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 Susan Massaro on April 23, 2018 at 2:34 pm

We are planning a move from Kauai to the US mainland in the fall. My dog, a Pekingese-Shih tzu mix, is probably a little too big for an under seat carrier although I will see if he’s comfortable in the large sturdibag one I have. All the airline pet policies either ban his type or won’t fly to/from/through Hawaii or both. Is there any possibility of him flying with us if the cabin carrier won’t work? He is about 10 years old, in good health, and has never had any problems breathing.

By Andrew Lane on April 4, 2018 at 5:23 am

Im purchasing a staffordshire bull terrier from a breeder in Illinois. Its only roughly 520 miles from me. Is there any other options for shipment besides air flight? United does not do snub nosed pets per their website. My schedule is busy or i would drive myself? Any suggestions?

By Marilette on March 26, 2018 at 6:57 am

Anyone moved their a year old pug from dubai to the Philippines in August flying with emirates airline? Anyone can help me the steps to do’s? Thanks a lot in advance!

By Carole on March 14, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Hi! I'm in the U.S. right now and I'll go back to China in May. I plan to bring my French Bulldog with me when I come back to the U.S. in August. He'll be about 6 months then and will definitely weigh less than 20 pounds. I'm wondering if there is any way to carry him in cabin under my seat? If United Airline is not a good option. I can also fly to Canada first and then drive to the United States. Thanks!

By maegan@petrelocation.com on March 16, 2018 at 3:49 pm

Hi Carole,

Thanks for your question! You'll need to check with the airlines about their in-cabin pet rules. 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. . 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 Dimple pandya on March 14, 2018 at 12:01 am

Hi , I have 2.5month old pug .He is 9.9kg . He is playful and active .I am relocating to Germany from India .so I have booked a Lufthansa ,he will be in the cargo hold .I spoke to doctor and the pet travel agency we hired..they agreed that he is OK to go .We are traveling on 5th April.Still being a pug mother ,I am concerned if he will be able to travel safely. Is Lufthansa trust worthy?? We have a direct flight of 9hours from Mumbai to Frankfurt.I can't leave my baby in India and go thats why taking him along with me ..May God respect my this decision and help my pug in reaching safely to Germany . Ameen

By Terrie on March 9, 2018 at 4:28 am

Hello, my husband and I are being relocated to London, we currently live in Texas. We have a 2 year old Boston terrier that is our absolute baby. I’m so worried and scared for her to ride in cargo due to her anxiety and being away from us during that long flight. Do you know of anyway that we can take her in the cabin, even if that means us flying to Paris and taking the train to London? She is approx 15/16lbs. I could also get a certificate from my doctor for I have anxiety, as a service dog. Please help!

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on March 14, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Hello Terrie! You can fly into Paris with her in-cabin (assuming she meets the size requirements for in cabin travel on the airline you choose). However, you need a car to take her to the UK from there, as pets aren’t allowed on the Eurotunnel. If you haven’t already, you will also need to review the requirements for importing a dog to the UK. If you decide to go with the option of flying into Paris first, you also need to make sure the requirements for France are met. Thanks for reaching out to us with your travel question!

By Wilma Schmitz on February 28, 2018 at 4:54 am

Dear. I want to save a boxer from Romania. But I can't find an airline who wants to take her. We live in the Netherlands. And we are willing to pick her up in Belgium or Germany. Do you have tips? Thanks in advance.

By cquezada@petrelocation.com on February 28, 2018 at 9:09 am

Hi Wilma,

Thanks for reaching out to us with your question! Since you are based in the Netherlands we recommend looking into KLM (they have a hub in Amsterdam). This is one of our preferred pet-friendly airlines and they accept boxers. If that doesn’t work for you, we suggest United Airlines or Lufthansa. Best of luck with everything!

By Craig Ross on November 17, 2017 at 7:01 am

The wife and I are planning to relocate to Australia from the UK next year. Our English bulldog will be 4 years old by then, can we fly her there.We can afford first class if she can come into the cabin with us or if it really comes to it, private.Thanks,

By bethany@petrelocation.com on November 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Hello Craig, great question!

Depending on when you are planning on moving your English Bulldog next year, you may be able to fly her as cargo with Qantas Airlines. That route should be opening up in March of 2018. However, you will have great difficulty finding an airline that will accept her in-cabin for a move to Australia.

Let us know when things start coming together and we'd be happy to further advise on your routing options. Please reach out to us here whenever you're ready!

Thanks for reaching out, Craig! We hope to hear from you again soon!

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