel, but having a pet carrier that you can trust for carry-on travel is a big help. Expandable/collapsible pet crates are popular for offering the maximum amount of space. Rolling dog carriers are also popular to avoid muscle strains and to give your pet a smooth ride through the airport.  

Before purchasing, be sure to check airline restrictions for pet carriers for carry-on travel. Many flights have maximum weights, dimensions, and—sometimes—specific material. Below, we have reviewed several of our favorite airline-approved cat and dog carriers for any size travel budget.  

 

Petsfit Expandable Airline-Approved Pet Carrier ($35.99 from Amazon) 

What We Like: The Petsfit Expandable carrier is one of the best we’ve seen, especially as a budget-friendly option. Our favorite detail is the carrier’s ability to expand and contract. When unzipped, the carrier lies completely flat and appears to be approximately the size of a laptop case. When set up, the sides zip down to provide extra space and comfort for Fido or Fluffy.  

Sizes: Three sizes are designed to accommodate pets up to 12lbs, 16lbs, and 20lbs, respectively. The small carrier dimensions are 16” x 10” x 9”. The medium dimensions are 18” x 11” x 11”. The larger option is 19” x 12” x 12”.  

Additional Features: All sizes boast a zipper opening for secured entrance, an adjustable shoulder strap for a convenient carry, and durable materials for a long-lasting solution. 

 

Pawdle Expandable and Foldable Pet Carrier ($29.99 from Amazon) 

What We Like: Similar to the Petsfit Expandable carrier, the Pawdle provides a similar feature at a lower price point. This is an excellent alternative for pet parents with larger in-cabin animals, as the dimensions are slightly larger and more accommodating than the Petsfit variation. If you choose this carrier, we recommend taking your dog’s measurements and reviewing your airline’s restrictions. The Pawdle can collapse to fit under the seat in front of you, but the height it more than what most airlines allow. 

Sizes: This carrier is available in only one size. It is suitable for pets up to 12lbs and measures 18.5”x20.5”x11”. When folded flat, the carrier is 18.5”x11”x1.5”.  

Additional Features: This carrier expands to increase pet comfort and air circulation, providing extra space for your furry friend to lounge. Each container features a wide, adjustable shoulder strap and a handle for easy carrying.  

 

Pet Peppy Expandable Pet Carrier ($49.94 from Amazon) 

What We Like: At this point, you’ve seen one approach to the expandable pet carrier at two separate price points. The Pet Peppy takes expandability to the extreme, featuring two-sided expansion and an elongated tunnel entrance. Though slightly more expensive, this is an excellent option for anxious pets who need a bit more wiggle room. We also recommend this carrier if you are traveling with two animals in a single container. The best part? This carrier is guaranteed to fit under the cabin seat of Alaska, Delta, Allegiant, Frontier, Hawaiian, jetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Virgin America, and United Airlines.  

Sizes: The Pet Peppy Expandable Carrier comes in just one size. It is built for pets up to 14lbs, and the carrier folds flat to measure 18”x14”x1.6”. The tunnel extends an additional 16” when unfolded, and the expanded sizes provide an additional 1.5-square-feet of space within the carrier.  

Additional Features: This carrier incudes a machine washable mat, pockets for treats and toys, a padded shoulder strap, and a side strap to attach to your rolling suitcase handle. Your purchase also includes a pet bowl and a 1-year warranty. 

 

Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier ($119.95 from Amazon) 

What We Like: If you’re willing to upgrade to a pricier pet carrier, the convenience afforded by easily maneuverable wheels is well worth the cost. We like the idea of animals sitting upright in their carriers to explore the world around them—that’s exactly what they can do while in this carrier. Similar to the Petsfit Expandable carrier, the Snoozer Wheel Around folds down flat for easy storage or transport while not in use. It can be worn as a backpack, rolled around on the ground, lain flat, or stand on its own with the pet inside. As a result, this is one of the most dynamic and adaptable carriers available.  

Sizes: This carrier comes in three sizes: small, for pets up to 7lbs, medium, for pets up to 15lbs, or large, for pets up to 30lbs. The outer dimensions of the carrier are 17.5”x12”x8” for the small, 20”x14”x11” for the medium, and 23”x15.5”x12.25” for the large. Though the dimensions are technically larger than what most airlines allow, the carrier is collapsible, allowing your pet to fit snugly under many airline seats.  

