Pet Travel: Traveling via Cargo with a Snub-Nosed Pet

Flickr: Vivian Chen:PeachesThere are certain precautions every pet owner must take when your pet is traveling in the cargo area of a plane. You want to make sure your pet is acclimated to the crate, properly hydrated etc. so your pet travels as safe and as comfortable as possible. For the snub nosed pet owner, things can get a little trickier. Snub-nosed pets (Dogs: Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih-Tzu Cats: Persian and Himalayan for example) are some of the most popular breeds, but unfortunately can pose a risk during air travel. These short nosed (also called “brachycephalic”) pets have difficulty breathing and acclimating to certain weather conditions. Even though these pets are considered “at risk”, taking necessary precautions and using the proper flight itinerary on a pet-safe, pet friendly airline will help reduce the chances of an incident. Below is an airline chart to help pet owners who are considering traveling via cargo with their sub nose breed.

Most airlines require a health certificate within 10 days prior to your travel date. (International immigration requirements also apply if traveling outside country borders)

Weather restrictions: When extreme weather conditions exist the airlines restrict animals that will be accepted as checked baggage in certain cities. These restrictions are setup for the safety of your pet. The restrictions are as follows:

Summer Heat Embargo: May 15 through September 15

Winter Embargo: November 1st through March 31st

Delta: Delta is one of the least restrictive airlines when it comes to snub nosed pet travel. As long as the temperature does not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit or drop below 10 degrees, snub nosed breeds can be transported. Unfortunately, they will not accept any type of Bulldog (French, American, or English).

Continental: Continental acknowledges the weather restrictions due to the embargo but in certain cities they provide climate controlled vans to transport the pets to and from the airplane. With these vans and under certain circumstances they are able to transport pets during these embargoes. You will want to contact the airline directly for more information. Also, Boston Terriers, Pugs and Bulldogs will not be transported at all between May 15th and September 15th. Along with the health certificate, here are the Continental Airline requirements for snub nosed pet travel:
• Use 1 size larger kennel than is normally required
• Use a kennel with ventilation on 4 sides. (If the kennel does not have ventilation on 4 sides, modify the kennel by drilling 7 holes in the rear top and 7 holes in the rear bottom of the kennel using a 3/4 inch keyhole bit).
• Acclimate the animal to the kennel by letting the animal spend time in the kennel for several days before its departure
• Do not place food in the kennel during the flight, just water
• Provide plenty of water to the animal. Frozen water bottles with tiny holes punched in the sides make a great watering tool for several hours when placed in the kennel’s watering dish.

American Airlines: American Airlines has issued a permanent embargo on all breeds of snub-nosed dogs and cats, effective November 15, 2010.

Frontier and Alaskan Airlines: Both Frontier and Alaskan airlines don’t have special requirements or restrictions for snub nosed pets, however there are temperature restrictions. Also, during the months of June to September these airlines will not transport pets in certain cities. Call your local office for more information.

It is always wise to call your airlines when making your reservation and disclose the breed of your dog. Also, it is a good idea to let the Captain know that you are traveling with a pet. Preparing in advance is an important part of pet travel.

UPDATE: Delta announced this week that they will not longer allow any type of bulldog in the cargo hold. Almost all of the US based carriers have followed suit. Frontier is the only known US based carrier that will accommodate a bulldog as of this writing.

174 comments to Pet Travel: Traveling via Cargo with a Snub-Nosed Pet

  • Jessica – the issue here is safety for the puppy. United has a program in place to transport snub-nosed breeds in the summer from select cities, but not all cities. It is dangerous to ship any dog in high temperatures. The summer heat embargo should trump any other airline policy when it comes to transporting pets. Always choose very early departures and/or very late landings on your route.
    Susan

  • Jessica

    United will fly the bulldog breed year round even in the heat embargo as long as he/she is under 6 months and under 20 pounds.

  • Kathryn

    Hi Admin

    I will look into Korean Air, thank you. Not feeling hopeful for either of them at the moment :(

    K

  • Noonie – it would depend on 2 things. When you were traveling and what country you were traveling from?

  • Noonie

    I want to take my 2english bulldogs to Thailand which airline would accept the bulldogs as cargo and how much it’s gonna cost for everything

  • Aaron – did you try Air France? They have a non-stop flight from HKG to CDG. Tell them when you are flying as the Summer Heat Embargo should be winding down by the time you travel. Remember too that, although an airline may refuse your pet as accompanied checked baggage, they may accept it as manifest cargo (it is a bit more expensive however.) Would also recommend you try Lufthansa. Air Canada has a longer route, but has been known to accept Boxers.
    Jason

  • Aaron

    Hello! I am so glad to have found your blog! I moved to Hong Kong from Paris in May and am now ready to bring my 3-year-old super healthy 37kg female Boxer. I am planing a trip to get her in September but cannot figure out what carrier is willing to accept her due to her snub nose :(
    It is a long trip even for humans flying direct :-/
    My return will be in late September or October 1st.
    I received a quote from a pet expediter to do everything for me for USD $7500. I am sure I can bring her over myself for less than half that amount.
    Please advise. And thank you, in advance.

