Man moving kennel with cat inside.

The Top Dangers of Putting Pets in Airplane Cargo

Flying can be stressful for humans and our pets, it could be worse. Remember that jittery feeling in your stomach the first time you flew? Now, multiply it by ten and that is what our furry friends feel when they are airborne. Pets like cats and dogs or any terrestrial animal are not meant to be in the air. They do not have the consistency for it and extreme care has to be taken when they are on the flight.

Unfortunately, no matter how much care the airline companies promise to provide, numerous cases of pets dying en route during air travel keep coming in round the year. Some are not even aware of the dangers that await their pets while traveling in the dark, cargo hold of a commercial jet. 

1.   Fluctuating Temperatures

The temperatures of the cargo hold of the plane are not regulated properly. And why would it be, right? Cargo and baggage hardly ever need special temperature treatments. Unfortunately, most airline company operators overlook the fact that there might be pets in the cargo hold.

Pets are not allowed to travel in cabins with their owners and they are often signed in as baggage. There is no separate pet cargo. So, according to US regulations, pets should be taken on flights with temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, not only do the cargo-hold temperatures fluctuate widely, crates are often left on the searing heat of the tarmac while loading or unloading, causing dehydration and often, death. 

2.   Fluctuating Air Pressure

Similar to temperature, air pressure also fluctuates within the cargo area of a plane. That popping sensation in your ears when there is a change in air pressure is so much worse for your pets. This happens quite a few times while takeoff and landing because there is a huge change in air pressure with the change in altitude.

Your pets can puke or they could let go of themselves in fright. Even if the pressure is not regulated properly as it should have been done when there is a pet onboard, the airlines will push the matter as a pre-existing health condition which the animal was suffering from. They have little regard for pet airlines rules.

Most of the time they win, and the clean bill of health from the vet that you acquired before flying remains nulls and void. 

3.   Deafening Noise

Dogs, cats, and other animals are far more sensitive to sound. What seems like a regular sound to us, lands on their eardrums as a loud noise. This can increase manifold within the confines of a plane cargo hold. The baggage is often pushed around when they are not secure properly. They might bang against the crate, overturning it and resulting in a deafening sound inside the crate.

When this keeps on happening for an extended time over a long flight, your pet could be traumatized by the time you get him out of the plane. 

4.   Turbulence

That sinking feeling in our stomach every time the plane falls in an air pocket is something that most of us are still not used to. For our pets, this can be a frightening experience. They do not know what is happening and there is no one to hold them and comfort them.

Bad turbulences result in many adult human beings passing out, so it is not difficult to imagine what a puppy or a kitten might feel. If they pass out, they might never wake from it. And the airlines will refuse to take any responsibility because they will attribute turbulence to natural causes. 

5.   Manhandling 

This is the biggest risk of flying your pets on commercial flight cargo holds. Apart from the environmental hazards, human manhandling of animal crates has been a widely reported issue against many airlines. Many cargo handlers of these commercial airlines have little to no regard for the pet crates.

While the airline company might have strict rules in place to ensure the safety of your pets, the actual handlers might not adhere to them. What is worse, once your crate is taken away from you, you hardly have any way of knowing how your pet’s crate is being handled. In cases where investigations have taken place in the past, footage has revealed that crates are shoved and pushed around mercilessly.

Moreover, most handlers do not always follow the rule of loading the crates last and unloading them first. At times, they are left on the hot tarmac for hours during loading and unloading of connecting flights. Some carriers might promise to let your dog out or to feed or water them, but most of the time they don’t.

There have also been cases where pets have gone missing because the crates were not loaded or the lock was broken. By the time you can take these things up to the higher authority, the harm has already been done. 

What Can You Do To Avoid These Dangers?

It is better to rely on the ground or private and shared air transportation for your pets. Your furry children will get the individual attention they need during transportation. While you will be paying higher than commercial flights, the transporters will guarantee the complete safety of your pets.

Private ground or air transport for your pets comes with temperature and pressure-controlled cabins, air conditioning, food and water, and nice and comfortable interiors. More than anything, there is someone present to constantly monitor your pet on pets airplane. They are trained escorts, experts in animal care who will do all that is required to make them comfortable in the absence of the owner.

The private pet transporters will be mindful of routes with favorable climatic conditions to take your pets through. They will also let out your pets and let them stretch their legs in case of a long flight. 

While flying pets, nothing can match the peace of mind you get when you know your pet children are in safe hands. Invest in private air transport for them and you won’t have to worry about rushing your pet to the vet after you have landed. 

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