Pet Air Travel Awareness

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by Jeff Mancao

Six years ago, I brought my pal, Gibs (Boston Terrier) on a three-week staycation to Boracay via air travel. It was a good and safe back and forth flight route. I just noticed some loopholes from the ground handling in Manila that needs improvement. I even wrote a letter to the local airline to do some precautionary measures as my dog almost over-heated and even died.

Recently, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have restrictions that include some fragile breeds that are banned for air travel due to incidents and mishaps. Prior to your vacation, the first thing that you need to do is call the airline and assess whether traveling with your pet is possible and hassle-free. It is very important that you check the specific procedures that will apply to your trip with the airline directly.

This particular the dog breed is not allowed anymore for local air travel: the Embargo of Brachycephalic or Snub-nosed dog breed as Check-in Baggage on all PAL Flights. (Source:

Brachycephalic describes any animal with a flat snout and whose lower jaw sticks out disproportionately longer than its upper jaw. Because of these features, brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs tend to suffer from certain health problems. Breathing normally is commonly a struggle for these dogs. Their shortened and narrow airways result in labored breathing as they continually struggle to cope with lack of oxygen in their bloodstream making them susceptible to secondary heart problems. Because of their inability to regulate their body temperature through panting (as most dogs do), they are more likely to suffer body overheat.

This is the alphabetical list of brachycephalic dog breeds including its cross breeds:

Affenpinscher, Boerboel, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Cavalier King Charles, Chihuahua (Apple headed), Chow Chow, Dogue de Bordeaux, English Toy, French Bulldog, Griffon Bruxellois, Japanese Chin, King Charles Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Mastiff (all breeds), Pekingese, Pug (all breeds), Rottweiler, Shar Pei, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tibetan spaniel, Tosa, Valley Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier

If your pet does not fall into any of the breeds listed above, then you may bring them along on your plane ride to your vacation destination in the country. Here are the things that you need to prepare:

• A secure and leak-proof pet carrier where you can place your pet . Make sure your pet is hydrated and let him pee and poop prior to the flight. Most important, comfort your pet!

• Updated vaccination certificates (Medical booklet) especially anti-rabies four weeks before the flight at least. Ask a travel certificate from your Vet.

• Be accompanied by passengers at least 12 years old or through Air Cargo.

So make sure all is planned and organized prior to you vacay!

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