Pet Transport Questions / Pet Travel Information

Experienced pet relocation specialists – Southern California Pet Transport Logistics is USDA-licensed Intermediate Handler and a member of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International (IPATA).

We are here to answer your questions and concerns. We work with you to design, customize and implement your pet transport solution to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

What documents are needed for pets to travel?

The most common types of pet travel documentation needed are:

  • Certificate of Veterinary Inspection: The CVI is also called a Pet Health Certificate. …
  • Rabies Vaccination: Rabies is a disease found in animals and humans alike. …
  • Acclimation Certificate: This document features regulations about weather extremes.
How are pets transported on airplanes?

If your pet is too large to fly in the passenger cabin, dogs and cats typically are transported as accompanied checked baggage if the airline offers this class of service. Animals traveling in the cargo are transported in the same pressurized and temperature controlled environment as those in the checked baggage system.

Is flying your pet in cargo safe?

Undeniably, cargo is the more dangerous option for pet travel. …

Having your pet travel in the cargo hold can be a nerve-wracking experience. Pets must remain in their pet travel crate for the duration of the flight, and therefore must be able to stand up and turn around comfortably inside them. The safest way for any animal to fly is in the cabin as carry-on luggage, provided that’s an option.

SCA Pet Transport recommends several tips to ensure the safe and comfortable journey of your pets:

  • Have your veterinarian check your dog’s ability to fly and ensure that your dog is not too old to suffer in the difficult conditions of the cargo hold
  • Double-check with the airlines about what species and breeds they allow for travel
  • Question them on the climate-controlled and temperature maintained in the cargo hold
  • Make sure to find out if the cargo hold is a pet-friendly space with no sharp objects or harmful substances in the area for live animals.
  • Choose direct routed flights – If there is a layover, make sure it is short and if whether the airlines have a kennel for the dogs to get their food and water during layovers
  • Ensure to microchip your pet before travel
  • Arrange for a sturdy leash and dog collar with your contact information
How much does it cost to ship a dog by air?

Estimated costs: Shipping a pet by airplane typically costs $80-$1,000 each way, depending on the pet’s size and distance traveled. A small dog or cat kept under the seat costs from $70 to $175 depending on the airline. International pet shipping can be two to three times this amount, depending on the locations involved.

People also ask

Can a pet travel with belongings?

We recommend leaving a familiar article of clothing or blanket that contains a familiar sent. A soiled t-shirt, a dirty sock or a towel won’t eliminate your pet’s anxieties but is comforting and a reminder you will soon be close by. We do not recommend toys or anything else that can be put into your pet’s mouth. We have been known to hide small biscuits and treats in the blanket but upon inspection before the airlines take possession of the kennel bigger items are removed for safety of the pet.

Small personal items may include: a serving-size bag of food for the comfort stop if changing planes, a leash and collar should be fastened to the outside of the kennel with zip ties on top of the crate, send nothing of sentimental value since these extra items can become detached during shipping. A blanket or towel can go inside the crate on top of a thick layer of absorbent newspaper or pads.

Do shippers have special price arrangements with airlines?

No. Do not be swayed by shippers or freight forwarders who claim to have special arrangements with certain airlines at special prices. Do not be convinced by a shipper or forwarder who claims to have special government security clearances. The airlines price quote for pet cargo to the shipper will most often be the same price that will be quoted to you.

Where in the plane does my pet fly?

Pets are flown in a pressurized, temperature controlled cargo section of the plane, these area are subject to regulation by the FAA and airlines must remain in compliance with USDA animal APHIS standards. Keep in mind not all aircraft are equipped to accommodate live animal passengers and also that certain aircraft are unable to accommodate larger sized kennels. Airlines routes have particular aircraft attached them and it is relatively easy for the reservation agents to determine which flights accept live animals. Rest assured airlines would never allow a live animal to be booked on an aircraft without this special cargo section.

Should I give my pet a sedative?

Absolutely not. Sedatives can suppress the respiratory system and often cause your pet to be disoriented. Then we have  a pet experiencing stress but now on drugs as well, a horrible situation for the pet. Several airlines will not even accept a pet if they are sedated. British Airways has a dedicated checklist when pets are tendered requiring three signatures affirming no sedatives have been administered.

