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 — 396 Comments

  1. Tanya – English Bulldogs are the hardest breed to fly as they breath hard at ground level. Lufthansa has routes but Air Canada flies them so that’s a no go. Finnair same, but BA flies the route so that’s a no go. Did you try Swiss Air?

  2. I’m trying to fly my english bulldog from Toronto, Canada to London, UK (preferably Gatwick airport). I’m having trouble finding an airline that will fly bulldogs, and into the UK. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  3. I need to bring my English bulldog from Katy, Texas to Miami does anybody knows how? I need help. I have try pretty much every airlines and they don’t have this service.

  4. Looking for an airline that ships a Mastino Neopolitano from LAX to Miami. Delta just announced that as of October 2016 they refuse all snub nosed incl. mastiff breeds regardless age weight or temperature limits.

  5. Hi Sam – have you tried Qantas? Last we checked, they will carry Bullies as long as they travel in a crate that is one size larger than required. Release of liability is required. Get him the largest crate bowl you can find as dehydration is the issue with this breed.

  6. Hi

    I’m wanting to fly my Aussie bulldog (very similar to an English bulldog) from Melbourne,Australia to London. He’s around 32 kgs and he’s in great condition. Around 3.5 years now

    Any ideas ?

  7. Alison – Eva Airlines would be a good choice if they will take your Shih Tzu. If not, try Vietnam Airlines. They both fly the route from Houston to Ho Chi Minh City.

  8. Hi, I am looking to fly my shih tzu from Houston (US) back to Vietnam. We have already asked Cathay pacific who refused to take him because he is a snub nosed dog. I would be devastated if I cannot fly him. He has not reached one year old yet; however he is very healthy. What airlines would you suggest us check out? Thank you.

  9. Bret – it is extremely difficult to fly English Bulldogs commercially, and impossible on US-based airlines. Best way is via ground transport, if at all possible. Ask Greenfield whether they have any agents they work with who would drive your puppy to Texas. Or, meet them along the way somewhere. It is the safest way to transport this breed.

  10. I am trying to find a way to get an English Bulldog that weighs 24 lbs. from Pennsylvania to San Antonio or Austin, TX. Anyone have any ideas. I paid the shipping dept. at Greenfield Puppies online $500 and was told he would be here at 6:45 today in time for my son’s birthday tomorrow. They called this morning and said when they brought him to the airport that United Airlines told them they would not ship an English Bulldog over 20 lbs. He weighs 24 lbs. They did refund my shipping to PayPal. I am trying to find an alternative method to get him here ASAP because my son’s birthday is tomorrow. Unfortunately we already received all paperwork on the dog and have shown him pics and told him he was coming soon and he even named him. Any suggestions?

  11. Keanu – bulldog breeds are being transported by fewer and fewer airlines due to their severe breathing problems. You may want to consider a cargo airline or contact an agent who serves LAX for a suggestion. (try IPATA.ORG)

  12. Gayle – the trend with the airlines is to ban these breeds in the cargo hold because many of the incidents involve these breeds. The risk to them when traveling in the cargo hold is much more significant that non-snub nosed breeds. You may need to find a non-US based airline.

  13. I raise French Bulldogs and mini English bulldogs. As of Oct 1,2016 I cannot find anybody that will fly these flat nosed dogs, at ANY time. I sell dogs all over the US,wgat r we breeders to do now,?

  14. Betty – it is possible, but you will need to find an airline that will transport them in the cargo hold as they are snub-nosed breeds. BA will not transport them. Where in the UK are you departing from?

  15. can you tell me if its possible to send two French bull dogs from the uk to Bermuda please

  16. Hi Dene – you may want to contact your airline again. If they accept pets as part of their policies, the representative you initially dealt with may have been unfamiliar with the rules. Be sure and clarify that your pet will qualify to fly in the cabin.

  17. Cody – Lufthansa should take your Bullie as long as temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees F along the route and it is transported in one size larger crate than required. Did you check with them?

  18. Last time I tried to fly my shitzu from chicago to houston they said no..but when I search says they won’t ship or “check” them as cargo..I want her to fly in cabin with me, doesn’t that make a difference? Just wondering if I got someone on the phone that didn’t know the difference?

  19. Hello I am trying to get my English bulldog from lax to Germany during the month of October I am having a hard time finding any airlines that will accept him. Thank you for the help.

