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

There 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 so your pet travels as safe and as comfortably as possible.

For the snub nosed pet owner, things can get risky. Here are dogbreeds that can be considered as snub-nosed depending on your airline: Affenpinscher, American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier/Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier/”Amstaff,” Belgian Malinois, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, American Bulldog, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Old English Bulldogges, Shorty Bulldogs, Spanish Alano/Spanish Bulldog/Alano Espanol, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chow Chow, English Toy Spaniel/Prince Charles Spaniel, Japanese Chin/Japanese Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, Mastiff, American Mastiff, Boerboel/South African Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Ca de Bou/Mallorquin Mastiff, Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff, Dogo Argentino/Argentinian Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff, English Mastiff, Fila Brasileiro/Brazilian Mastiff/Cao de Fila, Indian Mastiff/Alangu, Kangal/Turkish Kangal, Neapolitan Mastiff/Mastino Napoletano, Pakastani Mastiff/Bully Kutta, Pyrenean Mastiff, Presa Canario/Perro de Presa Canario/Dogo Canario/Canary Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff / Mastin Espanol, Tibetan Mastiff, Tosa/Tosa Ken/Tosa Inu/Japanese Mastiff/Japanese Tosa, Pekingese, Pug, Dutch Pug, Japanese Pug, Shar-Pei/Chinese Shar-Pei, Shih-Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier/”Staffys,” and Tibetan Spaniel.

Also, the following cat breeds are also snub-nosed: Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan and Persian.

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-nosed breed.

Most airlines require a health certificate within 10 days prior to your travel date for pets flying in the cargo hold. (International immigration requirements also apply if traveling outside country borders)

Weather restrictions: When temperatures exceed 80-85 degrees F (27-30 degrees C) in any airport on your pet’s itinerary, the airlines restrict animals that will be accepted as checked baggage or cargo. These restrictions are enforced 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 has changed their banned breed policies and will no longer transport dog or cat breeds considered as snub-nosed in the cargo hold.

United: United will no longer transport snub-nosed pets in the cargo hold. See their snub-nosed breed restrictions here..

American Airlines: American Airlines has issued a permanent embargo on all breeds of snub-nosed dogs and cats.

Frontier Airlines: Frontier no longer offers checked baggage or air cargo services for live animals. If you want to fly with your pet on this airlines, it must fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you.

Alaskan Airlines: snub-nosed breeds are no longer permitted to fly Alaska Airlines in the cargo hold.

Lufthansa: snub-nosed breeds will be transported as long as temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees F anywhere on the itinerary.

KLM Airlines: KLM will only fly snub-nosed breeds as air cargo.  Four breeds of snub nosed dogs will no longer be allowed in the cargo hold on KLM aircraft: English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, and Pug

When your snub-nosed dog or cat are flying in the cargo hold, here are tips to keep them safe:

• Use a pet crate that is one size larger than is normally required
• Use a crate 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 your pet to its crate 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 your pet. Frozen water bottles with tiny holes punched in the sides make a great watering tool for several hours when placed in the crate’s watering dish. Find the largest pet crate water bowl that you can.

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.

More information on airline pet policies.


Comments

Pet Travel: Traveling via Cargo with a Snub-Nosed Pet — 390 Comments

  1. Tania – almost no airlines will fly French Bulldogs in the cargo hold due to its snub-nosed condition. If your Frenchie is small enough to fly in the cabin, then Air Canada can transport it through Toronto. If it must fly in the cargo hold, try flying Westjet to a US location served by Copa Airlines. You will need to claim your pet and clear customs to recheck it on the Copa flight to Sao Paulo, so you layover should be at least 3-4 hours.
    Susan

  2. Lease I want get back from Vancouver- Canada to São Paulo -Brazil with my 10 years old French Bulldog… what is the best way to travel with her and air company, if you can help me please, I will be very thankful ,coz it’s very difficult to bring her (Nina)home, , tks a lot

  3. Subasana – the question is whether your Lhasa Apso is small enough to fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier. If not, then you may want to contact Lufthansa as they offer service from India to Canada and will fly your pet in the cargo hold if it is not small enough to fly in the cabin. Watch out for temperatures, though, if your pup must fly in the cargo hold. They cannot exceed 29 degrees C anywhere on the route.
    Susan

  4. Hi, I stay in Canada and I have to bring my dog fluffy (lhasa apso) from India to Canada. I’m confused about which airlines would be comfortable for him and also is there any chances we can we take him with us in cabin because he is 3 years old now.

