(KTHV) — Steffanie Chin goes everywhere with 1-year-old Zina, a pembrook Walsh Corgie. She’s flown with the dog once under her seat from Little Rock to San Fransisco — but admits she was hesitant.
“I was nervous about traveling with her especially cause she was so young,” said Chin.
She had good reason to be concerned. We found nationwide the number of pets dying, getting hurt or lost during commercial air travel has increased over the past several years. According to Department of Transportation reports, 463 pets died, were injured or lost since May 2005 to August of this year.
So far in 2014, the DOT shows 61 animals dead or hurt, from various ailments. Most were in cargo, not flying in the plane cabin. Dogs and cats fly the most, but we found airlines that also allow smaller pets like guinea pigs and rabbits.
“Do your research. know the specific requirements of the airline you’re flying,” said Dr. Bob Hale of Briarwood Animal Hospital.
DOT INFO:Reporting of pet incidents
But one passenger says he did his research and his 2-year-old mastiff Bam-Bam still didn’t make it.
Airline bag handlers found him dead on a layover in Houston, likely from a heat stroke after being left in a cargo space with no air conditioning. The airline eventually paid nearly $4,000 for a new dog and crate.
Despite the increase in pet deaths, Hale says it’s typically still safe for them to fly if temperatures aren’t below 45 or over 74 degrees.
“It’s always important to call the airlines — you know 10 days before you leave. Call and find out. also find out if you need a health certificate. because some of these airlines are requring a health certificate say if you fly from little rock to Los Angeles,” said Hale.
Take care when flying with pets
“And there’s some types of dogs and cats that should never fly. Airline pressure can impact certain flat nose breeds more than others causing respiratory problems. In fact, some airlines have banned them entirely because of an increase in deaths.”
Boxers, pugs, pit bull, Chinese pug, Pekingese, and bull dog are five breeds animal experts say should avoid flying. For cats, Burmese, Himalayan, and Persian.
Keep in mind — Sedating a pet can help with anxiety. Hale prescribes a form of pet Xanax. He suggests owners to try it on their pet before flying.
“Yes it is safe. we are going to give a very small amount. we’re going to give our client just a little bit in case they need more but we are always going to sedate on the lower side of the drug.”
For Chin, Zina is now too big to fly under her seat and putting her in cargo isn’t an option because too many things could go wrong.
“Find a baby sitter. Leave her with family or just drive,” Chin said are her options now