Many clients will still insist their veterinarian has provided sedatives. Sedatives may be an option for the right situation such as a parade passing by the house or on July 4. We stand by our trusted network of veterinarian specialists and surgeons who recommend no sedatives. Once again, rest assured that animals have been dealing with stress for tens of thousands of years and will endure relocation travel with more credit than you may be giving them. We recommend sedatives for pet parents on their flight all the time.

What happens if my pet’s flight is cancelled?

Cancelled flights don’t happen often but in the event of any delay we are normally contacted by cargo manager soon as the information becomes available regardless of the time, 24 hours a day. Your pet will be boarded at our pet resort at no extra boarding fee until the flight departs.

What services do you provide?

Depending upon the destination you are traveling to, we will tailor a customized pet travel solution to meet the pet’s needs and your budget. We have a complete VIP door to door service for large families overwhelmed with moving related logistics who wish one less item to focus on. We can perform only parts of the move such as paperwork or curb side airport greet only. We are here to help no matter what.

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 one crate. Otherwise each pet is required to have its own crate. Most times when we transport multiple pets in the family it is possible to situate the kennels next to each other on 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.

What if my pet needs to urinate during the flight?

Accidents are not as common as you would think. We have pets landing from far away as Sydney or Berlin who did not soil their kennels at all, mind you they are ready to go when they get out. There are times when the old timers or puppies can’t help it so we line the bottom of the crate with a thick pad layer to absorb any in-flight accidents. Normally animals will avoid soiling their den/cave/bedding unless they can’t help it.

Some parents feel guilt of the impending travel so will spoil the pet with lavish meals and treats. It is much better to avoid the big meals before a flight, landing in a clean, unsoiled kennel and a bit hungry. Remember that animals are just like humans, they will experience a little dehydration during the flight which will reduce the need for urination.

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 pet owners flying too will be envious of their pet are laying down comfortably stretching out on soft bedding in crates, while they are confined to an airline seat.

We provide strong and sturdy travel crates that provide protection during loading and unloading. Lightweight crates that some owners purchase from pet stores may flex during handling, enabling the door to accidentally open. Most of the kennels you come across at the store will all be labeled “airline approved” but please be wary. Airlines in the United States all have have strict requirements when it comes to kennel type , brand and size. As well these restrictions should be strict as the pet’s safety depends upon it.

Each airline will make available their kennel standards for pets travelling. In most all of our transports we prefer one brand but find two or three others brands acceptable. We also build custom kennels for over-sized pets..

What about “snub nose” (brachycephalic) breeds?

Canines with flat or snub noses include Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs. Cat breeds would include Burmese or Persian. These animals are classified as brachycephalic breeds and 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:

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


We work with all major airlines and understands the restrictions imposed by each airline. Speak to our 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 84 deg F.

With access to many flights, we 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. Sometimes it may be best to arrive just before your pet if the red-eye flight doesn’t fit your schedule.

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. More often than you would think owners forget to remain relaxed so transfer stress to their pets. While some pet owners may be anxious about being separated from their pet, we urge owners to remain calm..

Should your pet have an extremely anxious temperament, please speak with specialist to discuss options which may include mild sedatives administered under veterinary supervision. Never sedate your pet for travel without advising SCApet.

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 exercised 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. Sometimes preparatory veterinary work or time frames 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 our specialist 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. Perhaps regulate their water intake to half bowls at a time until they re-hydrate.

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 so we prefer to give them a biscuit before flight and hide one under the blanket for later. 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. We find this practical as having familiar food lessens the stress of travel for pets as well.

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For pet relocation assistance please contact us today at 1-310-849-2219 or for international pet shipping dial +1-844-PETS-FLY.

If you’re still in the pre-planning phase and want to learn more about our pet transport service, here are a few resources to check out:

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Pet Travel Questions & Answer

For Pet Transport US call 1-310-849-2219 or International pet shipping dial +1-844-PETS-FLY