    Thank you.

  5. Rima – if your Frenchie must fly in the cargo hold due to its size, then know that few airlines will fly it as it is a snub-nosed breed. Turkish Air and Lufthansa will as long as temperatures are not extreme. Plan to fly in the cooler months if possible.
    Susan

  6. i am planning to take my french bulldog back to LA after college, which will be in 2yrs and my dog will be 2y/o that time.

  7. Kelly – Australia will require that your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel fly as air cargo into Melbourne for mandatory 10 days of quarantine. This means that you will be dealing with the airine’s cargo department. Many airlines will ban this breed; however, Qantas will fly it as air cargo. An agent may be required to book the transport. Let us know if you need this assistance (info@pettraveltransport.com). It will need to fly in an IATA-compliant pet crate like those shown here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/pet-crates/

    Unfortunately, we are unaware of any pet friendly options by sea.

    If you need to review regulations to import your dog to Australia, you can find them here with links to further instructions if you need them: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/australia.cfm.
    Susan

  8. I’m moving from the USA (LA) to Australia and trying to figure out how to transport my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He’s tall – about 32lbs – so can’t come in the cabin sadly.

    Has anyone safely flown a Cavalier in cargo, or is it too risky due to the snub nose? Or are there other options ie boat?

    Thanks for your help!

  9. Lee-Jane – Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines “may” fly your Frenchie depending on temperatures at the time of flight. Not many airlines will fly this breed as it is snub-nosed. You will need to contact their cargo departments as all live animals flying into South Africa must do so as air cargo according to commercial airline regulations. If you need pet import requirements for South Africa, you can find them here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/SouthAfrica.cfm.
    Susan

  10. We are needing to fly our French Bulldog from Malaga Airport to Cape Town South Africa.

    Please give me instructions on which airline to try?

    Thank you

  11. Hello SP – the UK will accept “assistance” dogs that are trained by nationally-recognized organizations. You will need pre-approval from the Animal Reception Center at your destination airport for the airlines. Here is what the ARC at Heathrow says: All assistance animals arriving and transiting through Heathrow must be pre-approved by Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) and compliant with The Pet Travel Scheme. Please notify HARC at least 72 hours before you’re due to fly. A pre-approval letter will be issued by HARC upon completion which must be forwarded to your carrier and shown to check-in staff at your departing airport. Upon arrival at Heathrow a member of staff from The Animal Reception will meet you at the flight to check your assistance dog’s original paperwork. This should take no longer than five minutes. Please note: additional charges must be paid directly to HARC if your assistance dog has not received training from an organisation accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI). HARC’s website is under maintenance at the moment, but you can contact them at +44 344 335 1000 for more information.
    Susan

  12. i have an english bulldog (service animal ) and we are moving from los angeles California to London. there is no way i will leave him behind, even willing to fly business or first class to have our own enclosed suite if possible. do you know of any airlines that will allow service animal to fly with me from usa to uk? really need helP! thank you. money is not an issue. will prefer nonstop flights if this is more convenient.

  13. Erica – because no US-based airline will fly your dog’s breed, the only option we can offer is to transport it via ground transport to MIA or FLL and we can arrange to fly it on a cargo-only airline to Puerto Rico. If you are interested in this option, send us an email at info@pettraveltransport.com and we will respond with further details and a free quote.
    Susan

  14. Relocating to Puerto Rico from Boston and need to find a way to fly my Italian Mastiff over… can you help me find away?

