5 Tips for Traveling Safely with Snub-Nosed Breeds

pug travel safety tipsPugs, English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Persian cats and other snub-nosed (or brachycephalic) pets require special care when it comes to air travel.

These breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to stress or high temperatures because of their facial structure and hereditary respiratory issues, so travel is more risky for them.

This doesn't mean short-nosed pets can't fly safely, but planning a smooth trip requires a little extra preparation and attention. Here's what we suggest when traveling with snub-nosed pets:

  • Use a larger travel crate than normally is required (allow about four to six inches of clearance on all sides) and make sure it has ventilation on all four sides.

  • Use only pet friendly airlines when flying -- these include United for domestic and KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways for international travel.

  • Acclimate pets to the travel crate by working on crate training during the weeks  prior to departure.

  • Provide plenty of water to your pet before, during, and after the flight.

  • Above all, make an appointment with your vet before you make any solid travel plans in order to discuss your pet's health and any questions you have about travel safety.

Realistically, some pet owners decide it simply isn't worth the risk to move forward with moving a snub-nosed pet, while others end up carrying out perfectly safe moves under the guidance of their vet and with the help of professional pet shippers.

Here's one more consideration relating to logistics: Many airlines will not fly short-nosed pets due to safety concerns and some operate with summer embargoes that may limit options. It's important to start planning pet travel well in advance so that you're aware of possible roadblocks and have time to seek out alternate routes or airlines.

For real life examples of snub-nosed pet travel, here are a few stories about snubbies we've recently helped with international relocations:

Contact PetRelocation for a consultation if you need help planning your snub-nosed pet's move -- as you can see, we've had plenty of experience arranging all kinds of relocations and would be happy to discuss your options, as well.

Safe travels, everyone!


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines


Dogs, Snub-Nosed Breeds



Add a Comment

By Kristy on May 1, 2017 at 6:27 am

I may be moving cross country with my pug in the near future. I want him to be safe. If I have to fly, can he be allowed to sit beneath my seat in his crate? He is chubby right now, but can drop to a solid 20 pounds, fully hydrated. Please help. Thank you.

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on May 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

Hi Kristy, thanks for your inquiry. It will depend on the airline as to whether or not your dog can fly in the cabin, so we recommend doing some research now to find out your options (most carriers have details listed on their website). As always, we recommend using a pet friendly airline, especially if you end up flying your Pug via cargo. Sometimes Pugs and other snub-nosed pets end up needing to travel by car instead, but either way your plan to help your dog get into great shape and stay hydrated is definitely a good idea. Finally, we recommend talking to your vet about any health-related issues, as well. Hope this helps! Just let us know if can be of assistance.

By Shelley on May 2, 2017 at 9:10 pm

I'm finding it hard with height restrictions. My pug is 8kg so she is light enough but she is 13inches tall where as most guidelines say 10.5inch for carry case as they need to stand. However I know she will lie down the whole journey. It's from U.K. To Canada.

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on May 3, 2017 at 8:51 am

Hi Shelley, even if your Pug will lay down for most of the trip, you'll need a kennel that's large enough for her to stand up comfortably with a little clearance above her head. Here are our guidelines for choosing the right pet travel crate: https://www.petrelocation.com/learn/pet-travel-crates. Hope this helps! Just let us know if you need some assistance planning your move and good luck with everything!

By Kwai on May 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

I really want to travel with my shorkie to South Korea to live with me but I wouldn't mind paying extra for having him in cabin is there anyway if I upgraded my seating? He is too long size wise for the requirement to be in cabin but I am worried about him being in cargo :(Thank you

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on May 24, 2017 at 8:32 am

Hi Kwai, you'll need to check with the airline about their in-cabin pet rules, however it's unlikely that you'll be able to bring your dog in the cabin. That being said, we have helped hundreds of snub-nosed breed pets travel safely internationally by following the guidelines in the blog post above. Crate training is key, as is making sure your dog is as fit and hydrated as possible. As always, talk to your vet as well if you have concerns. Finally, please know that cargo travel is much safer than most people realize, particularly when you choose a pet friendly airline. Here is more information about how pet cargo travel works: https://www.petrelocation.com/blog/post/facts-about-pet-transport-safety. Just let us know if you have more questions or if you'd like some help arranging your dog's safe move. Thanks for reaching out and good luck with everything!

By Zoe on May 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

Hi! I'm planning on moving back home to Australia (from Florida) in the coming year or two and I have a shih tzu that I could never leave. She's always been crate trained but I worry if she has to be in the cargo for the 13hr over the ocean portion of the flight because she can get easily stressed. As far as brachycephalic breeds go - she has shown little to no breathing issues but still.. I'll take her by boat if that's an option I'm just looking for any safe way to transport her.

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on May 30, 2017 at 10:38 am

Hi Zoe, thanks for your comment! Though the flight to Australia does seem very long, please know that we've helped hundreds of pets travel here safely (including many snub-nosed breeds). Crate training is key, as is making sure your dog is in good health. If you'd like to discuss your options and address some of your concerns with our Australia Specialist, you can contact us here for a consultation: https://www.petrelocation.com/arrange. We'd be happy to talk when you're ready! Hope this helps, and just let us know if we can be of assistance.

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