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



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By Alejandra on November 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Hello!I recently just got a girl pug (8months now) that in the future will be traveling overseas. Since she is an emotional support animal, will she able to fly in the cabin during these instances? I was hoping to take her to Vienna and feel better if she is up in the cabin with me. An answer to this would be great.Thanks!,Alejandra

By bethany@petrelocation.com on November 15, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Hello Alejandra, thanks for the question!

Unfortunately, most airlines do not recognize emotional support animals in the same way they do other service animals.

Most likely, if your pug does not meet the weight requirements for in-cabin travel, she will have to fly in the cargo hold. It is not as scary as it may seem - we've flown many pugs this way across the world before - so we recommend checking out this blog to help ease some of the concerns you might have.

Either way, please reach out to the specific airline you plan on flying with and check their in-cabin regulations for traveling pets - it varies from airline to airline. Best of luck with your planning and safe travels to you and your pug!

By Specialty Moving on November 13, 2017 at 5:25 am

Great article! This is such a comprehensive guide to moving home with your pets. You have covered every eventuality, which is fantastic as a lot of people would not think of all of these points. I think it helps that you are a pet owner as well, as you can completely relate to what people are going through.

By Moises Bondoc on November 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

Hi. I have a 4 month old English Bulldog. Travelling within the next few days and was wondering if she'll be okay with 2 stop overs in they will be able to refi'll her drink and food. I will be travelling ANA airlines for both long flights then air canada for the last. Also would she be okay with travelling 5 hrs then stop over about 50 mins then travel another 10 hrs. Just wondering what I can do to help her before hand to ease her stress.

By bethany@petrelocation.com on November 10, 2017 at 9:11 am

Hello Moises and thanks for the question!

Typically longer "comfort stops" are recommended to ensure the pet has plenty of time to drink water. I know Lufthansa and KLM require at least a 4-hour stop at their pet hotels before the next flight of a pet's journey.

With that, how safe it is for your dog to travel is completely up to you and your vet. Make sure your vet does a thorough examination of her prior to the journey and be sure to crate train her as much in advance as possible. We have some great tips here on crate training, as this is the best way to reduce her stress through the travels.

We hope this helps and that she has a safe journey ahead!

By sofia on November 1, 2017 at 11:32 am

I need to relocate from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to New York in January 2018 i have a 7 months old french bulldog, she weights 13 pounds but she is larger than what they allow in the cabin. i checked with united cargo and they won´t take her because of the breed. how would i go about taking her with me? thank you!

By bethany@petrelocation.com on November 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Hello Sofia,

Thank you for reaching out to us!

Unfortunately, the only pet-friendly airlines that transport snub-nosed breeds are Lufthansa and Swiss Air. Both of these airlines require a stop in Europe (either Frankfurt or Zurich), but offer safe transportation and accommodations for your French Bulldog.

We hope this helps get you started in the right direction. If you need further guidance or are interested in having us quote these options for you, please reach out to us here.

By Maria on September 20, 2017 at 8:12 am

I'm taking a trip and having difficulty with the airlines taking my 2 pugs. They travel just fine as long as they know I'm there. I am traveling alone and the airline only allows for one small pet per person. They are 22lbs .& 23lbs. so they are over the weight limit I am told is 20 lbs. What are my options? Maria

By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 20, 2017 at 8:27 am

Hello Maria, thanks for your question!

Your options for your pugs will depend on the locations you are traveling to. For example, Lufthansa will take pugs internationally to many locations when the temperature remains below 80 degrees at all of the travel points.

Regardless of your airline choice, we recommend waiting until the temperatures are cooler for your pugs' travel.

If you would like one of our consultants to work with you on your routing options, please fill out our form here to let us know more about your move. We'll be happy to help!

By Emma Graham on September 12, 2017 at 4:28 am

I and my family would like to move our pug with us when we go to America from India. We'd have to take an hour flight to get to an international airport, and from there we either plan on flying to Dubai or London for our layover and then to America. Each flight is 10hrs and up. We 100% want to fly in cabin for long flights, and our Pug should reach the required weight limit for most airlines. But we'd only be staying in America for half a year is it worth it? what are possible risks? For the hour flight is cargo safe? He's also a little iffy in crates depending on his mood, which probably won't be good in a new environment. So thoughts on medication?

By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 12, 2017 at 11:13 am

Hi Emma, thanks for your comment!

Though the flights do seem very long, please know that we've helped hundreds of pets travel many long distances safely (including many snub-nosed breeds).

While sedation (and other medications) are not allowed, crate training is key, as is making sure your dog is in good health. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not this temporary move will be good for your dog is up to you and your vet.

Hope this helps, and just let us know if we can be of assistance.

By Dee on July 27, 2017 at 3:18 pm

We have an English Bulldog who is 2-1/2yrs and is on heart medication. We also have a 7 month old Olde English Bulldogge. We are being moved to Germany from Texas (El Paso). Many airlines won't take them at all and I'm worried about how we can safely get them to Germany. Help.

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on July 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Hi Dee, thank you for your question. English Bulldogs can fly with Lufthansa out of IAH or DFW, but the temperature has to be below 70 degrees at check-in, departure and arrival for them to be allowed to fly.

Many of our clients have had to wait until things cool down in the fall before they can fly with their snub-nosed breed, and when moving domestically we sometimes arrange ground transportation for this reason.

Hope that helps! Feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss your situation with a Consultant 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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