  15. Russel – Korean Air flies your route through Seoul. They are the only airline that serves your route (that we can see) that will allow your Frenchie to fly in the cargo hold. If they will not fly Billy as checked baggage, contact their cargo department.
    Susan

  16. My name is Russel Whitmore. I’m currently living in Thailand with my Philippine Wife and 8 year old Daughter and our pet dog Billy, a French Bulldog. I’ve got all the necessary vet requirements covered. We are due to leave Thailand at the end of May 2019 and fly back home to the Philippines. We just can’t leave Billy behind, he’s family, but have run into a problem, a problem I hadn’t expected. We can’t find an airline that flies between Bangkok (BKK) and Manila (MNL) that will take him. It seems they are all afraid of snub nosed dogs, even though it’s only a short flight. Billy is 8 months old and about 15 kilo.

    Can you help, suggest a solution?

  17. Nina- assuming that your Cavalier is small enough to fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier, then we will need to see how Brexit works out. At this time, it is looking like it will not be classified as a Option 1 Listed Country which means that it will be classified either as an Option 2 Listed Country (Third Country) or an unlisted country. In either case, the use of pet friendly ferries and the Eurotunnel may be in jeopardy as pets will need to enter the UK at an approved border inspection post in the UK and, currently, the only approved non-airport BIP in the UK is Southampton. Will adjustments be made? We don’t know at this point. Keep your eye on https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm as all updates will be posted there (and other places on our website). Should know more in the coming weeks.
    Susan

  18. Desperately need help. I need to relocate from Australia to the uk with my King Charles Cavalier and I am really not ok with her going in the cargo hold or as freight. Does anyone have suggestions? I am open to anything!

  19. Raqy – you can contact Korean Air. Likely, your Mastiff will need to fly as air cargo so you will need to contact their cargo department.They do not fly into SEA (they must operate the entire route) but they do fly from MNL to LAX, then you may need to continue by car. Not many options for Mastiff breeds out of the Philippines. If it is permitted, your Mastiff will need a wooden crate if it is over 65 pounds.
    Susan

  20. I am in the process of migrating from Philippines to Seattle Washington and I have a bullmastif that I cannot leave behind I have searched everything on what airline can accommodate him… any help or suggestion is welcome

  21. Sam – if your Shih Tzu is small enough to fly in the cabin, then contact Lufthansa and ask whether they will allow this on your specific route. (they fly between Rio and Mumbai) Lufthansa will also fly it as checked baggage but this is not as good as having it with you in the cabin.
    Susan

  22. Hi,
    i have Shih tzu. i am going back to India from Rio de janeiro. its one of the longest rout. i would like to know which airline and which mode is best option ? (In cabin ?, as checkin baggage?, cargo?).
    he is part of my family. feeling worried about him. we all are very tense in family.
    kindly suggest best option.
    Regards

  23. Hi,
    Great article! You definitely covered all of the bases with this one, I especially like the addition of each airline restriction of snub-nosed breeds. Nice touch! I value your writing/ knowledge with brachycephalic breeds. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take a moment of your time and give me your input on a similar article I wrote https://www.travelingpetsafety.com/snub-nosed-dogs/
    Again, awesome article! I look forward to further learning from your input.

    Thanks,
    Wil

  24. Laura – have you tried Copa Airines? If they will not fly your Frenchie as checked baggage, try their cargo department. Watch out for temperatures if you plan to fly soon. If temperatures fall below 45 degrees, the airline will likely not transport your pup.
    Susan

  25. Hi,

    I have a French Bulldog and I´m permanently moving from Colombia to Canada. I would not leave my dog behind…. I have researched an researched, and I don´t find a solution… Please help me!

  26. Tess – you can contact a local office of Caribbean Airlines and inquire. If that does not work, then another option would be to fly your English Bully to FLL on Lufthansa and fly Amerijet to Grenada. We can assist you with the booking and other services if you need them. Email Campbell at info@pettraveltransport.com for more information.
    Susan

  27. Need to get our English bulldog from Uk to Grenada (Caribbean). He flew on lufthansa from Dubai to UK and was perfectly fine! Wondering if Caribbean air accept them? Any other ideas would be grateful!

