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Every airline has their own regulations for maximum size/weight limit, as well as minimum age limit, for puppies to travel (accompanied) in the passenger cabin. Any puppy that is too young/large/heavy to travel in the passenger cabin, must travel in an IATA transport crate in the cargo area of the airplane. The dimensions of the crate depend on the size of the puppy.



If the puppy is accompanied by a human traveler on board the same flight, it is considered a "non-commercial movement" (traveling with your pet) even if the human travels in the passenger cabin, and the puppy travels in the cargo/luggage area. However, any puppy that is flying alone (unaccompanied by a human onboard the same flight) must travel in an IATA transport crate in the cargo area of the airplane, and it is considered a "commercial movement" (purchasing/importing a pet) and there are certain rules/regulations for manifest cargo shipping, with regard to import/export protocol, customs duties, etc.

Our transshipping agent handles all the necessary paperwork and documentation for export, but a customs clearance agent/broker is sometimes required for handling the import paperwork, particularly for puppies flying to the USA. On that note, it is considered a "non-commercial import" if you are importing a puppy as your own personal family pet. However, if you are importing a puppy (or puppies) to later resell or adopt out or rehome, then this is considered a "commercial import" and much stricter regulations apply (including much higher minimum age limits, etc).


Transport costs are not included in the puppy purchase price because the cost of manifest cargo shipping depends on destination and crate size.

For instance: 1 puppy from Zagreb to North America (USA and Canada) usually costs approximately 1200 euros in a small size crate.

2 puppies from Zagreb to North America (USA and Canada) usually costs approximately 1600 euros (divided by 2 families = 800 euros per family) in a medium size crate.

3 puppies from Zagreb to North America (Canada ONLY) usually costs approximately 1800 euros (divided by 3 families = 600 euros per family) in a large size crate.

So, it often works out cheaper if more puppies travel together, despite the larger crate size. However, it is a LOT of work to organize combined shipments with multiple families! Moreover, a lot of airlines/clearance brokers don't like handling multiple puppies with multiple owners on one AirWay Bill (AWB) with one Consignee (CNEE) since it causes some confusion with the customs authorities to calculate the import tax (usually each AirWay Bill is considered as one shipment for the overall combined import value of the puppies traveling together).


It is important to keep in mind the national regulations (age limits + required vaccinations) for importing puppies as well as the airline regulations. While most airlines follow the same rules as the national regulations, which varies depending on the country, some airlines will only transport puppies that are aged 10+ weeks old, while others will only transport puppies that are aged 12+ weeks old. Some airlines will only accept puppies that are 15+ or 16+ weeks old.

Whenever possible, we try to ensure that puppies are able to fly from 8-10+ weeks old, sooner rather than later. This is because it is less stressful for puppies to travel internationally at a younger age, in the sense that the journey has less of a long-term traumatic impact and they tend to recover much faster from the stress of the journey.

What is the best age for a puppy to go to its new home?


Whenever possible, for long-distance international flights (for instance, to Canada or the USA) we try to ensure that 2-3 puppies travel together in the same crate. Many airlines allow 2 puppies to travel together, and some allow up to 3 puppies in the same crate. By traveling together with their siblings for comfort and companionship, the journey is much less stressful overall. It also has the added benefit that the new owners can then split/share the transport costs so it works out cheaper for everyone. Of course, this requires a LOT of organization and communication between the different families and the transshipping company but it's usually the best solution, if possible.

We usually include several toys in the transport crate to keep the puppies occupied during the journey. However, these are sometimes removed by airport authorities along the route. A food/water bowl (attached to the door of the crate) is mandatory; unfortunately, these are usually made out of plastic and can be easily broken. Puppies must always have access to fresh water during the journey but it is not recommended to feed them before/during the flight. We do not put any blankets or soft/rope toys inside the crate, as it is too risky that the puppies will chew/swallow pieces, which can cause a life-threatening intestinal obstruction. Instead, we simply layer multiple sheets of newspaper on the bottom of the crate as it is both absorbent and not harmful if chewed/swallowed. To be completely safe, we also remove all collars, leashes, and harnesses, which are then attached to the outside of the crate or in the compartment on the top of the crate.


Regardless if 1, 2, or 3 puppies are traveling in the transport crate, acclimatization to the crate is of paramount importance. We usually start with crate-training when the puppies are around 6 weeks old; we introduce the puppies to the crate slowly, over a long period of time. At first, they have constant access to the crate (with the door removed) so they can walk in and out of it as they please, sniffing and playing all around it. Then, we put the door back on and begin to feed the puppies inside the crate (with the door closed) for every meal so they have a positive association with going in the crate and don't mind the door being closed. Finally, we gradually build up the time they spend inside the crate with the door closed, making sure to let them out again before they get stressed.

By the time the puppies are ready to fly, they usually don't mind being in the crate for extended periods. Of course, after a long and stressful journey, 10+ hour international flight(s), they will usually have an aversion to going back inside the crate again, at least for a while, once they have arrived at their destination. When they are settling into their new homes, it's important not to force the puppies to go back into the crate again too soon, if they don't want to, and to gradually build-up the time they spend inside the crate with consideration to the fact that the crate may now have a negative association, which must be gently overcome through positive reinforcement and plenty of patience. Conversely, some puppies find that the crate is a source of security and comfort, a "safe space" where they can go for some quiet time, so it really depends on the individual puppy.