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 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!

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.

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