  20. Jeremy – would try Delta Cargo first. If they cannot carry your Bulldog, then you may need to contact an all-cargo airline like Amerijet.

  21. I need to send my American Bulldog from Virginia USA to Puerto Rico.
    He is 40 lbs. which air cargo will fly him?

  22. I’m trying to ship my American Staffordshire from Costa Rica to Florida but I’m willing to drive anywhere in the country that will allow him to have no layovers. I am very worried about putting him on a plane so I have been looking for alternatives. Driving up through Mexico seems like a very dangerous idea. I would love to just be able to go with him on a boat to the closest port but I can’t not find any information. Is there any alternatives?

  23. Stephanie – this time of year when temperatures are over 75 degrees F, it is almost impossible to find an airline that will transport an English Bulldog. Did you try WestJet? Most all airlines have an embargo on snub-nosed pets this time of year and many will not carry them at any time due to the risk involved in their transport.

  24. Hi There,

    I am trying to transport my English Bull Dog from Vancouver BC, to Alberta. Isn’t a long flight just under 2 hours. I cant find an airline that says they will transport English Bull Dogs, any suggestions we are planning to move in a couple weeks.

    Thanks for the help.

  25. Elizabeth – there are some airlines that will carry your French Bulldog as long as temperatures are under 75 degrees F. (Lufthansa is one). So, you will need to find a route that lands in the UK late at night or very early in the morning before temperatures rise. Get a crate that is one size bigger than your Frenchie would normally need with ventilation on all sides. Also, dehydration is a problem with snub-nosed pets. Find the largest pet crate bowl you can find and freeze water in it the night before so it will melt slowly. If you can’t find one, get a large margarine bowl and cable tie it to the door. Put a sticker on the crate asking airline personnel to check the water level during the layover (if there is one).

  26. Hi there, I’m wanting to re-locate my French Bulldog from Perth Australia to the UK next July (Aus winter but UK summer) He had major breathing problems previously and we have had his whole upper airways system operated on (nares widened, soft palette shortened, everted saccules corrected etc) are there any airlines that will fly him? If so are any particular airlines recommended for flying the brac breeds? Any suggestions to prepare us for his flight and any suggestions for during his flight? Thank you

  27. Elle – if your Shih Tzu would be small enough to fly in the cabin, then you could fly to Paris and take Le Shuttle out of Calais. You would need to hire a service to help you or enlist assistance of friends as you will need a car to make this trip. Also, did you try KLM? KLM Cargo is approved to transport pets into the UK, but you need to be careful about temperature restrictions.

  28. Hi~
    I have 2 Maltese and 1 Shih Tzu and I need to return from Taiwan back to England. However every flight I’ve looked at say they won’t take Shih Tzu’s as on board or cargo! I’m very worried as I would be devastated to leave her here! If anyone could help me I would be very grateful.

  29. im trying to get my french bulldog to china does anyone have any idea how this is done

  30. Vicki – extremely difficult to transport an English Bullie to or from Hawaii. You can look up a transporter in Hawaii and inquire.

  31. Have two 80 pd english bulldogs I need to get from maui to lax. Used Hawaiian in the past but it they have banned this breed now too.

  32. Jenn – did you check Royal Brunei? AirAsia may carry your Shih Tzu, but transits through Kuala Lumpur which is not a desired route. Korean Air is not approved to fly pets into the UK. What is really important is returning to Bahrain with your pup. The regulations are rather steep; you can check them here:

  33. Hi!
    I have a shih tzu and I really want to bring her out to London with me when I go study there. However, the only airline that I found that can bring shih tzu is korean air, but i cannot find any flights from Brunei to London (its okay to have transits), and there are no airlines that I know of in Brunei that allows shih tzu on cargos… 🙁

