Pets on Airplanes

Recently we were on a flight and not one, but two dogs were on it. Now I don’t have a problem with pets on planes, but I am not allergic to them, and unless up close and personal, no one in my family does. However, just as there is currently a lot of controversy over allergy provoking foods on planes, there is some debate about whether pets should be allowed on planes.

In Canada, allergy specialists are arguing that cats should not be allowed on commercial airlines due to the high number of people allergic to cats. Approximately 10 percent of people are allergic to cats, and even having them nearby can bring on the allergy symptoms.

According to a recent news article,

“for now, cats still are allowed on Canadian aircraft. In the U.S., all major carriers allow them. In Europe, a recent Swiss study found cat dander present on 100 percent of airline seats tested, even if no cat was aboard.”

Dog hair and dander can be just as rampant, though dogs are not allowed on the flight over a certain amount of pounds; they are transported in another area of the plane. However, I think this is a dangerous topic to get into as there are so many debatable points. For instance, what about service animals. These have to be allowed, and I think their precedence overrides those with animal allergies. Yes, they are allowed many places where other animals aren’t, but they do still have hair and dander.

Perhaps airlines could instill “animal free zones” similar to the peanut zones many are implementing. Certain sections will be deemed able to have small dogs and cats ride there while others will be for those who don’t want to be around animals. What happens, though, when someone who has a cat or dog sits next to someone with an allergy? I know I usually some sort of dog hair on me as I have a golden retriever. But that is not controllable. All the limits can be set and then someone with cat hair all over his coat sits down next to someone allergic and the sneezing begins. There is nothing to do.

It’s all part of the dangers, the annoyances and the uncontrollability of allergies. We never know who may have just eaten a peanut butter sandwich of a handful of cashew nuts, who has been hugging their dog goodbye or rubbing their cat behind his ears.
We just have to be aware, on guard and know what is around us and dangerous and what to do. Keep those antihistamines on hand!


  1. You are so right. You can not live your life in a bubble and you can’t expect others too either. No nuts, no pets, what is next. No perfumes or deodorants. We have a lot of clients who are chemically sensitive.

    Just like on the airplane they tested, my guess you would find cat dander everywhere you tested.There is no way around it.

    Pet dander, especially cat, is very light so it floats through the air and then sticks to whatever it touches. I have cats so everywhere I go I take some dander with me.

    The best thing to do is know your triggers, avoid them as much as possible and keep your meds handy.

  2. An airplane is 1. an enclosed space where people SHOULD have to accomadate others and 2. like a RESTAURANT – a place of business where food is served and animals should NOT be permitted.

    I was not aware that they started allowing pets on aircraft a few years ago when my family recently took our trip of a lifetime…..

    We saved up and planned for years for a trip to China. Not 2 hours into the 14hr flight we all started puffing up, turning red, and having difficulty breathing. I won’t go into the nasty specifics, but our trip of a lifetime was ruined and we spent much of our time bedridden missing the Great Wall, because someone had to have their dog on board the airplane. I wonder if Air Canada or the pet owner would care to pay for another trip costing around $20k for our family to have our “once in a lifetime trip”.

    Just because cat dander is “found everywhere” does not warrant a carte blanche excuse for allowing cats everywhere. It is generally not in sufficient QUANTITY to make me sick.

    On that same logic – traces of cocaine are present on much of our currency – does this mean we should all have cocaine? No, thats stupid.

    Air Canada tells me they only allow ONE pet per flight and they must fit “carry on”. A quick search of the aircraft and I found 2 pets – one of which was much larger than carry on, and 2 of the stewardesses (who handled my food and drink) were petting it!!!!!!

    I love pets. I really do, but allergies are not always easily controlled by simply “popping a clariton”. Check your pets into the luggage and keep them out of the cabin.

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