Sedatives have been used for years in pets to calm them and reduce nervousness, usually in association with thunderstorms or fireworks.

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The primary disadvantage of sedating pets for air travel is that there is no one to check on them nor offer medical care if problems arise. The most profound and potentially life threatening problem associated with sedation is the effect on blood pressure.

Most sedatives lower the blood pressure which can make the pet groggy and cold.

That can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, especially in those cute short-faced dogs and cats. “The temperatures in the cargo compartment are much more extreme than in the cabin, and tranquilizers can blunt the dog’s ability to pant or deal with being overheated or being cold, so I don’t recommend them if they’re going to be in cargo,” says Scott Shaw, DVM, assistant professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton, Massachusetts.

You're packed, have the health certificate and are ready to take that much needed vacation with your pet.

Even for those pets that may benefit from sedation, you must be thoroughly aware of all the complications, side effects and risks of using a sedative.

You and your pet would probably be safer and have a much more pleasant vacation if sedatives were not included.What is known is that sedative use has been implicated as a contributing factor to many pet air travel deaths.Overall, sedation for traveling pets is NOT recommended.If you use the airline carrier to take your cat to the vet, such journeys may engender fear and loathing.Gradually increase the duration of the time your cat spends in the carrier, taking longer journeys to desirable destinations.Include a toy, but avoid food, because cats generally should not eat on airplane trips.