Shipping Puppies – How to ship your pet

Shipping Puppies – How to ship your pet


dog air travel

Shipping Puppies & Dogs – Basic Information

Shipping Puppies – How to ship your pet & how we ship your new puppy!

This page has information not only for our Dreamydoodle puppy buyers but also for all pet owners and dog breeders in general who are planning on shipping a puppy in the United States. 

We’ve also provided the Airlines Contact Information below.

Dreamydoodles NW prefers local pick-up, but since this is not always an option for everyone.. we can arrange to ship your Dreamydoodle puppy to you Cargo or with a Shipping Nanny. 

Our puppies fly out of the Portland, Oregon Airport (PDX)  which is a 30 min. drive from our home.


No, we don’t ship them in a box! Haha!

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Airlines Contact Info & Resource Links:


Airlines – Contact Information



United has No Weather Restrictions




  • Horizon Air GoldStreak Customer Service Center at 1-800-547-7660






Most of the airlines will have weather restrictions. With Alaska airlines it must be under 85 degrees at both airports to ship and this is the case with most airlines except United! 

United has a special tempature controlled section of the airplane just for the animals so they’re never exposed to the weather so they do not have weather restrictions and also why I like to use the United Pet Safe program.

So, when you call make sure to check the weather at both locations on the day and time you plan to ship. 

Is it safe to ship a puppy?

Shipping Puppies in Cargo

My daughter and me getting a Mini Aussiedoodle puppy ready to fly in cargo…

Many people ask if it’s safe to ship a puppy. Flying in an airplane is just as safe as traveling in a car and possibly less stressful then a long car ride. A lot of people think animals are drugged, put in a box, tossed around with the rest of the baggage or left in hot planes for hours etc.. If this was true then we would never ship our puppies!! After almost 6 years of shipping puppies all over the USA and Canada we have never had one problem besides normal flight delays and that is fairly rare as well. United Pet Safe and Alaska Airlines are the best pet shippers by far. 

Your puppy will not be stacked on top of suitcases. Airlines have special places for pets so that they will be protected from cargo and luggage. It is temperature controlled and pressurized just like the cabin. Puppies are never drugged.

My husband preparing the dog crate for shipping

My husband preparing the dog crate for shipping

They’re shipped in a new airline approved plastic crate in which they can easily see out the sides and front, with food, water, and a blanket. During layovers (if there is one) the puppies are taken off the plane and placed in a temperature controlled holding room until they can be put on their connecting flight. 

The dog crate and puppy all set and ready to ship

The dog crate and puppy all set and ready to ship

Extra food is taped to the side of the crate in the event of an unexpected layover/delay. Shipping pups takes a lot of time and planning. Pups must be taken to the vet just before shipping to get a shipping health certificate.

We’ve safely shipped our Labradoodle and Aussiedoodle puppies all over the United States including Alaska and recently Canada.

Shipping Costs and the 4 Different Options:

There are 4 options to getting your new puppy… you can pickup your puppy at our house, ship the puppy via Cargo, come here and then carry them on the plane with you back home or using a  flight nanny!


Shipping is $425-450 (which includes a new shipping crate, health clearance documentation from a vet, food and water dishes, transport to the airport, bedding, the flight fees)

We do NOT profit from shipping, in fact we’re usually about $20 negative what we charged our families to pay up front. We don’t include our gas to drive to the airport. You don’t get a flight clearance paperwork from just your normal puppy health check appt –  the breeder has to make a seperate and individual appointment for that puppy and no more then 10 days before shipping and it’s the paperwork that costs extra and price ranges greatly depending on the vet you go to. I’ve been charged anywhere between $60 – $120 for that appointment depending on the vet.

Cargo Shipping Price: Price is usually between $280-$350 for just the flight (not including the price of the crate or vet health clearence paperwork from the vet). Price is based on how much the puppy weighs in the crate.


