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.


Pet Travel: Traveling via Cargo with a Snub-Nosed Pet — 243 Comments

  1. Anne – you can try Philippine Air. Your breed is a snub-nosed breed so there are few airlines that will transport it in the hold. The best months to travel are spring and fall. The temperatures are not at their extreme during those months. To enter the US, your Shih Tzu will need proof of rabies vaccination more than 30 days prior to import and a health certificate issued in English within 10 days of entry. Also a tapeworm inspection between one and five days of entry.

  2. Good day!
    I have a nine year old shih tzu that I want to bring to Seattle USA from Manila Philippines? What airline can I try to contact that will help me safely bring my pet with me. What month is it safest for her to travel? What are the requirements for me to bring her to the U.S.? How much are the airlines charging for bringing a pet to the U.S.?
    Thank you very much for your attention and response, I appreciate it.

  3. John – did you try United Airlines? They transport pets to Honolulu from Detroit under their SafePet Program. You will need to arrange their flight to Maui.

  4. Adele – are you having problems finding requirements to travel to Amsterdam or an airline to fly your Bulldog?

  5. mike – as you no doubt know, English Bulldogs are the most difficult breeds to transport. Hopefully, you are PSCing early in May and temperatures will not be an issue. Last we heard, Asiana Airlines, EVA Airlines and Thai Airways will take them. Are you traveling with your pet or not?

  6. I’m in the US military station in Japan and I am PCSing to Kansas in May. I have a English bulldog I trying to fly back to the States. Even if I cant fly her to Kansas I just need someone to fly her to the States and i will drive with her to Kansas. If anyone know a carrier that will fly bulldog from Japan to the US please help.

  7. I’m travelling from Toronto to Amsterdam for 90 days and I’m struggling trying to take my French bulldog can anyone PLEASE help me in this matter

  8. Hi there – does anyone have any success stories? We’re about to PCS to Germany and we’re shipping our 3 y/o English Bulldog with Lufthansa. We’re flying overnight in May to avoid temperature issues. I’d love to hear about people’s positive experiences rather than all the “warnings” I’ve heard in the last few months.

  9. I have 2 lab/ pit mixes that i am moving to Hawaii with my wife in a few months. We have gone thru all the the proper procedures with the department of agriculture. My only problem is finding an airline that will take them. Both of their vet paper work say Lab Retriever Mix. My one dog looks just like a lab, and the other you can tell has some form of pit in him. They were both rescue dogs so we are not exactly sure what they are. They are currently in Michigan and we need to fly them to Maui. We are also willing to drive somewhere if we have to leave from a different destination. Does anyone know what we can do?

  10. Andrea – this restriction varies by airline. Some do not restrict cats at all. Ask your veterinarian whether he can be listed as a mixed breed and whether he or she would consider your cat bracycephalic.

  11. Hi, I am planning to fly BKK to CDG with my 3 cats, they were all strays I adopted while being here in Thailand. However, I am not sure if one of them will be considered Burmese as he has similar colouring but no snub nose ( I don’t think so anyway !) Is it only pedigree Burmese that have the travel restrictions ? Thank you so much for any help !

  12. Hello I was wondering which airlines would accept my 3 French bulldogs to ship from Hawaii to Orlando Florida as we are moving thanks!

  13. Hi Keith – am checking on banned breeds in SA as we have not seen any published. You can find requirements that must be fulfilled here along with links to instructions and forms if you need them: Your pet must be microchipped, vaccinated for rabies and have other blood tests ahead of time. A veterinary certificate will also be needed.

    You need to contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route. Most all airlines deliver live animals to SA as manifest cargo. Be careful how you route your trip and stay clear of London if possible. Layovers, if any, should be less than 2 hours. Let us know if you have further questions after reviewing the requirements.

  14. I am planning to fly to South Africa and probably move there soon.

    I have an american pitbull terrier adult 6 yrs old that I want to take with me.

    Need help

  15. Rhonda – We don’t know of a commercial airline that flies out of Honolulu that accepts English Bulldogs. You may want to look at a pet friendly cargo airline that flies out of Honolulu.

  16. Hello we are PCS from Hawaii and I will be shipping my 9 month old English Bulldog to Oklahoma to my family May 2015 to beat the heat deadline.
    Which airlines will ship from Honolulu to Oklahoma
    ( or as close to OK as possible) I have contacted hawaii pet movers, but no reply yet. I’m very knowledgable on shipping so I would prefer to do it myself.
    Thank you

  17. I have a 2 year old English bulldog I am trying to fly from San diego to Seattle does anyone know of any airlines to will transport him. Thanks for the help

  18. Ray – have you tried Interjet or Air Canada? Remember that you may have to transport your pet as manifest cargo, so contact their cargo department if you do not have luck with reservations.

  19. Hi im tryingto bring my dog from mexico coty to new york hes an olde english bulldogge but im havin alot of problems with the airlines i need help what can i use or do

  20. Jodi – not a lot of variety on this route. Alaskan Airlines just stopped flying snub-nosed pets. You may want to contact an agent to see if they can find an airline that will carry your Schichon. We don’t see one unless it would be small enough to fly in-cabin with you. There is a cargo company that flies from Seattle to LA ( and they carry animals. Perhaps this will help.

  21. My daughter needs to be hospitalized for an extended time, and I have zero options for the care taking of our dog. He’s a 5 year old Shichon. I was hoping to fly him from Seattle to San Diego to stay with my ex-husband, but I can’t find an airline that accepts Shih Tzus. Any advice? (He was hit by a car as a puppy and has some brain damage according to the vet. He doesn’t like anyone he met after the accident, so that leaves six people in the world that he won’t try to bite.)

    Thank you!!!

  22. Patrick – Lufthansa does transport the breed, but temperatures must be cooler than average. And their routes between BCN and SAM involve 2 stops. You will need to fly at night when temperatures are cooler. Delta will also accept the breed as manifest cargo (not checked baggage). You can contact their cargo department for details.

  23. Hello Ashley – try United Airlines. They will transport your Mastiff to IAH under their PetSafe program and they fly the route non-stop. So does American Airlines but they are a bit more sensitive as to what pets they transport.

  24. Hi
    I am planing on traveling to San diego USA from Barcelona with my french bulldog in August, does any ailines allow french bulldogs now if heard that lufthana does ?

  25. Hi I need some help/info. I need to get my 4 month old bull mastiff from Los Angeles to my mom in Houston Texas. I don’t know which airline will take her? Is Delta the best bet? What about ground travel? Are they more expansive? Thanks

  26. Leesa – fewer and fewer airlines are flying your pup’s breed. You can try Lufthansa, but the temperature must be below 75 degrees everywhere along the route from beginning to end.

  27. Hi! We are moving from DC to the UK and are having a hard time finding anyone who will ship our English Bulldog over there. Any ideas?

  28. Hi,

    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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.


  31. 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.

  32. 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?

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

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. HI

    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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