Shipping Animals as Cargo

Transporting Live Animals as Air Cargo

PenAir offers the option to ship animals as cargo on all of our flights.

PenAir provides transportation for live animals such as dogs, cats, birds and other animals (subject to approval).

We comply with U.S. Department of Agriculture and International Air Transport Association regulations for the humane treatment and transportation of animals. All animals are transported in a pressurized and temperature-controlled aircraft compartment.

The following detail is required when booking space for animals:

  • Shipper and consignee name, address and phone contact.

Length, width and height dimensions of the kennel (not to exceed 48 inches in length x 32 inches wide x 35 inches high).

The following regulations apply:

  • Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks of age and weaned.
  • The shipper shall provide applicable health declarations and permits required by authorities of the state.
  • Food and water must be offered within 4 hours of flight departure.
  • No more than one live dog or cat, 6 months of age or older, may be transported in the same kennel.
  • No more than one live puppy, 8 weeks to 6 months of age and weighing over 20 lbs., may be transported in the same kennel.
  • No more than two live puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6 months of age that are of comparable size, and weighing 20 lbs. or less each, may be transported in the same kennel.

Live Animal bookings are accepted Monday through Saturday during Cargo Operations normal business hours. Cargo bookings are required at least 24 hours in advance and no more than a week in advance.

Shipping Guidelines

  • Animals must be accepted and all paperwork processed at least two (2) hours before scheduled departure.
  • Animals are not accepted more than four (4) hours prior to scheduled departure.
  • Animals will be available for customer pick-up within one (1) hour of flight arrival and must be picked-up within four (4) hours or kenneling charges may apply.
  • Animal shipping containers must be clean and must not have an offensive odor.
  • Animals will not be accepted in an agitated or hostile condition.
  • Muzzles or restraints impairing respiration or injuring the animal will not be accepted.
  • The shipper must provide written instructions concerning the handling, feeding, and watering requirements for the animal(s) in the shipment.
  • Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks of age and they must be weaned. Exceptions apply to animals being shipped to a laboratory or research institution.
  • Animal Container must be non-collapsible, approved for airline travel and subject to inspection by airline personnel. See below for more details.

Container/Kennel Requirements

  • Container must be constructed to contain the animal being shipped with no part of the animal protruding and the container should withstand the normal rigors of transportation.
  • Containers must be constructed to retain moisture characteristic of live animal shipments.
  • Container must be secured with nuts, bolts and a metal-grated door.
  • The interior of the container should be free of sharp edges or points, and have no protrusions that could injure the animal(s).
  • Access into each container must be secured to prevent accidental opening but should be easily accessible for emergency removal of animal(s).
  • A means of administering food or water without opening the container is required. Containers for dogs and cats must have a food and water dish attached to the inside of the metal grated door.
  • The container must be clean and leak-proof, with absorbent bedding made of material that is safe and non-toxic to the animal.
  • Handholds or handles must be provided on the exterior of the kennel for lifting without the kennel being tilted and ensure that anyone handling the kennel will not come in physical contact with the animal.
  • Containers must allow sufficient space for the animal to:
    • Turn around freely in a standing position using normal body movements.
    • Stand and sit erect (head erect and not touching the top).
    • Lie down in a natural and comfortable position.
    • Exception to this would be transporting injured animals per Veterinarian instructions.

Homemade containers are subject to inspection and regulatory compliance.

Live Animals in the Same Container

The following conditions apply to live animals accepted in the same container:

  • Animals must be the same species.
  • Animals must be compatible.
  • Infant live animals will only be accepted with their mother (exceptions include birds, fish, rats, mice and small domestic farm animals).
  • A female animal in season will not be accepted in the same container as a male animal.
  • The number of dogs or cats in a container shall not exceed the following limits:
    • One dog or cat six months or more of age.
    • One puppy, 8 weeks to 6 months of age and weighing over 20 lbs.
    • Two puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6 months of age, but not weighing over 20 lbs. each and of comparable size.
    • Puppies or kittens less than 8 weeks old and litter-mates accompanied by their mother may be shipped in the same container when the destination is a laboratory or research facility.

Labeling and Preparations of Animal Containers 

Live animal containers shall have the following information clearly affixed on top and on one or more sides:

  • The words “Live Animals” in letters at least 1 inch high.
  • Name, address, telephone number and a 24-hour emergency telephone number for the shipper and consignee as well as the name of the animal, when applicable.
  • Live animal containers shall be marked with arrows or other markings to indicate the correct upright position.

Shipper must sign a certification at time of tender with the following:

  • The time and date verifying that each dog or cat was offered food and water during the 4 hours prior to delivery.
  • Name, address, telephone number and a 24-hour emergency telephone number for the shipper and consignee as well as the name of the animal, when applicable.
  • Shipper’s written instructions shall include name, address and telephone number of the party to be contacted if the shipment cannot be delivered to the consignee.

The certification with the above information must be attached to the kennel for transport.

A small amount of food and/or medicine containing no more than is required for the duration of the journey may be attached to the kennel in a clear, see-through, sealed container and must be able to withstand normal handling in transit. If feeding of an animal will be necessary while in the custody of the carrier, the shipper shall provide written instructions for feeding and watering. Charges for feeding and watering may apply.

If the animal has been medicated or sedated, affix instructions or warnings regarding medications, including:

  • Type of medication and method of administration.
  • Time administered.
  • Statement that health certification, where required, has been provided.

Health Certificate Requirements

Animals traveling interstate as cargo must have a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian certifying that the animal(s):

  • Was inspected not more than 30 days prior to travel (10 days if shipper is an animal dealer or exhibitor as required by the Animal Welfare Act).
  • Appears free of infectious disease or physical abnormalities which could endanger the animal or any other.
  • Animals not moving across state lines do not require a health certificate.
  • A rabies vaccination certificate is required for transport to/from and within the State of Alaska.
  • Dogs or cats less than 3 months old do not require a rabies certificate.
  • A combined Health/Rabies Certificate form is acceptable.
  • Proof of Parvo Virus vaccination is required for animals traveling to the cities of Nome or Kotzebue.