Frequently Asked Questions
Like most parents, pet owners may be understandably anxious about transporting and being separated from their pet – especially if they have never managed it before. Pet Express trained and experienced Pet Relocation Specialists are happy to answer your questions, address any concerns, and work with you to design and implement a customized transport solution that will be safe and comfortable for your pet, and practical for your family during your relocation.
Is it safe for pets to fly?
Air travel is as safe for pets as it is for people. Your pet will travel in a special cargo compartment within the aircraft. This compartment is both climate controlled and pressurized for your pet’s safety and comfort, and it is on the same air circulation system as the cabin. Many of our customers are envious that their pets are laying down comfortably on soft bedding in their crates, while the owners are confined to squeezy airline seats!
Pet Express can provide strong and sturdy travel crates that provide protection during loading and unloading, and prevent your pet escaping whereas lightweight crates that some owners source from pet stores may flex during handling, enabling the door to accidentally open.
If you can imagine keeping your pet in a crate in the laundry overnight, this is similar to what your pet will experience while in the pet-compartment within the aircraft.
What about “snub nose” (brachycephalic) breeds?
Dogs with flat or snub noses, including Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs, and cat breeds including Burmese or Persian are classified as brachycephalic breeds, which may pose a higher risk during transport. These breeds have a compromised respiratory system and cannot breathe as efficiently as non-brachycephalic breeds. As pets regulate their body temperature by panting, snub-nose breeds are more inclined to overheat in warm weather. More information on this condition can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachycephalic_syndrome
There are more than 30 breeds of dogs and cats that are considered brachycephalic, as outlined in Wikipedia:
Each airline has its own policy regarding brachycephalic breeds, and may impose restrictions for some or all breeds. Some airlines prohibit the transport of snub-nose breeds, otherwise they may impose tighter regulations such as increased temperature restrictions, or a requirement to transport the pet in a larger crate to enable increased air circulation around your pet.
For more information, refer to the American Veterinary Medical Association website
Pet-Express works with all major airlines and understands the restrictions imposed by each airline. Speak to a Pet Relocation Specialist to discuss travel options and ways to prepare your pet for travel.
What about temperature extremes?
Airlines do not ship pets in extreme heat or cold, as your pet will be briefly exposed to weather on the tarmac during loading & unloading. Once loaded onto the aircraft, your pet will enjoy temperature-controlled air conditioning in the pet compartment within the aircraft, and experience temperatures similar to those in the passenger cabin.
Airlines consider the temperature on the ground at origin, destination, and any transit points along the way. Should temperatures fall outside of approved ranges at origin, destination or transit points, your pet may not be permitted to travel on its scheduled flight. Some locations such as Phoenix, Arizona are commonly embargoed for all pet transport during summer months.
All airlines have different policies, however most will only permit pet travel when temperatures exceed minimums (ranging between 10 deg F to 40 deg F) or are below maximum temperatures of usually around 85 deg F.
With access to many flights, Pet Express can schedule your pet’s travel for the coolest time of day (or night) in hot weather and the warmest time of day in cold weather.
If you plan to travel with your pet on the same flight, please be aware that an unexpected temperature restriction may impact your own travel plans which may result in delays and amendment fees to your own ticket.
Speak to a Pet Travel Consultant for more information.
Should my pet be tranquilized or sedated for the trip?
The American Veterinary Medical Association and International Pet & Animal Transport Association (IPATA) strongly recommend against tranquilizing your pet. Some airlines may also refuse to transport an animal that appears to be sedated.
Many pets travel well without sedation if they have had time to become accustomed to their crates before travel, and if their owners remain relaxed and don’t transfer stress to their pets. While some pet owners may be anxious about being separated from their pet, we urge owners to remain calm when around your pets so as not to unnecessarily transfer stress to your pets.
Should your pet have an extremely anxious temperament, please speak with your Pet Travel Consultant to discuss options which may include mild sedatives administered under veterinary supervision. Never sedate your pet for travel without advising Pet Express.
Will my pet need to change planes?
Whenever possible, we ship pets on non-stop flights.
If a change of plane is necessary, we will choose the route that minimizes travel time and provides the maximum safety and comfort for your pet. If your pet will require a long stopover/connection, we can provide a “comfort stop” where your pet will be cared for, fed, watered and exercized while waiting for its next flight. Pets with medical conditions may require a comfort stop so that medication can be administered.
Can I take my pet on vacation with me?
In most cases you can take your pet with you on vacation, however there are many factors to consider, especially if travelling overseas or to Hawaii. Sometimes preparatory veterinary work or timeframes may be impractical for short journeys, or your pet may be quarantined at destination or upon return home. Some larger pets may also be unable to travel to remote locations that are serviced by small aircraft. As vacations can vary, please speak with a Pet Travel Consultant to discuss options.
Will my pet have food and water during the journey?
We will give your pet a drink of water at the airport before departure. We try not to overfill water containers because water invariably spills during transit which may make bedding wet or moist. Where possible, we may also provide frozen water, as this enables the crate to be moved without the water spilling, and your pet can take water as the ice melts during travel. Your pet is likely to be thirsty after the flight (just as you may be), so please provide a drink as soon as you can safely take the pet out of the crate. If your pet doesn’t drink when settling into its new home, you may consider adding a food flavoring to the water.
Food is not provided during the flight because it can be a choking hazard, and large amounts of food may make your pet feel uncomfortable in its crate. (what goes in will eventually want to come out….) However, please prepare two portions of your pet’s food in two separate plastic bags. We will attach these portions to the outside of the crate at pick-up time, and they will be available in the unlikely event that your pet’s trip is delayed.
May I send personal belongings with my pet?
Yes. You can attach small personal items – a serving-size bag of food, a leash and collar – to the top of the crate, but please don’t send anything valuable since these items can become detached during shipping, or be confiscated by the airline, customs or quarantine. Comfort items or items with a familiar smell – a blanket or towel can go inside the crate on top of a thick layer of absorbent newspaper.
What if my pet needs to urinate during the flight?
“Potty accidents” are common, so we line the bottom of the crate with a thick layer of paper and personal bedding items to absorb any in-flight accidents. Like humans, your pet may experience a little dehydration during the flight, which will reduce the need for urination.
Can my pets travel together?
USDA regulations stipulate that if your pets are the same species, under six months of age, and weighing less than 20lbs (9kg) each, they may travel together in a crate. Otherwise, each pet will have its own crate. These crates can usually be positioned next to each other in the aircraft. If your pets are traveling between countries outside of the USA, and not traveling to, from or within the USA, this USDA requirement does not apply. If so, speak to a Pet Travel Consultant for regulations surrounding your pets’ trip.
How much will it cost to fly my pets overseas?
Depending upon the destination you are traveling to, Pet Express can tailor a travel solution to meet your needs and budget. We can complete a full service, door to door experience or tailor the experience to meet your needs.