Bulldogs, pugs face special risks flying, federal report shows
ATLANTA — Snub-nosed dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, account for almost half the ones that have died while being transported as airplane cargo in the past five years, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
One reason, said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Humane Society’s pet risk program, is that short-snouted breeds have “problems breathing and with air flow.”
“The way all dogs cool themselves is basically through respiration,” said Dan Bandy, chairman of the Bulldog Club of America’s health committee. With less nasal airway to cool themselves, short-snouted breeds tend to be heat-intolerant, he said.
Beginning in May 2005, airlines have been required to report when pets die, are injured or escape during air travel. In that time, 122 dogs but only 22 other types of pets died, according to a report released Friday.
According to the report, 25 English bulldogs were among the 122 dogs that died in transit. Pugs were second, with 11 reported deaths.
Sonny Seiler of Savannah, Ga., who owns the University of Georgia’s mascot, Uga, said that the English bulldog routinely flies to the football team’s away games in the cabin or an air-conditioned cargo hold. But before each Uga (the eighth will debut this fall) is a year old, Seiler has a surgical procedure done at the university’s veterinary school to enlarge the dog’s airways and ease breathing.
The late Uga VII, the University of Georgia’s English bulldog mascot, had surgery to enlarge his airways to aid his breathing, though he traveled in the cabin or an air-conditioned cargo hold.