Additional Features: All sizes are equipped with a telescoping handle for easy maneuvering and two side storage pockets for leash, treats, bowls, and food. 

 

Sleepypod Under Seat Dog Carrier ($162.36 from Amazon) 

What We Like: This carrier is, quite literally, the whole package. This container is suited for every type of pet transit—from a carry-on carrier to a car seat to a dog bed. The flexible design can fit up to 17.5lbs of pet, but its sides are compressible enough to fit under different-sized seats on airlines. This is essential for frequent flyers, as purchasing a new carrier to conform with each airline’s requirements is a waste of time and money. This carrier is one you will not want (or need!) to replace, as it is of extremely high quality, sturdy, easy to attach to luggage carriers, and useful in a variety of situations.  

Sizes: The Sleepypod carrier is available in one size, measures 22” x 10.5” x 10.5”, and is suitable for up to 17.5lbs. The container is designed to provide your animal the maximum amount of space without sacrificing sturdiness or style, and the various access points allow you to reach your cat or dog with ease.  

Additional Features: Each carrier comes with a soft, furry insert on the bottom, and the mesh top and sides allow for easy air ventilation.  

 

Sky-Max Modern Collapsible Pet Carrier ($38.39 from Home Depot) 

What We Like: If you’re a pet carrier traditionalist, you’ll love the Sky-Max Modern. Unlike the other carriers on this list, it doesn’t expand or roll. This airline-approved, fully collapsible option focuses on the durability of the material rather than additional frills. The entire carrier is composed of breathable and sub-absorbent mesh, and the outside is made of an ultra-durable ballistic nylon. Perfect for small-to-medium pets, this option is guaranteed to fit under the seat in front of you.  

Sizes: This carrier is available in one size. It measures 16.1”x9.5”x10” and weighs 2.5lbs. When fully collapsed, the carrier is just 3” narrow.  

Additional Features: All carriers come with removable shoulder straps, a built-in leash securer, and a handle bar—perfect for navigating busy and stressful airports.  

 

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Why You Should Know about These Pet-Friendly Airlines

Airports and airplanes are loud, busy spaces. Pets may struggle to adapt to the situation, and this alone can set them on edge. As pet parents, we do our best to protect our fur babies. By learning about pet-friendly airlines, airport pet relief areas, and pet travel supplies, we put real time and effort into helping our little ones. 

Dogs on Planes believes that pet parents deserve to have the easiest possible pet travel experience. Whether that means the airline provides all necessary information in a single, easy-to-read PDF, offers complimentary animal services, or adds some perks to sweeten the pot (did anybody say Frequent Flyer Miles?), some airlines are more pet-friendly than others. 

Our Featured Pet-Friendly Airlines 

  • Virgin Atlantic—Virgin Atlantic is pretty strict with their pet policy. Only service animals are allowed inside the cabin, and there are several breed-specific restrictions for those allowed inside. However, their pet travel website is one of the best we’ve seen. It provides detailed information about which flights and routes allow which forms of pet transit, a detailed list of forms needed depending on your destination country, and in-depth to-do lists for every step of your journey. Additionally, their cargo service is pretty unique. The airline does its best to get your pet on your flight. You will still need to drop off and pick him up at a cargo facility at your departing and arriving airports, but this service allows you and your furry friend to remain on the same schedule.  

 

 

  • jetBlue—jetBlue pulls out all the stops for pet parents. Their JetPaws program provides owners with everything they need for each step of the journey. The program offers pet travel products (including a pre-approved jetBlue carrier), an introduction to Petiquette, and an additional 300 TrueBlue points for each flight. The Petiquette introduction, what really makes the JetPaws program stand out, includes information about travel best practices, expected animal behavior, and how to deal with fussy pets in tough situations. JetPaws also includes helpful checklists, instructions on booking your flight, and a list of what to expect when you arrive at the airport. All of this is available for no additional charge. 

 

 

  • Alaska Airlines—One of the safest and most popular pet-friendly airlines, Alaska Airlines does everything it can to make your experience a little easier—and cheaper. Most pet parents spend a significant amount of money on transporting their animals, but Alaska Airlines helps owners cut costs by providing free pet health examination and discounted health certificate at Banfield Pet Hospitals (located in PetSmart retail stores). Even if you know and love your veterinarian, getting that health examination costs money. Alaska Airlines guarantees a free and fast examination prior to your flight. 

