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Pet Travel News

Learn More about Pet Travel and Pet Moves

Holiday Pet Travel—a Dog and Cat Advisory

international pet travel holiday pet travel commercial air pet travel program,pet travel October 19, 2021

Pet Travel Info Sheet

Hello, I am Dr. Walter Woolf, the veterinarian founder and CEO of Air Animal Pet Movers. Thank you for your time and interest in Air Animal. If you are searching for pet travel options  this article is for you. 

Please remember that for holiday, leisure travel and vacations you are responsible for booking your own and your pet’s travel with your chosen airline. 

If you are relocating for job opportunities, career advancement, military PCS or returning to your home county, Air Animal is at your service. We relocate pets moving with their families anywhere in the U.S.—by ground, by air or a combination of the two. If you’re moving overseas, we understand the destination requirements to get your pet to your new home with the least amount of stress for you and your pet. Our Air Animal team fields a sizable number of phone calls, LiveChat website inquiries and online requests for pet move proposals every day.

Flight Options, Traveling with Pets

If you’re traveling instead of relocating and you have a few more minutes I will share some pet travel airline flight options. My tips focus on North, Central and South American travel. 

Be aware the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has suspended dog import and travel from countries with a high-rick of rabies. That includes many countries in South America. The process to return to the U.S. with a dog from any of these countries is difficult and extensive. Our blog about the CDC Dog Import Suspension has links you should read thoroughly before traveling with your dog.

Our staff has posted information and links to commercial passenger airline pet travel programs below. Pet travel health documents required vary between airlines and from one destination to another. For example, Hawaii’s protocol requires a rabies antibody test before entry and no quarantine.

Before you purchase your non-refundable passenger ticket for fall or winter leisure travel, use our list. Find the airline with the pet travel and acceptance policy that allows you to take your pet as “cabin baggage” in the passenger compartment. Every passenger airline defines the number of pets eligible to fly as cabin baggage, their weight and size, and the permitted breeds and species. You’ll also find that airline passenger cabin policies differ—especially when it comes to the number of pets allowed in the passenger compartment.

The pet travel scenario includes families in the USA who take their pets with them to visit relatives overseas for special life cycle events, weddings, graduations and religious holidays. The common requirements for international pet leisure travel are:

  1. An implanted microchip for pet verification
  2. A rabies vaccination at least 30 days old but not more than one year old
  3. An international health certificate issued by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and validated by the USDA within 10 days of flight.

Please note: Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico do not require USDA endorsement for entry.

Thanks for your time and be safe out there!

Walter Woolf, VMD, Air Animal Founder and Veterinarian

Click the table to print or download basic airline pet travel requirements

2021 Holiday Pet Travel Links


Toll Free



(800) 237-6639

Air Canada

(888) 247-2262

Alaska Airlines

(800) 252-7522


(800) 433-7300


+57 018000-953-434


(305) 949 8200


(305) 371-2672


(800) 221-1212


(801) 401-9000

Hawaiian *Flights leaving Hawaii or inter-island flights

(800) 367 5320


(800) 538-2583


(866) 435-9526


(800) 435-9792


(855) 728-3555


(800) 864-8331


Hot and Cold Weather Travel Embargo Update

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Your pet’s health and safety are our first concern. Two United States laws mandate airlines follow temperature restrictions protecting animal safety during transport.

U.S. passenger airlines that transport pets overseas limit pet transportation in the Northern Hemisphere May through mid-September. Airlines based in other countries may also follow these policies. Generally, pets may travel air cargo only when the air temperature is between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 27 degrees Celsius) at origin, all transit points and destination.

Air Animal offers this backgrounder for more information about moving your precious mushy-faced dog or cat.


Moving Pet to the UK? Read this!

move my pet,UK pet import,UK pet importation,UK pet move September 23, 2021

Oscar, Shih Tzu, moved from San Francisco, CA to the UK

Moving your pet to the UK requires four to six weeks pre-planning at this time.

  • Pets immigrating to the UK must travel air cargo. Airline choices and space are limited.
  • The Animal Reception Center (ARC) at Heathrow Airport in London is booked four to six weeks out. All animals entering the UK through Heathrow must go through the ARC.
There are options to flying into Heathrow. Options add travel time, planning time and may increase cost.

  • We can book air cargo into Manchester or another major European airport. Pet import requirements in that destination will apply. 
  • We can arrange ground transport from major airports to your new UK home.
  • If you are booked to fly before your pet can relocate, we can work with your pet's designated caregiver or can recommend a pet hotel. We will then arrange pick-up and drop-off at air cargo when your pet is booked to fly.
To get started, tell us more about your pet move. A pet mover will be assigned on our next business day. Your pet move manager will email you with their contact and more information about next steps. All of our UK move specialists know the challenges surrounding a UK pet move and they are creative about moving your pet safely to your new home.