  34. For those who wonder how to bring their pet to Lax I just wanna share my experience on pet travel from Manila to LA. First you need to finish all the required documents (Health Certificate, BAI export permit and inoculation record. Your pet’s Vet can help you with this and prepare it more than a month before your travel. Next is you need to call the airline make reservations so that your pet will have a place, you can ask how much are you going to pay because pets are automatically considered as an excess baggage. At your flight, you need to ready your pet’s papers when you check in your baggage. The process time takes like 30min above that’s why you should check in early. After your baggage has been collected, they will tell you to leave your pet in an area where they’ll pick them up and transport them in the cargo hold. They’ll be loaded 30min before flight. I was so worried about my dog because he’s a snub nosed (Shih Tzu) and he has anxiety problems, maybe he’ll not survive the flight after all the forums I read about snub nosed not surviving the flight. I was so anxious and I keep praying the while I’m aboard to make sure he’s okay. When you’re near to your destination, you’ll be given a CBP form of Customs and you need to fill that up, there’s a section asking if you take an animal with you. When we land in LAX I was so worried, maybe he’s dead or sick. Then I saw him in his crate anxious and wondering, will my master come back for me? Then when he saw me he started trying to get out of the cage cuz he’s so excited to see me. Then you have to go to another checking and final where they’ll ask for all the required documents. Check the CDC page for all the requirements needed to import pets in US. I just gave them his health certificate, inoculation record and export permit, then we pass and get home happy to move in a new place with my pet. I hope this helps to the pet owners who wants to bring their pet in US and are extremely worried about they’re pet who’s snub nosed. I would recommend Philippine Airlines because they treat my dog nicely and handled him with care to reduce stress. That’s the best airline for me. I just hope that someday they’ll allow small pets I the cabin.

    Here are some tips so you can reduce your pet’s stress during the flight
    1. Put an all day long worn shirt in his crate so that he’ll be comforted during the flight. Make sure this is not too thick which may cause your pet to bury his nose and have a harder time breathing.
    2. Attach an information about the pet (Name, owner, breed, address, email and contact number) in case he got lost
    3. Do not feed him less than 4 hours before flight. You don’t want your pet throwing up or feeling sick during the flight
    4. Make sure water is available to hydrate him. Staffs can’t go to the cargo hold while in flight, so make sure there’s enough water in your pet’s Hanging drinking water

    And for you so you won’t be so stressed and anxious I would recommend you to pray because it really helps so much and remember everything happens for a reason. That’s all thanks, I hope this helps 😀

  35. Hello Mark – you are correct. Snub-nosed breeds are at greater risk when flying than other breeds due to their breathing limitations. Several suggestions: get one crate size bigger than your pup will normally require and make sure it is ventillated on all 4 sides. Fly during periods of lower temperatures. Get a large crate bowl and freeze the water in it the night before. Traveling is very dehydrating and you want to make sure that your pet has adequate hydration. Get a funnel and attach it to the door with a zip tie so that airport personnel can easily refill the bowl during the layover. You can ever tape a sign to the crate saying “Please refill my water”. Of course, this would be on a layover as airport personnel have no access to the cargo hold once the plane leaves the gate. Be sure and remind the crew that your pet is traveling in the cargo hold and to monitor the temperature and pressure.

  36. Hi we’re traveling from Manila to Lax this December. He’s a shih tzu consider him as a snub nose. What can I do to lower the risks of my pet dying. He’s checked in as baggage and the airlines told me (Philippine Airlines) that he will be placed in an area for live animals. I was quite relieved but I’m still worried. He is bpvery healthy and we completed all the documents needed. Hope you answer. Thanks

  37. Audrey – Lufthansa will carry them as long as the temperature does not exceed 75 degrees. They must travel as air cargo, so you want to contact Lufthansa’s cargo department.

  38. how can I fly my 3 yrs old shiatsu from KL Malaysia to Toronto Canada in April with me or through the cargo itself? Pls. advise .


  39. Hello, I was wondering about French Bulldogs on British Airways flights. I see that airline isn’t listed. I know they allow them on some routes but I’m enquiring about a puppy coming from the UK on British Airways to Bermuda. Thank you! Jessie

  40. Delta will not fly her because of the summer embargo, even in those cities listed. I’m considering going down there myself and bringing her with me in the cabin, though I am not sure that will be possible. Could you give me a quote as to how much it would cost for ground transportation? It would be from Miami to NYC. Thank you?

  41. Jackie – Delta will not transport pets as checked baggage between the period of May 15 through September 15. During that time, pets must fly under the policies of Delta Cargo unless the weather is extreme. First suggestion: consider flying from a city that is on Delta’s 2015 Summer Live Animal Program: Miami, Sarasota, Fort Walton Beach, Pansacola, Gainesville, Panama City, Fort Myers, Ft Lauderdale. Contact Delta’s cargo department and see if there is a flight that departs very early in the morning before temperatures rise. Be prepared to get a crate one size larger than your pup would normally require. As for ground transport, we are based in South Florida and would be happy to quote you a price to drive, however, it will most likely exceed the cost of flying your pup as cargo.

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