  28. We lost our English Bulldog from Oz to USA. Totally heartbroken never again but now we have to French Bulldogs. We need to get on Change.org and petition for cruise ship to allow us to leave the ship with our pets.

  29. Andrei – Air France flies non-stop. It will need to fly as air cargo on AF. Lufthansa will also transport it with a stop in Frankfurt.
    Susan

  30. Hello!…with witch airline can i take my dog fro san francisco to paris?…he is a american bully ,1 year old…13-16 kg!..thank you!

  31. Viona – if Air France will take your English Bulldog, it will need to fly as air cargo, so you will need to contact their cargo department. If temperatures exceed 75 degrees F, the airlines will likely not accept it and it is not safe for your pet to fly in the cargo hold. Also know that the flight must be non-stop. AF requires that live animals be claimed and rechecked in layover cities.
    Susan

  32. Trying to fly our English Bulldog from London UK to Ho Chi Minh city (November 2019), can Air France freight take him? I know AF 258 does the Paris – Ho Chi Minh city route every Saturday. I understand snub nosed dogs are accepted by AIR FRANCE freight flights only?
    Or is there any other options? I know Lufthansa will not take him, due to ground temperature limits.

  33. Kristine – we know of 2 airlines that will transport Frenchies internationally and that is Qantas and Lufthansa. Qantas’ hub is Sydney and best you ask their cargo department what facilities they have available for your pup. Your pup will be under their care from check-in to pick-up and they should be able to assure you that your pup will be cared for during the layover.
    Susan

  34. I have a French Bulldog and am researching flying her from Auckland, New Zealand to Vancouver, Canada. I have been advised Qantas will take her breed, but there are no direct flights. So, the flight will require a 4 hour layover in Sydney (which of course is warm/hot all year round). Are you aware of any other options for flying this route?

    There are 2 times per year they fly and weather is pretty similar at both times. My cat of course can fly Air NZ direct… no worries.

    Also, do you have any suggestions on how to ask for water to be provided to her? (I know they have said they will attach an additional water bottle to her crate to be used in Sydney, but not sure if it will be frozen etc).

    (I think I have annoyed my pet transport agencies whom I am asking lots of questions of). My dog is not an anxious character, she takes things in stride and has lost most of her hearing so tends to travel really well and has always been excellent with vets, hospitals etc.

  35. try Lufthansa _
    Lufthansa: snub-nosed breeds will be transported as long as temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees F anywhere on the itinerary.

  36. Lindsay – if your Frenchie is not small enough to fly in the cabin, it will need to fly as accompanied checked baggage in the cargo hold. Check with Iceland Air into Toronto and see if they will transport your Frenchie as it is a snub-nosed breed. Once you get to Canada, you will clear customs and change to WestJet (confirm with them that they will fly your Frenchie.) The goal is to get to Canada before switching airlines. Avoid London if possible. You really should transport your Frenchie in one crate larger than normally required. Temperatures will likely be a problem, especially if you need to travel within the next few months. The airlines will not transport pets in the cargo hold when the temperatures are lower than 7 degrees C. You will need to monitor temperatures closely. Find a flight in the middle of the day if possible. As far as Canada is concerned, proof of rabies vaccination and a health certificate from your vet in French or English is what you will need.
    Susan

  37. Hi,

    I have a French bulldog and I’m moving from Munich Germany to Ottawa Canada, I have no idea how to bring him with me. I have researched and researched, all I find is conflicting information. I would love some insight. He has had two surgeries that help his breathing, not that he had issues before. our vet recommends both of these for snub nosed breeds.

    Thanks!
    Lindsay

  38. Billy – there are few airlines that will fly your dog’s breed. You can try WestJet, but, other than that, we can only suggest ground transport. Sorry…
    Susan

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