Over 2 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. With that many pets and other animals taking to the air, airlines have developed their own rules and guidelines about what animals they will allow on board, as well as the conditions of that transport.
Under these rules, however, not all pets can travel as easily as others. And this is a reality that large dog owners often run into.
In this article, Pet Van Lines will talk about the different dog transportation services and options that are suited for larger breeds. We’ll also talk about the average costs and help you decide which option is the best way to transport a large dog.
Flying with Large Dogs
Several airlines do accept large dogs by stowing them in the plane’s cargo. The hold is temperature-controlled and pressurized, so it is a humane way to transport them. For most airlines, pets weighing 17 pounds or more qualify as large and must travel in the hold. After the flight, owners must also pick up their pet from the airline’s cargo facility, which is located in the airport but not in the terminals.
Some of the larger domestic airlines that allow large dogs on flights include:
- Air Canada
- American Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
A domestic flight in the US for a medium-sized dog in the cargo costs between $500 to $1,000 depending on the chosen airline’s assessment. Larger dogs like Great Danes can run their owners an average cost of $1000.
With COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, some airlines have also become more restrictive in the pets they allow on their flights.
When flying with large dogs, it’s a good idea to contact your airline’s customer service to know more about any restrictions they may have, as well as how they classify and measure your dog’s weight. For instance, some airlines like American Airlines and Hawaiian Air measure the combined weight of the dog and the kennel (with weight limits of 100 and 70 pounds, respectively).
How safe is it to fly my dog?
Overall, flying is safe, especially for smaller dogs that can fit in a carrier that can be stowed in the cabin, so the owner can check on them frequently.
However, a Department of Transportation report from 2018 showed 40 animal incidents with 24 of them resulting in pet death. The incidents on record happened in airplane cargo—airlines are not required to report incidents that happen in the cabin, so the real figure of how many pets get injured or die is most likely much higher.
So, while these incidents are rare, there are risks involved when flying with your pet.
Road Shipping Dogs
A good alternative to air travel is by shipping large pets overland with the help of professional pet movers. This option may be the best way to transport a large dog.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) discourages air travel with large dog breeds and snub-nosed breeds like bulldogs and pugs, as they are prone to breathing problems that might be complicated by the pressurized air in the plane.
There are also barriers of entry to certain dog breeds. For example, American Airlines and other carriers don’t allow pit bulls, boxers, and boston terriers.
Road shipping your large dog is a great way to ensure their comfort and safety. Because these specialized transport companies
However, proper preparation before a trip is still important like visiting a vet before your pet travels.
How will the company transport my big dog to another state?
Several stops can add to travel time, and longer trips across states could cause high levels of stress for your dog.
More conscientious companies like Pet Van Lines walk their customers’ dogs every 4 hours of the journey to release any pent-up energy and for potty breaks.
Some shipping companies have a climate-control shipping compartment. Ask about this or check the vehicle yourself to see if it has climate control and enough space for your dog to be comfortable.
Some trips can take a long time especially if it involves crossing state lines. Make sure to ask how they will update you on their journey and how you’ll know if they’ll be arriving.
How much will it cost to transport a large dog?
The costs of transporting your pet overland can go between $400 for a short trip over state lines with basic inclusions, to $6000 for cross-country trips in a climate-controlled transport and regular walks.
While the costs are higher than air travel, during land transport the dogs are in the hands of trained professionals, who can periodically check on them to make sure they are comfortable and are handling the journey well—a far cry from spending the trip in a cargo hold.
Transport Your Pets with Peace of Mind
At Pet Van Lines, we specialize in providing pet moving services nationwide. We will give your pet a stress-free ride and give you some peace of mind along the way. Get in touch with us today!