Dr. Woolf Responds to CDC Dog Import Suspension

Bringing an animal into the United States,CDC Dog Import Suspension,High-risk Dog Import Suspension,U.S. Dog Import Permit,veterinarian advises about CDC dog import suspension June 25, 2021

Map of high risk rabies countries named by U.S. CDC

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention temporarily suspended dog importation from countries with high risk of canine rabies effective July 14, 2021. The CDC action protects public health and ensures against reintroducing dog rabies in the United States.

“This change may affect your pet’s ability to return to the United States. Pet owners who live with their dogs in high risk countries are personally responsible for requesting a pet import permit in this scenario. This also applies to pet owners who have visited high risk countries with their dogs in the past six months,“ according to Walter M. Woolf, veterinarian founder of Air Animal Pet Movers.

Dog import permits from high-risk countries will be extremely limited and granted case-by-case. Travel is not a valid reason. Criteria:

  • A US government employee with permanent change of station or temporary duty orders.
  • A US citizen or lawful US resident relocating to the United States for employment or education.
  • An owner of a service dog trained to assist a person with a disability.
    • Emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals in training are not service animals.
  • Importers wishing to import dogs for science, education, or exhibition, or for bona fide law enforcement

“Before applying for a permit,” Woolf advises, “Eligible pet parents should make sure they gather documents required. If your dog originated in the U.S., make sure you submit all those documents. Then follow these steps in order.”

  1. At least four months before planning to return to the U.S., check and find a local professional pet shipper to advise you. Watch the Air Animal website for updates.
  2. Assure their dog is microchipped. If their dogs' rabies vaccinations and the accompanying certificates expire in less than six months, assure the dogs receive a rabies booster before expiration.
  3. Have a rabies antibody test (FAVN-OIE) run by an accredited lab.
  4. Wait at least 45 days before applying for the U.S. pet import permit.
  5. Plan another 45 day wait to hear if the permit has been approved. If the permit is approved schedule pet transport. All dogs must arrive at the live animal care facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Permits will not be given at arrival. Dogs without a permit will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the owner’s expense.

There is no appeal for denied applications. Application does not guarantee approval.

Click these links for further requirements and more information

The CDC will periodically review the suspension.


CDC Suspends Dog Imports from High-Risk Rabies Countries

Bringing an animal into the United States,CDC Dog Import Suspension,High-risk Dog Import Suspension,U.S. Dog Import Permit June 22, 2021

CDC Dog Import Ban Map

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention temporarily suspended dog importation from countries with high risk of canine rabies effective July 14, 2021.

This includes dogs that have visited a high-risk country any time in past six months -- even if the dog is arriving from a country not on the list.

The action:

  1. Ensures safety of dogs imported into the United States
  2. Protects public health against reintroduction of canine rabies
  3. Decreases attempts to import inadequately vaccinated dogs

Dog import permits from high-risk countries will be extremely limited and granted case-by-case.

Only specific pet owner types may apply for an import permit.

If you leave the U.S. with your dog, your pet may not be approved for re-entry. Travel is not a valid reason to request an import permit. 

Permits will not be given at arrival. Dogs without a permit will be denied entry and returned to the country of departure at the owner’s expense.

There is no appeal for denied applications. Application does not guarantee approval.

At this time, all dogs granted import permits must enter the United States through the live animal care facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Click these links for further requirements and more information.

The CDC will periodically review the suspension.


Why Airlines Don’t Accept Mushy-faced Pets

airline pet bans,brachycephalic breed,international pet move,international pet shipping,mushy faced breed,mushy-faced breed April 14, 2021

Sir Winston, English bulldog

Many airlines around the world do not accept brachycephalic breeds for pet travel or pet shipping. The bans include bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, French bulldogs and other “mushy-faced” breeds. This applies to mushy-faced cats, too.

“Why? They are adorable. But their narrowed and pinched nostrils, shortened airways and narrowed windpipes cause life-threatening breathing difficulties during transport,” said Air Animal Pet Movers founder and veterinarian, Walter M. Woolf, VMD.

“Dogs only have sweat glands on the tips of their noses and the pads of their feet. “Mushy faced” dogs are only able to cool their bodies by moving large volumes of air across their narrowed throats and extended tongues,” Woolf explained. “Extended and engorged tongues are dog radiators expelling body heat. On the other hand, cats don’t pant—at all.”

Some U.S. and international airlines accept brachycephalic breeds for transport but ONLY when the air temperature is than 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) at origin, all transit points and destination. For up-to-date information about heat embargoes, please review the blog post.

“Ground transport is a safe alternative for all pets restricted by the airlines,” added Woolf. “Air Animal offers a network of trusted ground transport service partners throughout the USA. We also suggest pet parents of brachycephalic breeds check the airline websites for information.”

