Understanding restricted breeds on certain airlines is difficult for most pet owners as a pet parent of a Pit Bull or Mastiff-type dog, for example, knows their pet is super sweet & well behaved but are told their breed is “restricted” from the airline. Breeds are selected for the restricted breed list not because of any fear of the breed itself, but reported cases of a particular breed have a particularly strong jaw set and therefore being more likely to break out of an airline crate during the trip. These special boxes are for the safety of the pet and the aircraft.
Many airlines will accept the “restricted breeds” if they are transported in a specially built wooden crate which meets IATA specifications (see example below). It is important to note that many countries have breeds that are not accepted in country even if the airline will take them. Our staff will advise if you are trying to ship a country restricted breed.
Most airlines will not take pets under 10 weeks of age for transport. Even if an airline will accept a younger pet it is crucial for the pet that you wait until 10 – 11 weeks at the earliest. Dogs and cats go through a fear impact period at 8-10 weeks and anything they perceive as traumatic can affect their personality the remainder of their lives.
Many countries will not accept dogs & cats that not have a rabies vaccine. It is important that you wait until 12 weeks to vaccinate with rabies, as most countries will not recognize the vaccine if given earlier than the manufacturer’s recommendation.
We are well informed of the ever changing breed restrictions which vary by airline. If you may have a “restricted breed”, contact our office for information and alternatives.
Snub Nose Breeds (brachialcephalic breeds)
Most American airlines (Delta, United, American, Alaskan, Hawaiian) no longer accept snub nosed breeds, including pitbulls, staffies and American bullies for carriage. You are welcomed to contact our office for referrals to ground transporters who may be able to assist. We are still able to ship most of these breeds internationally if the temperatures are under 80 degrees.
Most American based airlines have temperature restrictions of 85 degrees for longer muzzled breeds. This restriction is in place for those airlines that take the pets to the plane with the baggage and are not transported separately and loaded more quickly into the aircraft. The aircraft loading area can be many degrees higher especially if later in the day than the actual temperature and the restriction is for the safety of the pet. Some airlines have temperature controlled vehicles on the ground or take the pets out separately from the luggage, and as a result have different or no temperature restrictions. Some airlines vary these restrictions by city or breed.
Other At Risk Breeds
- Very Senior/weak dogs – It is highly recommended that seniors have a geriatric blood panel done prior to flight versus just a clinical exam which may not show underlying health issues.
- Pregnant pets – the extent to which a dog is pregnant varies by airline