  • Kathryn – did you try Korean Air through Seoul? Would that work? Can your Pug travel in-cabin?
    Phil

  • Kathryn

    Hi,

    Yes, we are really struggling to find any airline that will take a pug and even the mastiff cross is being rejected. We had an export agency sorting things for us and it all looked ok, but now it’s just brick wall after brick wall. Another is trying to find a new route, but I think they are close to giving up too :(

    The issue is the snub nose, although Kai, the mastiff cross doesn’t even have one (the akita genes must have won through!)

    Don’t know what we can do next short of charter a plane, which we could never afford! ALL suggestions welcome at this point! Thank you!

  • Kathryn – is it the airlines refusing your Pug? What is the issue?
    Susan

  • Kathryn

    We would like to fly with the pug and akita x mastiff as soon as possible now really, from London to Taiwan. We thought it was sorted but have just hit another brick wall. Any help really appreciated.

    Kathryn

  • Kathryn

    Hi

    Thanks for this link. We would like to fly with the pug and mastiff cross as soon as possible now really. We thought it was resolved but have just hit another brick wall! Any help or suggestions really appreciated.

    Kathryn

    admin
    June 2, 2014 at 6:53 PM
    Kathryn – you can find the requirements for bringing pets into Taiwan here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Taiwan.cfm. Your biggest issue may be finding an airline that will transport them. What city and country are you traveling from and when are you planning your trip?
    Susan

    - See more at: http://www.pettravel.com/blog/index.php/pet-travel-traveling-via-cargo-with-a-snub-nosed-pet/#sthash.mhEHNWzv.dpuf

  • Have you tried Vietnam Airlines?
    Campbell

  • Lucie

    Hi

    I currently live ln Hong Kong and I will be moving to Singapore. I have a shih tsu. I am struggling to find an airline that will take him. Can you help? I am originally from the UK so could I fly him to the UK stay there for a couple of weeks then fly onto Singapore?

    I don’t mind how much money or how many trips it takes – he just must come with me.

    Thanks

  • Kathryn – you can find the requirements for bringing pets into Taiwan here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Taiwan.cfm. Your biggest issue may be finding an airline that will transport them. What city and country are you traveling from and when are you planning your trip?
    Susan

  • Kathryn

    Hi

    I’m going to be moving to Taiwan with a pug and a bull mastiff-akita cross at the end of the year. We hadn’t anticipated problems with the big one, only the pug, but it seems both are problematic! Any suggestions are really appreciated please.

    x

  • Alphonso – try Air India but know that if the temperatures exceed 85 degrees, the airline will most likely refuse the transport. It is for the safety of the pet.
    Susan

  • Alphonso

    Hi,
    I want to import an English bulldog pup into India from Europe or US. Which airline would accept bulldog as cargo.

    Regards.Alphonso

  • Jatin – try Air India. However, be aware of temperature restrictions. If the temperature exceeds 85 degrees anywhere along the route, it significantly increases the risk to your pet and the airlines may not transport it.
    Susan

  • jatin yadav

    Hello i want to send my american bulldog adult female from germany to kathmandu nepal .is there any airlines which help me.

  • Moniza – here are the airlines that I can find that serve this route. I cannot tell you about local regulations or export permits. The layover times vary with each airline. Lufthansa (through Frankfurt) KLM (through Amsterdam) Korean Air (through Seoul) Etihad Airways (through Dubai) Turkish Airlines (through Istambul) Jet Airways (through Delhi) Philippine Airlines and Egypt Air’s routes are very long.
    Hope this helps.
    Phil

  • Moniza

    Admin,

    I have the same problem as you. I want to send my Shih Tzu from KL to Toronto and checked with few airlines, unfortunately most airline are embargo. CX via hong kong not allow snub nose dog at all, Eva airline embargo any dogs from Malaysia, Air Canada cargo doesn’t have permit to ship dogs out from KL , looks like hopeless. Need help for more info.

    Moniza

  • Ben – not sure which cities you are traveling from and to, but try Air Canada. They serve cities in Canada and Malaysia and transit through Hong Kong. Whatever airline you decide on, stay on the same airline the entire trip. Avoid Narita in Japan. To enter Canada, your pet will need proof of rabies vaccination prior to entry. You can find details here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/canada.cfm
    Susan

  • Ben

    Hi everyone,
    I’ll be moving from Malaysia to Canada soon. Any idea how I may transport my Shih Tzu dog (~ 6 kg) with me? Any airline?

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