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United handles all specialty shipments, especially pets, with the greatest care. We understand the unique requirements of transporting animals, and we adhere to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations.
To further ensure the safety of animals when they travel on United, we require animal shippers to follow the guidelines below:
- Live animals must arrive at the designated airport drop-off area at least two-three hours before the scheduled flight departure.
- For flights within the mainland U.S.: two hours
- For flights to and from locations outside the mainland U.S.
- From airports where the live animal is traveling on an international flight: three hours
- From all other airports: two hours
- United requires that your pet have a health certificate issued by a veterinarian dated within 10 days of travel. A certificate is required for both your outbound and return flights. Please obtain a new health certificate for your return flight if you plan to travel later than the day the original certificate expires. Please note that if your pet’s travel on United precedes or is followed by international travel, the Health Certificate must be issued in English.
- Track a pet's itinerary online. Please have the air waybill number available.
- Kennels and crates must conform to IATA and USDA regulations.
- United supports the recommendation of the American Veterinarian Medical Association to not accept animals that have been sedated. United will not knowingly accept a dog or cat that has been sedated and accepts no liability for the death or sickness of an animal caused by any drug.
- United agents will use the Live Warm-Blooded Animal Acceptance Checklist (PDF: 92.2 KB) at the time you tender your pet. Please feel free to print it out and utilize it in the preparation of your pet for shipping.
- If you are shipping small or toy dog breeds that are younger than 12 weeks old and less than three pounds (approximately 1.5 kg), it is recommended that you take the following precautionary steps:
- Do not vaccinate or worm the puppy within three days of transport.
- Ensure that no other medical procedures are performed on the puppy within three days of transport.
- Use honey or light Karo syrup for "carbohydrate loading" for the 24-hour period prior to shipping to help maintain glucose levels in the puppy while in transit. Lowered glucose levels in puppies can result in hypoglycemic episodes, including seizures and a reduction of body temperature, severely compromising the health of your pet.