Q: I'm thinking of taking my dog with me back to the Orange County, Calif., area for the holidays since I'll be there for about nine days (I live in Houston). But I've heard that taking a dog on a plane can be dangerous. Lucy (my dog) is a big, darling 4-year-old pug and I love her dearly. Is it safe to fly with her?
–Amy, Sugar Land, Texas
A: While it's understandable to want to take Lucy to celebrate the holidays with you, it may be a better idea to leave her at home. Assuming Lucy is too big to fit in a kennel under a seat, she'll have to fly cargo. And that's where problems for animals often begin.
There are all sorts of horror stories involving pets getting lost, or placed into unpressurized cargo holds, or even somehow consuming antifreeze. But in your case, there's an extra reason why Lucy shouldn't fly. Veterinarians especially recommend that short-nosed dogs, like Pekingese, bulldogs and pugs, don’t fly, as they can have difficulty breathing, especially in high altitudes and hot environments.
Instead, why not let Lucy have a vacation of her own at one of Houston's pet hotels? One high-quality option in the Houston area is Pet Paradise Resort just outside Bush Intercontinental Airport. For $35 per day, Lucy will have access to a bone-shaped pool, plenty of biscuits and treats, and plush bedding and toys. Plus, if you get worried, you can check in on her via webcam. Check out www.petparadiseresort.com for more information.
Another option is from national chain PetSmart, which now offers the PetSmart Pets Hotel. They have a number of locations in the Houston area, including Sugar Land. Check out petshotel.petsmart.com for more information.