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. Trying to find a way to get my English Bulldog to Orlando Florida from Vancouver Canada. Any advise?

  2. Shannon – hard to respond not knowing your origination airport, but no US-based airline will transport your Chow Chow. To get across the water, (if you are flying from the US) you may need to enlist the services of an agent to book transport on a cargo only airline. You can search for an agent serving the US East Coast at We are in South Florida and can assist if that makes geographical sense.

  3. Any advice on flying a chow-mix to Puerto Rico? I was trying to have him shipped via American Airlines and they’re telling me that if he even looks like he is part chow, they won’t ship him. He

  4. Kim – you did not mention your route; however, Lufthansa will take your Shar Pei if they fly your route. If not, then perhaps they serve a nearby airport that you can reach by car. Also, we would mention that there is a difference between accompanied checked baggage and air cargo. If you have been speaking with customer service for ticketing, then you may want to contact the airines’ cargo department instead. Many airlines will not take certain dog breeds as checked baggage but will accept them as air cargo.

  5. im afraid i cant find once airline that would allow may sharpei to put into cargo 🙁 can you suggest one that might say yes? 🙁 i was so saddened i cant even think of living without her :(((( or is it possible for me like to pretend she can fit in under the cabins seat? just for the sake of taking her huhuhu

  6. Kim – likely your Sharpei is too large to fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier that will be required to fly in the cabin. As Air Canada will not permit your Sharpei to fly in the cargo hold, you will need to find an airline that will allow it and one that serves your entire route. As your Sharpei will be flying as unaccompanied air cargo, you will be dealing with the cargo department of this airline.

  7. i need to get my sharpei with me but we already booked in aircanada. can she be at the cabin with me? is it safe for her to be at thecabin?

  8. Korean Air will get your pups to Vancouver through Seoul. WestJet can get them to Ottawa or Toronto. Be careful of temperatures, though. Assuming that one or more of your pups will need to fly in the hold, temperatures under 45 degrees F anywhere along the route will be a problem.

  9. We need help in flying our 4 mix breed shih tzu-maltese dogs ages 9yo, 7yo, 7yo & 5yo, from Philippines to Ottawa, Canada. Any suggestions which Airlines would allow us? Thank you in advance and God bless!

  10. Hello DCpug – if you can find an airline that will allow your Pug in the cabin flying into South Africa, that would be great. Clearance services for animals is not available in the terminal (from our understanding), so arrangements must be made for customs clearance. You can check with Delta as they fly out of Dulles to JNB; however, we have not heard of any that will allow this class of service into SA.

  11. Hello – I will need to transport a 7 year old pug from Washington, DC, USA to Pretoria, South Africa. Ideally, he would travel in cabin as he is a registered emotional support animal, however South Africa has a strict no pets in cabin. What do you recommend?

  12. Silvana – Lufthansa will fly your Shih Tzu. It should fly in a crate that is one size larger than normally required.

  13. Koofi – we would recommend Lufthansa as they fly your route entirely with only one stop in FRA and they will fly your dog’s breed in the cargo hold if necessary. If your dog is flying as unaccompanied air cargo, then they will care for your Terrier during the layover. Contact their cargo department for details. Get one crate larger that will allow for extra ventilation for your pup and a large water bowl that attaches to the door. You can find the best IATA-compliant pet crates and accessories at

  14. Hello. I am trying to transport my Boston terrier from Detroit to Beruit. What Arline do you recommend to do this?

  15. Dia – as long as your dog has conformed to the requirements to import it to Australia and will be entering an approved country before exporting to Australia, then it will need to fly as air cargo. Many airlines will not transport this breed, even crosses of Lhasa Apso due to their sunb-nosed condition. (Lufthansa and Qantas will at this time). As to your question, it is a difficult one to answer. Your dog should be healthy and acclimated to its crate. You should make accommodations for it in Singapore as it will need to spend 4-6 weeks there. ( Good transport agents can help assure that all requirements are met. It will not be inexpensive to import your dog to Australia, so you should save in order to be able to afford its transport. We would also mention that Australia has high temperatures from December through February, so after that, temperatures should cool.

  16. I want to bring my pet to Australia from India. he is mix breed lhasa apso terrier breed. its a long journey for him.. mumbai to singapore/malaysia quarantine..blood tests ..then 10 days quarantine in melbourne. i want to know how much risk or chances are for him to make it here..when shall i plan the fly..? february ?

  17. Laura – if you obtained your American Staffie from a breeder, then they would have supplied pedigree papers. Unless Air France flight is non-stop, you should avoid this airline as you will need to claim and recheck your pet on the next leg of your flight. Lufthansa owns routse between Edmonton and Barcelona, however, be careful of the routes where Air Canada operates a leg of the route as they do not accept American Staffies. KLM may be a good bet for you.

  18. Hello I am flying from Edmonton Alberta Canada to barcelona Spain and living there for one year. My dog is am American Staffordshire terrior, I see the 3 flights that accept him, KLM, Air France (only if he’s pedigree) how would I find out if he’s pedigree??? & Lufthansia. But I think they need a special crate. I’m not sure what to do at this point but call around. any info would be great ! Thanks!

  19. Sagi – English Bulldogs are undoubtedly the most difficult breed to transport due to their extreme snub-nosed condition. You can try speaking with Lufthansa about your pet’s transport. (You have probably tried El Al…) Temperatures need to be under 75 degrees everywhere along your itenerary, so you may have to wait a bit and/or find a night flight. If all else fails, you may need to contact an agent in Mexico to see if they have any options.

