Dr Gerry Pahl (BVSc. Sydney) professionally answers your pet relocation queries. 



I am commonly asked by concerned owners about the use of sedative drugs to calm an anxious pet during travel.  Although this may seem logical, it has been proven that sedatives are dangerous for travelling pets. Most sedatives will:


-Reduce blood pressure and reduce animals ability to control body temperature (making them susceptible to hypothermia)


-Depress breathing activity


The main concern pet owners have is related to their pet’s anxiety and stress. I have the following advice:


1.   Use natural calming agents. there are “pheromone” products available which have a natural anti–anxiety effect but no sedation.


2.   Crate conditioning – It is fortunate that pet psychology has become an important part of modern animal health care.  I have a program to prepare your pet so they are comfortable with the crate and travelling in it.  Together we can make sure that your pet(s) are well prepared and happy with the crate when it is time for them to be on the move.

Pet travel is an extremely low risk procedure best managed by professional advice, correct evaluation of fitness to travel, correct crate selection and the use of airlines with expertise in pet shipment.


Over the past few years, many airlines have tightened their policies regarding the transport of Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) animals.  In fact, now the majority of International Airlines either completely ban or place severe restrictions on the shipment of these animals.
Examples (not exhaustive) of the breeds in this group include the following:

Bulldogs (all types), Pugs, Pekinese, Shih Tzu, Boston Terrier, Boxer and Chow Chow
Persian, Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair

A brachycephalic animal has a short and flat snout resulting from years of breeding to develop this characteristic.
The following list describes the particular anatomical characteristics that contribute to breathing difficulties:

1. Stenotic Nares - abnormally small nasal openings.
2. Elongated soft palate - the soft palate is the flap of tissue extending back towards the throat behind the "roof of the mouth".  It divides the back of the mouth from the nasal passages above.  If too long, it flaps about in the back of the throat and can partially cover the opening of the windpipe (larynx).
3. Redundant Pharyngeal tissues - excessive folding of tissues in the throat.
4. Everted laryngeal saccules - these small pouches of mucosal tissue within the voice box can bulge into the airway obstructing airflow.
5. Hypoplastic trachea - abnormally small diameter and shape of the windpipe.
Snub-nosed pets may have some or all of the above issues.  In addition, older animals may also have associated lung disease and/or heart disease.  A detailed medical examination is recommended prior to considering air travel.  If your pet has a clinical history of respiratory or cardiac disease, I will request copies of your pet's case notes from your local Vet for evaluation.

You do not need to be alarmed when considering relocation of your snub nosed pet, however careful pre-export health evaluation and specific crate consideration should be standard practice in this situation.