Please bookmark this page for up-to-date information.


Giving a Pet for the Holidays? Amp Up Anticipation Instead

buying a kitten,buying a pet online,buying a puppy,holiday pet giving,holiday pet scams,online holiday fraud November 3, 2020

If a new puppy or kitten has made it onto your gift list, give a gift that amps up anticipation and participation instead of bringing the cute little fur baby home during the holidays, advises Air Animal Pet Movers. 

Cory Robinette, Air Animal’s COO, recommends fulfilling holiday pet wishes this way. “Buy a beautiful plush puppy or kitten toy and give it with a card promising to contact a local breeder after the holidays when you can choose that real puppy or kitten together. Local animal shelters and breed rescue groups may also have that perfect pet just waiting for you. You may also find some post-holiday sales on dishes, leashes, beds, scratching posts and toys for your new fur baby,” Robinette adds.

“Puppies and kittens are babies. They need to bond with their pet parents, potty-train and learn the house rules. That means lots of play time and repeating the routines over and over. Keeping fur babies out of the holiday decorations and making sure they don’t eat something dangerous like chocolate or poinsettias is a full-time occupation. Bringing a fur baby home when celebrations slow down after the New Year can work a lot better,” says Walter M. Woolf, veterinarian founder and CEO of Air Animal Pet Movers.

There are thousands of Internet ads selling cute puppies and kittens or offering rescued pets during the holidays. Sadly, these ads often set-up cybercrime. “The Internet is full of imitators and fraudsters offering fake rescued pets, Siberian husky puppies, Yorkies, bulldogs, Capuchin monkeys, parrots and other boutique animals. Don’t be fooled by pet scams!” warns Robinette. “We get calls all the time from people who have been scammed. They think we are transporting their pet purchase from the fake breeder. It breaks our hearts.”

Acquiring that new member of your family through an internet purchase may look good. Caveat emptor---buyer beware. 

There are ways pet lovers can effectively fight back if they have been scammed. Check out Air Animal’s Don’t Be Fooled page. It’s regularly updated when new pet scams pop up.

Best bets to get a pet after the holidays:

  1. To buy a puppy or kitten through a breeder, shop local first. Take your time. Thoroughly check their references and reviews. Avoid Internet come-ons and scams.
  2. Find registered puppy breeders through the American Kennel Club
  3. Locate reputable kitten breeders through The International Cat Association or the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
  4. The U.S. Department of Agriculture licenses or registers every breeder, dealer, pet transporter or carrier. Check their registration with the USDA before sending money.
  5. Nearby animal shelters or rescue organizations are also excellent places to adopt a fur baby needing a home. Some of the rescue operations specialize in specific breeds.


Six Months In: The State of International Pet Moving from Air Animal Pet Movers

international pet move,international pet shipping,international pet transport,international pet transportation September 16, 2020

Six months after COVID-19 closed much of the world, pets are moving internationally. Many clients are anxious, stressed and concerned about moving their pets during a global pandemic, according to Walter M. Woolf, veterinarian founder of Air Animal Pet Movers.

“In June 2005 Air Animal received 7,500 calls because the USA implemented the Safe Animal Transportation Act. Then one of the major airlines stopped taking pets. I had been the chairperson of the advisory task force to the Congressional joint resolutions committee responsible for reconciling the House and Senate versions before the act passed. The law was and continues to be the cornerstone keeping pets safe during air transport. Over time the number of pets relocating internationally with their owners skyrocketed. The state of international pet moving in September 2020 is all about capacity. It’s about air cargo space on passenger and special freight flights. And it’s about staffing at animal receiving centers throughout the world,” Woolf said.

The United Kingdom’s main pet import center at Heathrow airport has limited the number of pets that can arrive each day because COVID-19 is challenging their staffing. When a staff member becomes ill, contact tracing means several colleagues must quarantine as well. Because pet air cargo flights can only be scheduled two weeks ahead, the incoming slots at Heathrow are often already full. The situation requires a lot of back and forth for pet move managers, receiving center staff and relocating pet owners. This story is repeated at pet import centers around the world.

“We understand that cancelled flights, cancelled pet bookings, rescheduling travel and continually changing agendas are very frustrating. We always work with relocating pet parents to make sure their pets reach their new homes safely even though neither they nor Air Animal’s dedicated pet move managers control pandemic lock-downs, weather or airline schedules.

“Air Animal’s experienced pet move managers and client services team deal with the details so our clients don’t have to,” said Cory Robinette, Air Animal chief operating officer.

“We appreciate our clients’ understanding, their patience and their trust. Air Animal cares deeply about the pets our clients entrust to our care. Pet Moving Made Easy®. It’s our focus, our passion, our promise and our clients’ peace of mind. Always has been – always will be,” she added.