We also have families come and pickup their puppy here and then take them back home as a carry-on in the cabin. We can meet you at the airport or at our house, we live 30 mins from the Portland, Oregon airport. The airlines charge between $100-$150 extra but each airline is different so call in advance.

Hand Delivery to the Portland Metro area is Free

We do not profit from shipping in any way.

Cream Labradoodle Puppy "Mia" in her Carry-on Crate chewing on a with Beef Gullet Stick!FLIGHT  NANNIES

We have a new relationship with a carry-on shipping nanny service called Puppy Pooper Flight Nanny Service!! They charge about the same amount of money it would cost to ship them cargo but instead they will carry them on with them in the cabin! They meet us at the Portland, Oregon international airport (PDX airport) and then they hand deliver the puppy to one of our puppy family’s at their closest airport.

Puppy Nannies charge between $450 and $550 depending on how many layovers, location etc.

This in my opinion is the best option for the puppy however, we must have time to make reservations with this service. Lots of time!  Please let me know in 2-3 wks in advance if this is the puppy transportation option you want to go with. 


Our Cargo Shipping Fees Include:

  • New “Airline Approved” Dog Crate (Can be used in the house crate-training process) (required)
  • Feeding & Water Dish & Food (required) Amazon Link
  • Transportation to Airport
  • Vaccination Records (not required but provided)
  • Health Certificate for shipping from a Veterinarian (required for cargo bunot usually for carry-on – bt ut ask your airline
  • Toy, Collar, Leash, Towel with scent from litter and Mama (comes with all our puppies regardless if shipping)
  • Airline charges for travel
we put a toy and towel or baby blanket in the crate with your puppy. Nothing else is allowed.

One of our Puppy Crates ready to go..

We mostly use the Grreat Choce or Petmate Dog Carriers found on Amazon or the Petmate Plastic Kennels on


Size 28″L x 20.5″W x 21.5″H – For older standard size puppies (over 15 pounds or 8 wks) $60 -$65

Size 21L x 16W x 15 inches tall – For smaller puppies 8 weeks old and our mini size puppies


*These Petmate carriers are airline-approved by most domestic and international air travel carriers.

DOG BREEDERS: Check with the airline to ensure that the size and specifications of the crate your using meet their requirements for your carriers. They must be tall enough that puppy’s head doesn’t touch the top and big enough so they can turn around and lay down, must be screwed closeno snaps and must have a snap-on water & food dish. Must have 4 zip ties on each corner.

A carry on soft sided dog crate for small puppies and a standard size puppy crate for shipping

A carry on soft sided dog crate for small puppies and a standard size puppy crate for shipping

We make all the shipping arrangements. We search for the shortest available flight preferably with no layovers. We try to make the arrangements 1 week in advance, if possible but sometimes we make them only a couple days in advance. Don’t worry. We will email/text the flight arrival information (airline, day of shipment, flight number, air bill number and time of arrival) as soon as they have been confirmed to us by the airline. Flight times and numbers are subject to change without notice. If they do, we will call you immediately after the puppy has been put on the flight with the changes and all information you will need to pick up your puppy (very rarely does this happen). Payment in full including shipping fees must be received before shipping arrangements can be made.

Getting Ready To Fly

Here are some pictures of my son Connor helping me ship two Standard size Multigen Labradoodle puppies with United Cargo and the PetMate Medium size crates.


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We mostly use the United Pet Safe Program because we have worked with them so much and trust the care they give our puppies.

Plus, United does NOT have weather restrictions like some airlines do and this is due to the fact they have special tempature controlled compartments just for the pets and are never subjected to the weather outside.

For more info visit the United Pet Safe Program info page.


Shipping Video with United

United Testimonial Published on YouTube – Aug 12, 2012
Watched baggage handlers gently unload a dog from a United Airlines cargo hold. They unloaded the dog first, before any baggage, talked to him a bit, and put his crate up on the truck instead of on the ground. The pet transport van arrived promptly to pick him up, and the gal who took him to the terminal was obviously an animal person, too. (The van was actually from Continental airlines, but my flight was on United, so maybe they have a contract.)

