Flying with pets as cargo involves risks but if you have no other option, a good crate is indispensable
Dog waiting in its crate doesn’t look too happy at the prospect of flying as cargo

When I was doing my research I came across many experts who agree that flying with pets as cargo involves certain risks. In fact, no matter what your reason might be, my advice to anyone who is thinking about traveling by air with their dog or cat in the cargo hold is DON’T. The risks are too great and too many tragic stories have been told. This should definitely be your last resort if there is absolutely no other viable option available to you.

Of course, the other possible choice is for your furry friend to accompany you in the passenger cabin, but that’s something to discuss another day.

Either way, make sure you get advice from your vet as well as the airline and prepare ahead of your flight schedule.

Consult Your Vet

Ask your vet about your pet’s food and water requirements. Also, what to do if your pet is nervous. Note, that administering a sedative before boarding is generally not advisable, and that tranquilizing can cause dangerous changes in the heart rate as well as other vital functions.

Consult The Airline

Check out what I.D.s, vaccinations and other documentation is required by the airline in question for both types of airline travel.

Do The Research

Here are some of the variables if you are thinking of having your pet fly in the cargo hold.

  • Experience and reputation of the airline
  • Time of year
  • Duration of the flight
  •  Direct flight versus connecting flights
  •  Weather on the ground

The Risk Factors

  • Pressure in the cargo hold is not always exactly the same as that of the cabin.
  • In the forward hold where live animals and pets are kept, temperatures during a flight can fluctuate by as much as 50 degrees despite having a heating/cooling system.
  • Extreme heat and cold while waiting on the tarmac.
  • Cargo crew mishandling, including dropping and breaking the crate, resulting in injuries, escaping and even death.

The Riskiest Times

  • The waiting period before loading.
  • Layovers, when you have to wait for a connecting flight.
  • The wait time for unloading/deplaning.

To Sum Up

Take your time and check out all possible options. Since flying with pets as cargo involves risks, please do your utmost to minimize those risks. We can point them out but, in the end, it’s up to you.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

Here’s another article you might like, this time about pets in the driver’s seat:


Be aware that even large dogs can get scared of thunder and other loud noises
Frightened by thunder this pet is unsure where to hide

Because of their acute sense of hearing, pets fear of thunder and other loud noises is something we must not forget.

Let me ask you to recall for a moment how a thunderclap sounds in the distance, then when it is not too far away, and then when it’s right up close. Now imagine you are a dog. How would you feel? Very scared, right? Even desperate if you already have a phobia of sudden and intense sounds.

That’s why humans need to be very aware of the impact that all loud noises have on our companion animals and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe.


Irrespective of breed and genetic programming, the behavior of any dog can be affected by a terrifying physical and emotional experience that a pet parent may or may not have prior knowledge of. This is actually an emotional disorder similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experienced by humans.

While breeds such as Rottweilers and Boxers are less likely to suffer panic attacks, studies show that others like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are more prone to suffering extreme anxiety due to any type of loud noise.

Fearful of thunder and other loud noises these small dogs shelter together in their safe space
Sheltering together during a storm helps ease pets fear of thunder and other loud noises


Much more frequent than the fireworks phenomenon is the frightening noise of thunder. Even before humans and animals hear the first thunder clap, pets, not humans, can sense changes in barometric pressure, electrostatic disturbances and the smells associated with storms.


Some dogs and cats suffer from fear phobia which is caused by memories associated with previous traumatic events. So, in addition to being scared of thunder, pets will react to other loud noises, which can include the following:

  • gunshots 
  • a car backfiring 
  • a door slamming 
  • an electric lawnmower or leaf blower 
  • a smoke alarm, and
  •  police sirens

So, let’s be more aware and think not so much about us…but about them.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

On this same topic, I recommend you also read about coping with fireworks: