top of page

How to Travel with a Large Dog from the U.S.

Relocating a pet can be a daunting experience, especially when the pet in question is a large dog. Unlike small dogs or cats, large dogs pose unique challenges due to their size and specific needs. This article aims to provide comprehensive knowledge on how to ship a large dog from the U.S., exploring various methods and their pros and cons.

large dog abandoned at airport

Why Shipping a Large Dog is More Difficult than Small Dogs or Cats

1. Size and Weight Constraints

The primary challenge in shipping a large dog lies in their size and weight. Large dogs require more space, both in terms of the crate they need and the transportation method used. Standard carriers or crates that work for smaller pets are often unsuitable for larger breeds, necessitating specialized equipment and accommodations.

2. Health and Safety Considerations

Large dogs are more prone to certain health issues, such as joint problems and heatstroke, which can be exacerbated during travel. Ensuring their well-being requires meticulous planning and consideration of their physical condition. Additionally, their size can make them more challenging to handle in stressful situations, increasing the risk of injury to both the dog and handlers.

3. Regulatory and Logistical Challenges

Shipping a large dog involves navigating various regulatory hurdles, which can be more complex than those for smaller pets. Different airlines and countries have specific requirements for transporting large animals, including crate specifications, health certifications, and quarantine regulations. Coordinating these logistics can be a time-consuming and intricate process.

dog in car ride

Ways to Ship a Large Dog

Land Transport

Land transport involves moving your pet by car, van, or specialized pet transport vehicle. Here’s how it works:

  1. Choosing the Right Vehicle: For long-distance travel, a spacious vehicle with climate control is essential. Specialized pet transport vehicles are ideal as they are equipped with necessary amenities to ensure the dog’s comfort.

  2. Preparation: Ensure your dog is comfortable with car travel. Acclimate them to the vehicle and crate in advance. Have a travel plan that includes regular stops for exercise, feeding, and hydration.

  3. Documentation: Depending on the distance and state regulations, you may need health certificates and vaccination records.

  4. Travel Day: On the day of travel, make sure your dog has had a light meal and is well-hydrated. Secure the crate properly in the vehicle and ensure it is well-ventilated.

Air Cargo

Air cargo is a common method for shipping large dogs, particularly for international or long-distance domestic travel. The process involves several steps and typically requires the assistance of a freight forwarder like 0x Cargo Pet Travel.

  1. Involving a Freight Forwarder: Contact a local live animal-focused freight forwarder agency, such as 0x Cargo in the U.S. The agency will guide you through the entire process, ensuring all requirements are met.

  2. Crate Requirements: The agency will help you choose a suitable crate that meets airline specifications. The crate must be large enough for the dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

  3. Health Checks: The freight forwarder will assist in arranging health checks and certifications. A veterinarian must certify that the dog is fit to fly, which includes vaccinations and, in some cases, blood tests.

  4. Booking the Flight: The agency will book the flight route that best suits your pet’s needs. They handle all the logistics, including ensuring the crate and health documents meet all airline and destination country requirements.

  5. Travel Day: On the day of travel, ensure your dog has had exercise and is well-hydrated. The freight forwarder will manage the check-in and tendering process to the airline.

  6. Arrival: Typically, the pet owner only needs to pick up their dog at the destination airport. The freight forwarder ensures all procedures are in place for a smooth handover.

Fake Service Dog

While some people might consider misrepresenting their large dog as a service animal to avoid certain restrictions, this method is both illegal and unethical. Here’s why it should be avoided:

  1. Legal Implications: Misrepresenting a pet as a service animal is against the law and can result in heavy fines and legal action.

  2. Lack of Proper Accommodations: Service animals are trained to handle the stress and requirements of air travel. A regular pet, especially a large dog, may not cope well in the cabin environment.

  3. Ethical Concerns: This practice undermines the rights and needs of individuals who genuinely rely on service animals.

Private Charter Jet

For those seeking a luxurious and highly controlled environment, private charter jets offer an exclusive solution:

  1. Booking the Charter: Contact a private jet charter company that specializes in pet travel. Discuss your requirements, including the size of your dog and any special needs.

  2. Customization: The flight can be tailored to your schedule, and the cabin can be arranged to ensure your dog’s comfort. This might include bringing familiar items like their bed or toys.

  3. Health and Safety Preparations: Similar to other methods, a health certificate from a veterinarian is required. Ensure your dog is comfortable with the crate or space provided.

  4. Travel Day: Arrive at the private terminal, which typically offers a more relaxed and expedited boarding process. Your dog can travel in the cabin with you, ensuring constant supervision and care.

Dogs go private jet

Advantages and Disadvantages of Shipping Methods


  • Land Transport: Generally safer for short distances; potential risks on long journeys.

  • Air Cargo: Regulated and safe, but stressful for some dogs.

  • Fake Service Dog: Unsafe due to lack of proper accommodations.

  • Private Charter Jet: Safest option due to controlled environment.

Convenience Level

  • Land Transport: Highly convenient for short distances.

  • Air Cargo: Convenient for long-distance travel with structured regulations.

  • Fake Service Dog: Inconvenient and risky due to legal repercussions.

  • Private Charter Jet: Highly convenient but not accessible to most due to cost.


  • Land Transport: Flexible for short and medium distances; limited for long distances.

  • Air Cargo: Highly flexible for global travel.

  • Fake Service Dog: Limited flexibility and high risk.

  • Private Charter Jet: Extremely flexible but impractical for most.


  • Land Transport: Most affordable option.

  • Air Cargo: Moderately expensive, balancing cost and convenience.

  • Fake Service Dog: Potentially low cost but high risk and unethical.

  • Private Charter Jet: Prohibitively expensive for most pet owners.

After considering the advantages and disadvantages of each method, air cargo emerges as the best option for shipping a large dog, especially for international and long-distance travel. While it is more expensive than land transport, it offers a good balance of safety, convenience, and flexibility. The regulated environment ensures the dog's well-being, and the extensive reach of air travel allows for seamless relocation to virtually any destination.

happy travelling dog

How 0x Cargo Pet Travel Can Help

At 0x Cargo Pet Travel, we specialize in the safe and efficient relocation of pets, including large dogs. We offer comprehensive air cargo services for both international and domestic long-distance travel, as well as land transport for shorter domestic distances. Our team of experts ensures all logistics are handled with care, providing a seamless and stress-free experience for you and your furry companion. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist with your pet relocation needs.


bottom of page