The Basics About Shipping…


All puppies must be a minimum of 8 weeks old to fly. We prefer to ship puppies at 8-1/2 -9 weeks of age, and when shipping small/toy breeds it is suggested to wait until 10 to 12 weeks of age or not until they’re at least 2 pounds.

While not all major airlines provide pet shipping service, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta and United each offer cargo transport services for dogs, as long as airline safety requirements are met. Most have people on staff whose job is to monitor and maintain the animals.

You must call and arrange your reservations. They will provide you with an airway bill number which you will need when you drop off the pet and the person picking up the puppy must also have this number, both the shipper and the person picking up the puppy must have valid ID and it must match the name, address etc on the shipping information give when the reservation was made.



Airline Travel Kit on Amazon – Click Thumbnail above

What you must bring with you when you drop off a puppy at the airline..

First find out exactly where you need to drop off the puppy for cargo shipping. Cargo is different then passenger air flights and different drop off locations (in most cases).

  • Reservations, you usually need to call at least 24 hours before you plan to ship, you should have your flight number and all paperwork prepared.
  • Airline approved kennel (with the screws..not snaps..screw head facing up, black piece on the top)
  • Plastic water and food dish which can be clipped into the kennel door ( the Airline Travel Kit for Pets on Amazon)
  • You can also buy just the water and food dish which is basically all you need besides zip ties and it’s much cheaper then the airline travel kit found on Amazon and Petsmart – buy them separately and in advance on 
  • Towel or something absorbent in the bottom of the crate (puppy pads or towel)
  • Vet clearance paperwork these just say that the puppy is healthy and clear to ship. This is a special document. You can’t just have the vet check or their shot records. It must be a specific health clearance document and issued within 10 days of shipping 
  • Dog Food (they will give you a very small bag to put it in, so don’t expect to send too much.. maybe a cup and a halfs worth)
  • Valid ID – Remember to let the family picking up that they will need their valid ID and it must match the name and address you had the vet put on the Health Certificate paperwork. (Which I personally love because then I know the person who picks up one of my puppies real name on their ID and it matches the name on the puppy application they submitted.. no sneaky business from puppy mill operators and they also know our real name which gives families peace of mind we are who we say we are as well ).
  • Air Waybill number or Confirmation number – The airline will provide you with a confirmation number when you call in the reservation,  give this number to the family picking up.
  • TOY OR CHEWIE to occupy their time. Most airlines allow one “comfort toy” in the crate. I like to send them with a Beef Gullet chew Stick. It occupies their time very well!!

Drop off:  You must arrive 2 hours early (depending on the airline). This is very important. If you are late they may not allow your puppy to fly.

Picking Up:  Plan to wait a 1/2 hour to a full hour after landing time to actually get your puppy and you must produce valid ID and the airway bill number

Most families report that the puppy was made available to them between 15 to 30 minutes from the time the plane arrived but they do say it can be up to an hour after they land. When your puppy arrives, he may be picked up in the cargo pickup area or, if shipped priority, picked up at the priority parcel office of the airport, which is generally in the baggage claim area.

After you pick up your puppy and have returned home, we would ask that you call us to let us know how the puppy is doing.


Health Certificates

Health certificates dated within 10 days of departure are required for all animals being shipped via cargo.  We usually get ours the day before so we know they’re good to go. Anything can happen in 10 days. Health Certificates/Wellness Check appointments are $60-$80 a piece depending on the vet.

Is a health certificate needed for carry on pet travel?
While Alaska Airlines does not require a health certificate for pets traveling in the cabin with you or in the baggage compartment, many states have specific importation health and vaccination requirements. It’s recommended to check with the State Veterinarians Directory for your destination prior to travel to determine necessary documentation as well as your specific airline (some airline require this and some do not).

*All puppies and kittens shipped via Cargo (not as a carry on) will require a health certificate, these certificates are good for only 10 days.

