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.


Pet Travel: Traveling via Cargo with a Snub-Nosed Pet — 376 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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 as all updates will be posted there (and other places on our website). Should know more in the coming weeks.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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
    Again, awesome article! I look forward to further learning from your input.


  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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 for more information.

  13. 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!

  14. 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 and petition for cruise ship to allow us to leave the ship with our pets.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.


  24. 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…

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