Snub-nosed dogs are also known as brachycephalic breeds. They basically have endearing nose features that make their faces look squished but cute at the same time. Some snub-nosed dog breeds are pugs, Boston Terriers, and English Bulldogs.

 However, because of their squished features, snub-nosed dogs are oven-prone to breathing problems. Dog owners who plan on flying with the above-mentioned dog breeds must be aware of some precautions for a successful flight.

What Are Snub-Nosed Dogs?

Snub-nosed dogs are breeds that have short noses. This facial structure is due to the foreshortening of the skull bones, which results in a compressed nasal passage and a flattened face. This unique appearance is a defining feature of several dog breeds and has certain implications for their health and well-being.

The degree of shortness in the noses of snub-nosed dogs can vary among breeds, but in general, it is quite significant. Their noses and faces are notably flattened compared to other breeds, and their nostrils may appear smaller and less prominent. This shortness can result in restricted airflow and various respiratory challenges.

Snub-nose dogs are very popular in the United States. Breeds like the French Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, and Bulldog are among the most well-known and cherished snub-nosed breeds in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) the French Bulldog has ranked as one of the most popular breeds in the country in recent years. The following are other dog breeds with snub-nose.

  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • English Bulldog
  • Japanese Chin
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pekingese
  • Chow Chow
  • Pug
  • Shar-pei
  • Shih Tzu

Risks of Flying with Snub-Nosed Dogs

Flying with snub-nosed dogs poses specific risks and challenges primarily due to their unique facial structure. These risks can significantly impact their well-being during air travel:

  1. Breathing Difficulties: One of the most significant risks is the potential for breathing difficulties. Snub-nosed dogs have narrow and compressed airways, making it harder for them to breathe efficiently, especially in stressful or oxygen-deprived environments like airplane cabins. They are more susceptible to conditions like brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which can cause labored breathing, snoring, and even respiratory distress.
  2. Overheating: Snub-nosed breeds are also more prone to overheating due to their compromised ability to regulate their body temperature. The stress of flying, combined with the confined space of a carrier, can make it challenging for them to stay cool, increasing the risk of heatstroke.
  3. Anxiety and Stress: Flying can be an anxious experience for any dog, but it can be particularly distressing for snub-nosed breeds. The unfamiliar environment, loud noises, and separation from their owners can exacerbate stress levels, which may negatively affect their health.
  4. Injury: In-flight turbulence or rough handling by airline staff can potentially lead to injury, which may be more severe in snub-nosed dogs due to their flat faces. Their protruding eyes are particularly vulnerable to trauma.
  5. Increased Risk in Cargo Hold: When snub-nosed dogs are too large to travel in the cabin, they are often placed in the cargo hold, which can expose them to greater temperature fluctuations and potential mishandling. This increases their risk of health issues, particularly respiratory distress and anxiety.
  6. Regulatory Restrictions: Some airlines have breed-specific restrictions or policies for flying with snub-nosed dogs. It’s crucial to check and comply with these rules to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Airline Policies Regarding Snub-Nosed Dogs

Many airlines around the world do not allow snub-nosed dogs to fly because there have been many incidents with such breeds in the last couple of years. Delta, for instance, stopped flying snub-nosed dog breeds many years ago. In 2018, United Airlines also stopped accepting snub-nosed dog breeds because of the risks involved. The same goes for Lufthansa Airlines, KLM, and Swiss Airlines.

Airlines that allow snub-nosed dogs to fly have very specific requirements, which are subject to change anytime without prior notice. So, if you’re planning to fly with your snub-nosed dog, you need to make advance preparations. One airline that flies these breeds is Etihad Airways. It requires dogs to be in an escape-proof crate with “Live Animal” stickers clearly marked on the exterior cover.

Copa Airlines also accepts snub-nosed dogs at least more than 8 months old.  However, your dog cannot fly in business class and must only stay in the crate for the duration of the flight. Aloha Air also accepts snub-nosed dogs so long as you can present a vet card or a health certificate for your dog that is dated within 10 days before departure.

Snub nosed dogs

Precautions to Take When Flying with Snub-Nosed Dogs

Flying with snub-nosed dogs requires careful planning and precautions to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are important precautions to take:

  1. Pre-Flight Veterinary Check-up: Schedule a pre-flight veterinary check-up for your snub-nosed dog. Ensure that your veterinarian assesses their overall health and fitness for air travel. Discuss any specific concerns related to your dog’s breed and any potential respiratory issues.
  2. Choose the Right Crate: Select an airline-approved crate that meets the size and ventilation requirements of your chosen airline. Make sure the crate is well-ventilated, secure, and large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Familiarize your dog with the crate before the flight to reduce stress.
  3. Hydration and Feeding: Avoid feeding your dog a large meal immediately before the flight to reduce the risk of digestive issues. However, make sure your dog is well-hydrated. Attach a water dispenser to the crate if allowed by the airline, and offer small sips during the flight.
  4. Temperature Considerations: Be cautious about flying during extreme temperatures, as snub-nosed dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke and respiratory distress. Choose flights during cooler times of the day and avoid traveling during hot summer months. Airlines often have temperature restrictions for cargo travel.
  5. In-Cabin Travel: If your snub-nosed dog meets the size and weight requirements, consider flying with them in the cabin rather than in the cargo hold. This provides better control over their environment and reduces stress.
  6. Health Documentation: Ensure you have all necessary health documentation, including a recent health certificate from your veterinarian. Keep copies of your dog’s vaccination records and any required permits or forms.
  7. Medication: Consult your vet about potential medications to alleviate anxiety or motion sickness during the flight. Ensure you have the appropriate dosage and instructions for administering any prescribed medications.
  8. Identification: Attach a secure ID tag to your dog’s collar with your contact information, including your name and phone number. Consider also having your dog microchipped for additional identification. Check which steps you need to follow to register your dog’s microchip is another guide of ours.
  9. Flight Duration: Opt for shorter flights whenever possible to minimize the time your dog spends in transit. If you have a layover, ensure it’s long enough for you to tend to your dog’s needs.
  10. Arrival Early: Arrive at the airport well in advance to complete check-in procedures and give your dog time to acclimate to their surroundings.
  11. Monitor During the Flight: Keep an eye on your dog during the flight, if possible. Check for signs of distress or discomfort, such as excessive panting or agitation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Flying with Snub-Nosed Dogs

Are certain airlines better for flying with snub-nosed dogs?

Yes, some airlines may be more accommodating and have better policies for flying with snub-nosed dogs. Research and choose airlines that prioritize the safety and well-being of brachycephalic breeds. Look for carriers that allow in-cabin travel for smaller snub-nosed dogs, when possible, as this can provide a more controlled and comfortable environment.

What can I do to make my snub-nosed dog more comfortable during a flight?

It’s normal for dogs to be anxious when riding a place so you need to make them comfortable while you’re 10,000 feet above the ground and flying for a couple of hours. First, flights during cooler hours of the day to reduce the risk of overheating, especially in hot weather. Bring your dog’s comfort toys, food, and medicine.


Flying with snub-nosed dogs requires meticulous planning and preparation to ensure their safety and comfort. As an owner, you need to observe precautions for flying with snub-nosed dogs. Always choose the right Airline and prioritize your dog’s safety all the time. By following our guide, you can make air travel a safer and less stressful experience for both pet and owner, allowing for memorable adventures while keeping our beloved companions happy and healthy.

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