Other Airlines with Pet-Friendly Reputations 

While Virgin Atlantic, jetBlue, and Alaska Airlines are our three favorites, most airlines have an array of pet-friendly features. United Airlines, for example, allows both a pet carrier and a carry-on bag, as well as a pet tracking feature for those traveling in cargo. Delta Airlines permits animals to travel in the cabin and as cargo, meaning they can accommodate most breeds and sizes, while Hawaiian Airlines does what it can do educate passengers about strict, state-specific restrictions. When it comes to pet travel, simple benefits and resources can dramatically change your flight experience.  

If your airline wasn’t included in this list, don’t worry—it may still be pet friendly. When booking a flight, look for two distinguishing factors: transparency and flexibility. These are easily identified via the airline’s website. If you can’t find a lot of information about their pet policy or offerings through a simple web search, the airline is not likely to be pet-friendly. A lack of information may signify inexperience or a lack of resources. To that end, a generous amount of provided information allows pet parents to adequately prepare for the journey. In our experience, airlines which provide ample information have better reputations among pet owners.  

Similarly, you want to look for flexibility in options. If the airline only allows service animals in the cabin, it may not have the capacity to transport your pet. Look for a range of opportunities—in-cabin, checked baggage, and cargo—and review the accompanying restrictions. The more options the better, but remember to do your research. While more choices often point to more experience and flexibility, it can also mean an airline has neglected to adequately test all forms of pet travel. Play it safe and stick with well-known commercial airlines with established pet travel policies.  

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Pet Sedation: What Makes this Travel Practice So Controversial

When traveling, most animals lack the capacity to understand what’s going on. Stress, panic, and general anxiety can occur in even the most tranquil animals when thrust into a scary, unfamiliar situation. As a result, it can be difficult to anticipate your pet’s behavior on flights. You may be tempted to take the “easy way out” by sedating your pet for the duration of the trip. Pet sedation is among the most controversial pet travel topics. Around half of the airline’s we’ve researched explicitly forbid sedation. Others are more lenient.

But, you might be asking yourself, what’s the harm in going to sleep for a few hours? We asked the same question, and here’s what our research revealed.

 

Animal Breeds as a Health Risk Factor for Air Travel

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), sedating cats or dogs during air travel may increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. Per their website:

 

It is recommended that you DO NOT give tranquilizers to your pet when traveling by air because it can increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems. Short-nosed dogs and cats sometimes have even more difficult with travel. Airlines may require a signed statement that your pet has not been tranquilized prior to flying.

 

The aforementioned short-nosed animals, also known as snub-nosed or brachycephalic animals, beg for a little more information. These animals are often excluded from any type of air travel. Most airlines prohibit snub-nosed breeds, such as boxers, Persian cats, and bulldogs, because these animals may have pre-existing respiratory issues which can be exacerbated in transit. Sedation may work to amplify the effect of a smaller, tighter respiratory tract, causing asphyxiation. Many of the pet death stories you’ve heard about over the years involve either snub-nosed animals and/or heavily sedated pets.

 

Other Risk Factors Associated with Pet Sedation

Though cargo holds and cabins are pressurized and climate control, there is no guarantee that an animal will react to altitude and engine noise. Moreover, these climate control systems may not be operational when the cargo is first loaded on the plane. You may have noticed, too, how the cabin can be unusually warm when you first board the plane. Stress, heat, and sedation are a bad combination. That said, little research exists that actually documents the effect moderate sedation has on animals traveling in planes.

Bottom line, animals respond differently to sedatives and tranquilizers under normal circumstances, and air travel creates another layer of uncertainty and health risk. If you’re worried about how your animal might react to air travel, you can take certain precautions to lower his stress levels. Pre-conditioning your pet to travel in his carrier is an excellent way to create a comfortable environment. Additionally, rewarding your animal with treats throughout the journey can create a positive experience and association with travel. If, however, you believe your pet may react poorly to air travel without sedatives, we recommend you explore other travel options, or leaving the pet at home.

 

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