Approved Kennel Sizes for most Airlines:


Size Kennel Size Dimensions (height x width x depth)
Extra Small 100 15″ x 16″ x 21″
Small 200 19″ x 20″ x 27″
Medium 300 23″ x 22″ x 32″
Large 400 26″ X 24″ x 36″
Extra Large* 500 30″ x 27″ x 40″


You can order crates on Amazon for much cheaper then at most pet stores. Click here for shipping approved crates on Amazon.


PetMate Shipping Kennel Medium Size on

Click here fornPetmate Shipping Crates on 


Carry On Pets

Shipping Puppies

Sherpa 11721 Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier Medium Black

Another option is to fly into the PDX airport to pick up your puppy, and then take him back with you in the cabin. This is a really great option for a lot of people. I am happy to meet you at the Portland (PDX) airport with your puppy. You must provide your own crate for travel.

We recommend buying the Sherpa brand carry-on dog carries for shipping in cabin as seen above, this is a Sherpa 11721 Delta Pet Carrier, Medium



dogflyinginairplanecabinTo carry a puppy on the plane, they must be small enough to fit under your seat in a carry-on.

Our 8 week old Mini Aussiedoodles are small enough BUT please note, our Standard size puppies are sometime too large at 8 weeks old to fit under the seat so this is not always recommended to try.

You might fly all the way here only to have to put your puppy in cargo anyway. Mini’s are 5-7 pounds at 8 weeks and standards are 10-15 pounds so almost double the size and 15 lbs is usually the cut off for carry-on puppies. Even though we wish all our puppies could be flown home as a carry on.. we’ve never had a problem with shipping our puppies in cargo.

Source: Carry-On Pet Carrier Requirements – USA Today Travel Tips

Click screenshot above to read – if text is too small….


Pet Travel Fees for Carrying on pets

Click on the airline name to see the carrier’s pet policies. Note: these fees can and do change without notice.

  • AirTranin-cabin only, $69 each-way
  • Alaskain-cabin, $100 each-way; in cargo, $100 each-way
  • Americanin-cabin, $125 each-way; in cargo, $175 each-way
  • Deltain-cabin, $125 each-way; in cargo, $200 each-way
  • Frontier: in-cabin, $75 each-way; in cargo, $150 each-way
  • Hawaiianin-cabin, $35-$175 each-way; in cargo, $60-$225 each-way
  • JetBluein-cabin only, $100 each-way
  • Southwestin-cabin only, $75 each-way
  • Spiritin-cabin only, $100 each-way
  • United/Continentalin-cabin, $125 each-way; in cargo, $250 each-way. Note: prices can be much higher on international flights
  • US Airwaysin-cabin, $100; no pets in cargo except on select northeast shuttle routes
  • Virgin Americain-cabin only, $100 each-way

Tranquilizers and Shipping Pets

Should I give my pet a sedative or tranquilizer before the flight?

Simple answer is if the dog is healthy there this is not recommended or even allowed. Sedation is not advised since the effects of tranquilizers on animals at high altitudes are unpredictable.
The decision to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian and you must have proof of the prescription from your vet.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in most cases, dogs should not be given sedatives or tranquilizers prior to flying because they can create respiratory and cardiovascular problems as the dog is exposed to increased altitude pressures. They can also alter the animal’s natural ability to balance and maintain equilibrium, which can be dangerous when the carrier is moved. While sedation is generally not advised, the decision on whether or not to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian. If he or she decides that tranquilizers are medically necessary for the trip, indicate the name of the drug taken and the dosage on the dog’s carrier.

You can not sedate a puppy before flying via cargo. This is not allowed by the airlines.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera


When driving with my puppy will they get Car Sick?

Answer:  I have observed “puppies” often will get motion sickness when traveling in a car at least up to about one year of age…not so much on short trips but most likely on the longer trips…Holding them helps A LOT BETTER then crating them…Now when we travel in the dark and at night, like flight trips, they sleep all the way and rarely throw up…amazing, the minute there’s daylight and they’re awake they start to lose their equilibrium and can get sick.  I recommend bringing paper towels, at least one towel and a garbage bag to have on hand. After 1 yr of age they are big enough to seat belt them into the front seat which allows them to look straight forward or out the window and to keep their equilibrium.

