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.

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

  • Carlos – where you are traveling from?

  • Carlos


    i have a two year old English Bulldog. I will be moving back to Bolivia and My dog has being declined in all of the airlines that i could think off. Please help!

  • Sue – have you tried Hawaiian Air?

  • sue

    Hello in of HELP we PCS from Belgium 2014 July from Belgium to Honolulu Hawaii and have 3 dogs. We only was allow to take2 of our pets on our flight. We are trying to get our english bull dog to Hawaii but have no luck on airlines that will fly her out. Would anyone have any information on flying a english bull from Belgium to Hawaii unaccompanied.

  • Tim

    Does any know who will fly an English Bulldog from OKC to Honolulu?

  • Jamie

    Barbara, you should contact Island Pet Movers if you are shipping a dog to Hawaii. They have a lot of experience shipping short nosed breeds.


  • Mel – you will need to consider a cargo airline such as AmeriJet. They do transport snub-nosed pets, but not sure if they fly the route. You may have to fly your pet to a destination that they offer or look at another cargo carrier.

  • Mel

    Hey Everyone, I really need some help and wondering if anyone can suggest or help me. I have an american bulldog male almost 8 months and want to travel from Toronto to Dominican Republic but I have exhausted my research and finding it really hard for any airline to take him :-( I understand him being a snub-nosed with this type of breed there are regulations and for his own safety but has anyone had any luck with airlines/cargo that might take this type of pet and asssist me please?

  • Barbara – not sure of your route, but Air Canada may transport your Bulldog. Aside from that, perhaps a foreign flagged carrier.

  • Barbara Baker

    I am in the same position with a English Bulldog that is bound for Hawaii, to the original owner who left her for me to care for since May 28 2014.?????? I am working on a solution? Any Ideads? By ship?

  • Maria – there are next to no North American based airlines that will transport English Bulldogs anymore due to the high risk in transporting this breed. Short of a private charter, you can check with Air Canada and see if they will carry your pet out of Puerto Rico.

  • Maria

    I’am relocating my family from Puerto Rico to Florida and I have an English Bulldog. Can anyone help me to find an airline that can transport it?

  • Seira – Bulldogs are difficult breeds to transport. What cities are you flying from and to?

  • seira


    I have an american bulldog, I will be moving from UK to Iran, But I was not able to find an airline which accept this breed please help

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