  20. Hello Admin,
    i have an English Bulldog 1.8 years old. she is in great condition.

    i am planing to fly from Mexico to Israel with my dog but i found out that no airlines accept English Bulldog.

    please advice.

    thank you so much !!!

  21. Laura – Copa will fly your Terrier as air cargo in one size larger crate than normally required and with ventilation on all 4 sides. The temperatures on the route need to be cool, however (under 80 degrees). The flight transits through Panama, so you need to monitor temperatures there too.

  22. Hi, I need to flight my dog from Cali, Colombia to Toronto Canada in mid september. He is a 9 years old boston terrier. Do you have any suggestions. I have checked two airlines and the don’t flight boston terriers any more. Any suggestions?

  23. Jp – Lufthansa will fly them (likely as air cargo) in crates one size larger than they would normally take. Check with their cargo department and see what they say.

  24. Hi Admin, I’m possibly moving from the Netherlands to Seattle USA..but I have 3 dogs:
    1 french bulldog, 1 crossbreed frenchbulldogXamericanbully and 1 crossbreed frenchbulldogXoldenglishbulldog…
    Is there ANY way to fly them over there?

  25. Tim – if your Shih Tzus are small enough to fly in the cabin in airline-compliant pet carriers and your airline allows that, then outside temperatures will not matter. Not many airlines will carry snub-nosed breeds like Shih Tzus in the cargo hold, especially if temperatures exceed 75 degrees anywhere along the route. Best time to fly with snub-nosed pets is during periods of cooler temperatures. Lufthansa will fly the breed; however, you should confirm with them that they will fly pets in the cabin or as checked baggage out of Hong Kong. (it is required that live animals enter HK as air cargo.) Fly to Frankfurt and the flight will be non-stop.

  26. i have a dog n i want to take him with me to usa so how much will be cost n wht documents need for it

  27. I have a shi-poo dog (shitzhu and poodle) and he has a snout larger than normal shitzhus but I’m worried that the airline me and my family take won’t accept my dog because we are traveling for military reasons and need to figure out a way for my dog to go too.

  28. Hi , we have two Shih tzu one 9 years one 5 years old plan to travel from Hong Kong to UK or Europe direct flight if possible, could you please tell us the best time to travel and airlines that will accept them either in the cabin or cargo
    Brgs Tim

  29. Colleen – Lufthansa will transport Mastiffs in reinforced CR82 crates. Not sure of your route..

  30. I have French massive .. need to go to Heathrow London ..Does anybody know who transports them airlines

  31. Ayie – now that Philippine Airlines has changed its policies on flying snub-nosed pets, there are few options. You can try Royal Brunei Cargo Department as they do not specify banned breeds. Be sure and ask when you call them. Asiana Airlines allows pets in the cabin if your Shih Tzu is small enough; however, there is a long layover in Seoul.

  32. I want to fly mu shih tzu from singapore to philippines, any airline that accept snubnose dog?

  33. Ash – assuming that your pup is too big to fly in the cabin, one option may be to fly Lufthansa to Toronto and take WestJet to SXM. Select a flight out of LHR that is operated by Lufthansa, not Air Canada as they will not transport your pet’s breed in th ehold. WestJet has weekend flights into SXM, but watch temperatures as they climb towards summer. Hope it works for you and your pup.

  34. Hi, My shitzu (he is actually a lapha apso) is being refused for travel by Cargo on KLM to St Maarten (SXM) from London (LHR). Are there any exemptions or other methods to transport him there? The problem is, I am permanently moving to St Maarten!

  35. Lufthansa will transport Mastiff breeds in CR82-compliant pet crates. You will likely need to get a heavy wooden crate made. It would be easier to answer if we knew your route.

  36. Having trouble finding an airline the week take my Dogue De Bordeaux puppy. Does anybody have a suggestion?

  37. Felix – you may need to transport your Boxer via a cargo only airline if no commercial airline will transport it. A4T All Services may be able to assist you with the booking and check-in. You can email them at or 829-435-8071.

  38. I live in Charlotte, NC but am originally from San Juan, PR. Do to the circumstances after the hurricane that hit the island recently i have to bring my 5 year old Boxer but i am having difficulty on finding an airline that will let me board my big boy. Any help or line of site will be greatly appreciated!

  39. I’m trying to find a air company to go to Ghangzhou from Sao Paulo with a french bulldog (4 months). Any tips?

  40. We are terribly sorry for your loss. There should be no incidents involving live animals when flying, but sadly, sometimes there are. We hope that your heart heals soon.

  41. My 2 year of French bulldog died on a flight from Bangkok to Paris. Our family feeling devastated. I take a huge risk of my dog. Please never take the risk to fly your dog.

  42. Nandini – where is your Bullie traveling from? Qantas also may carry it. Spring and Fall are the best times to fly this breed. Due to its snub-nosed condition, there are risks. Make sure it has plenty of water available.

  43. I am a little desperate, I need to transport my 9.4 year old English bulldog to the UK in January. So far, Lufthansa seems to be the only carrier that will transport him in cargo. Is there any other means of transportation I can consider? I am so afraid

  44. Ema – we are so sorry to hear of your loss. Yes, English Bulldogs are the breed at highest risk when flying.

  45. Our young 2.5 year old healthy English Bulldog died on a Lufthansa flight from Munich to Vancouver. We are devastated and regret taking him on this trip. If we could say one thing; never fly your bulldog-it is a huge risk and a horrible death we are sure. If only we could take back time.

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