PetSafe frequently asked questions

Before you book

    • Cats and dogs traveling with PetSafe will be kept in pressurized and climate-controlled aircraft compartments — the same as our cabins for customers. Our warehouses and vehicles are climate-controlled, too, to make sure your pet is comfortable in any weather conditions. We also load pets onto the plane after all other cargo and unload them first.
    • There is a dedicated 24-hour PetSafe desk:
      • 1-800-575-3335 (toll-free in U.S.)
      • +1-832-235-1541 (outside the U.S.; regular call rates apply)
    • There is also a dedicated cargo contact number for shipments originating in Japan:
      • +81 3 6732 5078 (available Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
    • You’ll receive a confirmed booking for your pet before departure.
    • If you’d like to track your pet’s trip, you can track their transport online from the departure city to their destination.
    • PetSafe’s Performance Guarantee: PetSafe refunds a portion of the shipping charges when a pet’s journey is interrupted and they don’t travel as booked, as long as they’re dropped off on time and meet all the acceptance standards. To ask for a refund, please submit a claim request form.

      *We can’t issue refunds if there was a delay due to weather or any other reason beyond United's control. Please submit your claims request within seven days of your pet’s scheduled arrival.

  • The cost to ship your pet depends on the combined weight of your pet and their crate. For more information, visit the PetSafe Rates section of our website. Please note that the rates don’t include some charges, like kenneling or comfort stop fees. There also might be additional fees for international routes, such as forwarder and customs broker fees.

  • Your pet's safety is our top priority. Due to pressurization requirements, certain aircraft can’t accommodate pets. It also depends how much space is available and what the crate size limitations are for the aircraft.

  • Original health certificates are required for all cats and dogs traveling with PetSafe. We strongly recommended that you ask your veterinarian to do a comprehensive exam of your pet before their trip.

    In order to meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements, health certificates must be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian who examines your pet within 10 days of travel for both outbound and return flights. If your return flight is more than 10 days after their health certificate was issued, you’ll need to get a new exam and health certificate for the return flight.

    If your pet is traveling internationally before or after traveling with United, you’ll need an English translation of the health certificate. For international trips, please contact the embassy or consulate in your pet’s destination country so you make sure you’re following all the country-specific entry procedures.

  • Older pets and very young pets are more sensitive to stress from traveling. We recommend talking with your vet about additional health screenings your pet might need and to learn about their health risks during their trip.

    For travel within the U.S. and Puerto Rico, puppies and kittens must be at least 8 weeks old. If your kitten or puppy weighs less than 2 pounds, the pet must be at least 10 weeks old to travel. For more information on transporting pets from high-risk rabies countries into the U.S., visit the Age of your pet section on our Before you book page.

  • You can only have one adult dog or cat in your travel crate. Two kittens or puppies younger than six months can travel in a crate together as long as they’re similar in size and weigh less than 20 pounds (9 kg.) each. The crate must allow the kittens or puppies to move about freely. Cats and dogs (or kittens and puppies) can’t travel in crates together.

  • PetSafe refunds a portion of the shipping charges when a pet’s journey is interrupted and they don’t travel as booked, as long as they’re dropped off on time and meet all the acceptance standards. To ask for a refund, please submit a claim request form.

    *We can’t issue refunds if there was a delay due to weather or any other reason beyond United's control. Please submit your claims request within seven days of your pet’s scheduled arrival.

Before you go

  • Your pet’s crate must be made of rigid plastic, wood or metal, have proper ventilation and be secured by metal bolts. It must be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around normally while standing, sit up and lie down in a natural position. Your pet also shouldn’t be able to put any part of their body through the crate openings, so crates made exclusively from wire won’t be accepted. Please visit our Crate requirements page for more information.

  • You aren’t allowed to pack toys or medications of any kind in or attached to your pet’s crate. You can attach up to one pound (16 ounces) of dry food, one leash and one flat-style collar to the top of your pet’s crate. You can also include absorbent materials less than 3 inches thick, like blankets, towels or crate pads, in the bottom of the crate. Toys or medications of any kind are not allowed. The crate must also have two dishes (one for food and one for water, or a single divided dish) firmly attached to the inside of the crate. The dishes need to be accessible from the outside of the crate, so they can be filled without opening the door.

    Learn more about container requirements on our Day-of-travel preparations page.

  • It's very important to make sure your pet is accustomed to being in a crate designed for airline travel, which is different from a wire training or sleeping crate. To make sure your pet is ready for their trip, you should get the travel crate as far in advance as possible — at least two or three weeks before your pet's travel, though we recommend earlier than that to properly acclimate your pet to their crate. It's crucial that your pet is comfortable and feels secure in their crate to reduce their stress during their trip. Please watch this video for tips on how to acclimate your pet.

    You should also exercise your pet before leaving for the airport. Carry a leash with you so you’ll be able to walk your pet right before and after their trip.

  • Our airport agents will give you all the required labels you’ll need to put on your pet’s crate when you drop them off. Please label the top of your pet's crate with their name as well as the names, addresses and telephone numbers of whoever will drop off and pick up your pet.

  • No. We don’t accept animals that have been or appear to be sedated or tranquilized. There are safe alternatives to sedation that may help calm your pet. Some of these include “calming” (pheromone) collars and other natural therapies. Please check with your veterinarian to learn about other options for your pet.

  • The USDA requires that you offer your pet food and water within four hours of being transferred to the care of a transportation service. We recommend feeding your pet around four hours before they will be checked in for their flight, if possible. Please do not feed your pet for at least two hours prior to departure, since a full stomach can make your pet uncomfortable and lead to stomach bloating, vomiting and other conditions.

  • Our drop-off locations vary by airport, so please visit the United Cargo website and enter the airport code or city name.

  • You’ll need to check your pet in at the designated airport drop-off area no later than the minimum time before their departure. To make sure you have enough time to check-in your pet, please arrive at least 30 minutes before the minimum time shown below.

    • Flights within the continental U.S.: 2 hours
    • Flights from the U.S. to international locations: 3 hours
    • Flights originating outside the U.S. have local requirements that vary, so please contact PetSafe for more information.
  • Yes, when you drop off your pet for travel, we’ll give you an air waybill number. You can enter your air waybill number into our online tracking tool to monitor your pet's status.

  • If your pet arrives at the airport and you’re on a later flight or aren’t able to pick up your pet for a short period of time, we might decide to keep your pet in a secure kennel. We operate on-site kennels at our Chicago O'Hare United Cargo facility, Houston Intercontinental United Cargo facility and at New York/Newark Terminal C. Pets traveling through other airports may be boarded at United designated off-site kennels. Depending on the situation, additional kenneling charges may apply.

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