A smiling pug.
| |

Can Pugs Fly? What You Need To Know About Planes and Pugs

Can pugs fly? There’s a lot of debate about whether the lovable snub-nosed breed can or should take to the skies. Brachycephalic breeds—such as pugs, boston terriers, boxers, some mastiffs, pekingese, lhasa apsos, shih tzus and bulldogs—are prone to respiratory issues as a result of their shortened noses. It can make breathing difficult, which is not ideal when flying. Here’s the the low down on planes and pugs, and what you need to know before booking your flight. 

Can pugs fly? Here's the the low down on planes and pugs, and what you need to know before booking your next flight. Check it out!

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, nor am I affiliated with any airline. The following information is my opinion, based on over 20 flights with my own pug. 

Pugs on Planes: The Facts

The Department of Transportation releases information on animal death, injury, and loss from airlines every month. They release monthly and annual reports, as well as incident information. 

From 2005 – 2010, there were 122 dog deaths from flying in cargo, and approximately half were flat-faced breeds, such as the English bulldog, pug, and French bulldog. 

Over the years, airlines have begun to ban snub-nosed dogs from flying in cargo, and as a result, numbers have declined. In 2017, there were 24 dog deaths, and only 3 of those were associated with brachycephalic breeds (2 pugs and 1 bulldog). The majority of pet deaths were on United Airlines. 

Can pugs fly? Here's the the low down on planes and pugs, and what you need to know before booking your next flight. Check it out!
©Department of Transportation

*Allegiant, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit, and Virgin America were also included, and all had zero incidents.

Out of a total of over 500,000 animals flown, there were 24 pet deaths, 15 injuries, and 1 loss over the course of the year. Keep in mind that this is a very small number when compared to the hundreds of thousands of animals that fly every year. The vast majority of animals flew without incident and arrived safely to their destination. 

Say No to Cargo

Pugs should never fly in cargo.

Their snub nose and sensitivity to temperature make it risky to place them in the plane’s cargo hold. Pugs are vulnerable to changes in air quality and temperature, and although cargo holds are pressurized, the air circulation might not be ideal. Plus, there’s no one in the hold to monitor them. It’s not a risk that any pug owner should be willing to take. 

Thankfully, many airlines, such as United, have banned brachycephalic breeds from flying in cargo, so the option is off the table. 

Boogie the pug looks out the window of a plane.

Can Pugs Fly on Planes? Know your Pug

Every pug is different. It’s impossible to tell whether an animal is suitable to fly based on breed alone. This is why it’s so important to know your pug. Some might have zero trouble, while others might be better off left at home. No one will be better at determining this than you. 

Your pug is probably ok to fly if they: 

  • Are ok around people and dogs.
  • View their pet carrier as a safe space and don’t mind spending time in it.
  • Are comfortable in different and/or new places and spaces. 
  • Are not super nervous or anxious. 
  • Are at a healthy weight.

Don’t fly with your pug if:

  • They have serious respiratory issues, and/or are in need of soft palate surgical procedures.
  • If they suffer from claustrophobia.
  • If they are prone to anxiety or become nervous easily.
  • If they are not good around people, or in new environments. 
  • They are obese (extra weight puts stress on the airways).  

Tips for Flying with a Pug

Here are a few tips to help on your journey: 

  • Open the air vent above your seat and aim it towards your pug. A flow of air in their direction, however light, is helpful.
  • Get a pet carrier that zips open at the top, so your pug is able to poke their head out of the bag. They will be able to breathe better if it’s not zippered shut.
  • Tire your pug out before the flight, so come take off, they can use their time in the air to nap.
  • Carry zip lock bags and ask your flight attendant for ice to fill it with, should your pug need to cool off. 
  • Be aware of where the oxygen masks are, should your pug need assistance at any point. 
  • Avoid putting thick or heavy blankets or clothing items in the pet carrier. 
A dog sits in an airport.

There are Options

If bringing your pug in the cabin with you isn’t an option, there are other ways to get from point A to point B.

Companies such as Pet Airways and Pet Jets fly pets privately to their destination.

Their charter plane service allows you to fly with your pug, or they fly your pug with other canine passengers. Handlers monitor the dogs on board to ensure that they are healthy and happy on their journey.

A good majority of their clients are brachycephalic breeds who are too large to fly in cabin. 

There are also Facebook groups that organize flights roughly once a month, mostly from the United States to a location in Europe and vice versa, specifically for pet travelers. These chartered flights cost more per seat, but are a great option if your schedule and budget are flexible.

Airlines That Don’t Allow Pugs in Cabin:

While many airlines have banned pugs from flying in the cargo hold, some do not allow them (or any dog) in the cabin either. Avoid the following airlines when booking your flight:

  • EasyJet (they do not allow pets at all in cabin)
  • Emirates (they do not allow pets at all in cabin)
  • Volaris Airlines (they do not allow pugs in cabin)

Have you ever flown with your pug? How did it go? Let us know in the comments! 

Click here for more information on pugs and more information on flying with dogs. 

Pin for later!

Can pugs fly? Here's the the low down on planes and pugs, and what you need to know before booking your next flight. Check it out!

Similar Posts


  1. What is your boogie weight? I read the terms and conditions for fly with pug in cabin can’t over 16lbs for international flight? Do you have that problems with boogie? My pug is 5 months old now his weight 13lbs. I’m not sure how big he can be? I planned to fly in end of the year with them. What should I do? Any suggestions or recommendations?

    1. Hi Joanne. Each airline has different flying policies, they’re not universal. I’ve listed them, check our flying with dogs section.

      1. Hi, I am plan to fly from Nairobi to Nassau with my pug but he is not allowed into the USA ( we are a high risk rabies country) do you have any advice on which route I could take? ( he is too big to travel in the cabin )
        Many thanks

      2. Thanks Boogie, super helpful advice. We were considering flying our pug from France to Italy but we’re going to opt for the train after reading this.

  2. Hello I am planning to move to India permanently with my 7 year old pug.

    I am having a hard time to find options to fly my pug to india as many airlines don’t allow snub nosed breed dogs.

    Can you please help me out with some knowledge ?

    1. I’m planning on bringing my 2 year old pug/Boston terrier from Philippines to Canada. Any airline recommendations? Any advice for the long flight?

  3. Hi, I am Thomas and I’m planning to travel with my pug Papito to Germany, what airline would you recommend to us?

  4. Normal pug weight is between 15 and 20 lbs. I think it would be ridiculous to have a weight limit of 16lbs, unless the airline’s purpose is to “officially” allow pugs to fly but in reality don’t want to, in which case I wouldn’t give my business to that airline at all.

  5. Hello, I have been traveling with my 4 year old pug (25 pounds) consistently for the past couple years until emotional support animals recently got banned. I live cross country from my family and would love to bring him, but cant seem to find a travel bag that he feels comfortable in. He’s used to sitting on my lap during the whole duration of the flight, and I’m worried about how he would act sitting on the floor. Any bag suggestions/coping mechanisms?

    1. Hey Lina, we list the bag we use here. It fits Boogie, who is now around 21lbs, and it fit him when he was heavier too.

      1. I just got that bag! However, when my pug sits he touches the top a little bit. Is that the case with Boogie? Did they let him through?

      2. Hi, what size did you purchase?
        I need to get my two boys Pierre and Diego from Spain to Miami, Miami to Cayman Islands and these look perfect!
        Many thanks.

  6. Hello right now I am in USA and my 2 years pug is in Nepal and I want to bring my 2 years pug from Nepal to USA. How can I bring him here please any suggestions

  7. I work for Spirit and in my 20 year career, I have seen more than 5 pugs die on the airplane. I’m only one flight attendant so I think that is a lot. I have never seen any other dog breed die on a flight I’ve worked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.