A Primer For Flying With Pugs

Many dog owners are often apprehensive about taking their pets with them on a plane ride but, pug owners especially, may be weary due to some specifics common to the breed. Breathing problems, sensitivity to temperature, and their small size might have you wondering if and how it’s best to fly with your pug.

pug in a blanket

All individual dogs are different, whether they’re pugs or not. That said, you need to prepare your dog for a flight much like you would for a long road trip to help them stay calm during the experience. Before booking your flights however, be sure to call and ask the airline if they have any specific breed restrictions. Fortunately, most major airlines don’t when it comes to pugs, but you should always check beforehand to be absolutely sure.

Breathing Right

Pugs have some trouble breathing from time to time in even ideal conditions, a problem which can be exasperated by the atmosphere inside of a plane at high altitude. For healthy pugs – meaning not overweight and who get plenty of exercise – the change in pressure won’t be dangerous. My pug goes to a vet checkup before each flight (a good idea for yours as well) and every single veterinarian has told me the same.

pug in jacketHow Will They Fly?

Pugs tend to float around the 4.5-9 kilogram (~10-20lbs) range; with smack in between (generally) being the allowance for pets in the cabin vs. as baggage. Unofficially though, more important than their weight (which includes the carrier), is their size. Pugs are have a stocky build, making them weigh more than average for their size. Check the length and height requirements for your pet on a given airline; a kilo over might not be an issue if your pug is on the petite side.

  • Keep in mind it’s also important to consider your dog’s temperament; some small dogs don’t do well when confined and surrounded by a crowd of cabin passengers.

Layover Time And Temperature

Though your originating flight might be in beautifully mild weather, you need to check that it’s not too hot in any layover destinations. Actually, it’s easier and better for your pet to splurge for a direct flight when possible. Otherwise, make sure that it’s not too hot or cold at any given stop – some airlines do promise a maximum of 15 minutes outdoors for pets – but even that could pose problems in extremes of heat for a pug.

Avoid layovers along your path where the weather may be questionable or alert the airline when checking in your pug that it absolutely can’t be left outside for more than 10 minutes. Make sure this is written and attached to the crate but don’t hold too much faith in airline employees. Do your best to avoid these situations all together.

Not All That Different

When it comes to preparation, procedure, and planes, flying with a pug isn’t all that different than most other breeds. Your pug who’s in good condition will fly well if you get him or her ready to do so. With the advice above in mind and plenty of paperwork for you and exercise for them – you’ll both arrive at your destination happy no worse for the wear.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

galinchicago August 11, 2011 at 11:11

Any suggestions for transporting a pug from Chicago to the Bay Area? Our pug is 14 years old, about 25 lbs and too big to fit in any of the airline-required kennels? And now some airlines have imposed stricter restrictions on the breed so we’re in a dilemma. Any suggestions/recommendations would be appreciated! Thanks.


Anil P. August 12, 2011 at 03:59

You should be able to find a crate than can fit your pug – mine is almost 30 lbs (not overweight but simply large) and I haven’t had trouble flying him in cargo. What’s the obstacle you’re running into?


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