When shipping my puppy will they get Air Sick?

Puppies of course CAN get Air Sick but from my experience.. No, they rarely get AIR SICK and I’m not exactly sure WHY that is but I always ask our families if their puppy got sick in their crate on pickup and while they sometimes say they had a potty accident (especially on the longer trips) I have yet to have someone tell me that they found throw up in the crate which looks very different then potty accidents and believe it or not I’d say most our reported in flight accidents are pee not poop.

Do you recommend we Drive them home or Ship them home?

 I honestly believe the faster you can get them home the better. If flying is faster then pick flying. So, yes I 100% recommend you fly them home if it’s only going to be a 2-3 hour airplane flight over a 6-12 hour car trip.. anyday. A flight may be stressful on a puppy but believe me a super long car ride is equally stressful if not even more stressful. (same goes for humans)!


Pet Shipping Pictures

The puppy preparing for her trip

The puppy preparing for her trip

Home at last with her new Kid and Best Friend for Life...

Home at last with her new Kid and Best Friend for Life…

These happy kids new Puppy just arrived! So exciting!

These happy kids new Puppy just arrived! So exciting!

So excited. Smiles don't get much bigger these these!

At the airport after picking up their puppy. So excited. Smiles don’t get much bigger these these!Airlines

 “Alaska  and United are the best…..only use Delta if you have to!” –  Teresa, Goldendoodle Dog Breeder

Airlines that Ship Animals

Air Canada Cargo

ac logo

At Air Canada Cargo, an animals safety and comfort are our top priorities. While air travel can be stressful to passengers, it can be extremely difficult for animals.

Air Canada Cargo offers a designated shipping solution for live animals called AC Live. It is designed to ensure the comfort and safety of all animals:

Please visit their website for more information.

Air Transat (Cargo)

Air Transat (Cargo)

Air Transat provides special care for the transportation of live animals, as we are fully committed to the security and comfort of these animals. With the largest leisure airline fleet in Canada, consisting of 23 aircraft including the Airbus A310 and A330, Air Transat Cargo can deliver to over 60 destinations direct, in four continents.  Air Transat provides special care for the transportation of live animals, as we are fully committed to the security and comfort of these animals. Please visit our website for more information.

Alaska Air Cargo

Alaska Air Cargo
Alaska Airlines ships pets via Alaska Air Cargo under their PetStreak program. Alaska Air Cargo’s PetStreak™ Animal Express provides Fur-st Class™ Care when transporting your live animals such as dogs, cats, birds and other animals (subject to approval). We are committed to the proper care of your animals while in transit because we understand he’s not just a pet; he’s your little buddy. The dedicated staff at Alaska Air Cargo truly cares about your animal’s well-being and provides a safe and relaxing journey from start to finish. Please visit our website for more information.


American Airlines Cargo

American Airlines Cargo

With more than 50 years of experience shipping animals, we’re committed to the welfare of all animals entrusted to us.American Airlines is the largest airline in the world providing daily service to more than 250 cities in 40 countries. Our employees are trained to provide safe and professional handling at all times of animal transport worldwide. With over fifty years of shipping experience, we transport thousands of animals, representing a wide variety of species, each year. Please visit our website for more information.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines

Delta recognizes that when transporting live animals we are often entrusted with what is considered a member of one’s family. Furthermore, there are many regulatory statutes with which we must comply in order to ensure the safe, reliable delivery of your animal. Delta Cargo’s Live Animal program is designed to address the special needs of all warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. Recognized by pet owners and commercial shippers for our industry-leading level of service, Delta Cargo provides safe transport of pets and other live animals throughout the world. As one of the worlds most trusted airlines, our live animal program ensures safe handling and travels for your pet. Airline Pet Policy Northwest Airlines is now flying under the banner of Delta Airlines. Please visit our website for more details. Click here to view specific rate information.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines

At Hawaiian, we make your pet’s health, safety and comfort a priority. We offer convenient ways to transport your dog or cat. For shipping requirements, please contact our Cargo Capacity office at 1 (877) HA-CARGO (422-2746). Please visit our website for more information.

