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 Kim Hatton on August 24, 2018 at 7:22 am

planning on relocating in September from Indiana to Italy with a four month old pug. Any help or suggestions?

By TerryCarpenter on September 2, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Be sure to get up to date rabies vaccine...15digit iso microchip. Go online...E.U. Health certificate..576'/2013...and international Health certificate,7001. Needs to be completed by USDA.accredited vet.,//this done 10 days before flight .must FedEx..forms to aphis-vs.. USDA,for for verification,,stamp.,,overnight delivery plus 38$fee ,,quote... depends .make sure paid return postage paid..+ tracking..

By Gage Parry on August 23, 2018 at 9:45 am

Hi I am buying a American Bully from the US and am struggling to find and my shipping agent is struggling to find an airline that accepts snub nosed pets can you help?

By Christina at PetRelocation on August 28, 2018 at 5:15 pm

Hi Gage,

You should be able to book air travel for an American Bully on Lufthansa. They may require a IATA CR-82 crate, but there are no restrictions on the breed. Hope this helps!

By Jose. on August 14, 2018 at 11:22 pm

Hi I will. Like. To know if I can bring my English bulldog he is 11 months he weight 30 kilos from Lima peru to. Los. Angeles thank. You

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 21, 2018 at 9:16 am

Hi Jose! As you may know, it is difficult to move bulldogs. There are safe ways to do it, but there is always a bit of a risk with this breed. In order to relocate your pup internationally, we will need to wait until it is cooler than 80 degrees at all points of the journey. We'd want to put you in touch with an international specialist to discuss if this route is possible, so please fill out our Arrange A Move form here. Thanks!

By Chris on August 7, 2018 at 2:05 pm

I’ve got a 100lbs great Pyrenees and I’m relocatibg to North Carolina from souther California in aug of this year.With all the carriers making mistakes carrying pets, I’m extremely hesitant to put my pet on air transport. I know it needs to be cooler since he’s got a thick coat and overheats, so that makes it less desirable as well. Any thoughts ?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 13, 2018 at 9:31 am

Hi Chris! Many pet safe airlines now have kennel size restrictions (i.e., United), as well as temperature restrictions (i.e., Delta). It sounds like your pup might be a good candidate for ground transportation. Feel free to reach out to us directly about additional information on our ground transportation services. Hope this helps!

By James Derry on August 6, 2018 at 2:21 pm

I’m looking into a move from Houston to London in 2019 and I’ve got a French Bulldog in healthy condition but he never flew before. What possibilities exist to help with his move?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 6, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Hi James! As you have researched, it is a bit difficult to move French Bulldogs. There are safe ways to do it, but there is always a bit of a risk with this breed. In order to relocate your pup internationally, we will need to wait until it is cooler than 80 degrees at all points of the journey. We typically only recommend having bulldogs travel between the months of November – March. French Bulldogs will need to fly on Lufthansa Airlines as this is currently the only commercial airlines that accepts this breed. Check out this link to learn more about its hub and pet safe program, it is an amazing airline! If we can be of assistance when the time comes, please let us know!

By Silvia on July 29, 2018 at 10:56 pm

We might be relocating to the US (Tampa) in Dec 2018/Jan 2019 and would like to know what options there are to bring our 2 Boston Terriers from Australia (Adelaide). Worried about the long flights but unsure if short flights with more stopovers would be better or worse?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 6, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Hi Silvia! We've moved many snubbies to & from Australia and understand the anxiety you might have with relocating your pets. We typically like to get from Point A to Point B as quick as possible so a direct flight is ideal. However, some situations require us to work in a "comfort stop" for your pets so that they can get some TLC between flights. When coming out of Australia, we like to use Qantas as they have great pet policies. When the time comes, if we can be of assistance planning your move, please let us know!

By Ashley on July 26, 2018 at 1:46 am

I’m planning a move for my pug who lives in Australia to come over to the US. Can you advise me of the best methods to go and an airline?

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 27, 2018 at 10:28 am

Hi Ashley! As far as we are aware, Qantas Airlines does not have restrictions on pugs. Hope this blog post is helpful!

By Lisa on June 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Hi, I have a French bulldog who is 5 months old and I am moving from Russia(St.Petersburg) to London I want to take her with me, I know there are restrictions about this breed, what are the rules for British airways? Thank you in advance, Lisa.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 3, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Hi Lisa! Unfortunately, British Airways does not allow French Bulldogs to fly on their aircrafts as "manifest cargo" and the UK requires all pets to arrive this way. Lufthansa might be a good option for your travels though? Feel free to let us know if we can help in any way! Thanks!

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