United Airlines

United Airlines
PetSafe offers airport-to-airport delivery for animals and features a 24-hour live animal desk, the ability to track pets from origin to destination and more.  United will continue to allow in-cabin travel for small pets, subject to restrictions and eligibility requirements. Visit our website – Shipping Fees


Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic Airways

At Virgin Atlantic Cargo, we treat pets with the same special care and attention we give to our passengers. Since 2003, when Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to fly pets directly from the USA to London Heathrow under the Pet Travel Scheme, our dedicated team has successfully managed the travel arrangements for over 14,000 dogs and cats to and from destinations across our international network, including the United States, Dubai, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Caribbean and Australia. Also through our partner, Virgin Australia we take care of family pets from Los Angles to both Sydney and Melbourne. We ensure pets only fly within Virgins own network and, in the UK, it is our own team that take care of the collection from the aircraft, present documentation to DEFRA and customs clearance requirements, ensuring pets are safely reunited with their owners as quickly as possible. Its our passion for going the extra mile that has earned Virgin Atlantic Cargo 12 Cargo Airline of the Year awards since 2002 and also why thousands of pet lovers across the globe trust us to take the best possible care of their furry friends. 
Please visit our website for more information.


WestJet Airlines

WestJet Airlines
We know how much you care about your pets. Following the regulations below will help us ensure that the furry members of your family arrive safely. WestJet is Canada’s most preferred airline, offering scheduled service to 87 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Powered by an award-winning culture of care, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. 
Please visit our website for more information.


Airline Shipping Policies

American Airlines

American Airlines accepts most dogs for cargo shipment, excluding those that are stub-nosed, such as boxers, mastiffs and pugs, as well as pets that have been sedated before the flight. Dogs must be accompanied by a health certificate dated within 10 days of travel, a current rabies vaccination record, and shipped in a USDA or International Air Transport Association-approved kennel. Dogs should also travel with a collar and leash with an I.D. tag. Cargo flights can be arranged through the American Airlines website and must not be more than 12 hours long. Dogs may not be shipped to certain international locations, including China and the United Kingdom. Dogs are only accepted as cargo when the temperature is expected to remain between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Continental Airlines has merged with United Airlines and has adopted their pet policy and PetSafe Program.

Continental Airlines accepts dogs as cargo as part of its PetSafe program. Dogs shipped as cargo must travel in USDA or IATA-approved cargo and have a current (dated within the past 10 days) health certificate. Pets that have been sedated before travel will not be accepted for a flight. Owners are able to track the dog’s flight path and may contact Continental’s Live Animal Desk at any time of day. In addition, pets receive frequent flyer miles when flying as cargo through the PetPass program.

United Airlines

United Airlines ships dogs though its EXP cargo service. While most dogs may travel as cargo year round, the United website notes that stub-nosed breeds may not fly as cargo between June and September. All dogs flying as cargo in United must be placed in a USDA or IATA-approved crate and with a current health certificate. Cargo bookings must be confirmed within 24 hours of your pet’s flight as poor weather conditions may alter the flight plan.


Delta accepts dogs as cargo through its Pets First program. All dogs flying must be in a USDA-approved kennel and may only travel when temperatures during travel are forecasted to remain between 10 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Stub-nosed dogs may only fly as cargo when the temperature is expected to remain below 75 degrees. Dogs may be sedated in advance of the flight, as long as you have written consent from your veterinarian. Before travel, you must complete Delta’s pet-travel checklist to ensure your pet is ready for its flight.


Helpful Links:


This little boy could not be happier... this was meant to be HIS first puppy.

This little boy could not be happier… this is HIS first puppy.


Related Images: