Flying your pets to Puerto Rico

Summer and I have been so busy we both absolutely forgot that we need to find someone to watch Monkey while she and her dad (Mike) come down for 7 days to check out the house. After a bunch of calls, Quinn is going to watch her for us. She is close to going into heat again and he just got a new dog…he’s going to have his hands full. I owe him big.

I mentioned to Mark and Robin that I miss my dogs and I couldn’t wait to get them down here. They are going to love it. That is when they told me that when you ship your pet to Puerto Rico you have to do so in the winter time because of the extreme summer time heat. The cut-off date for shipping dogs to Puerto Rico is May 15th. That is days away. So, I got on the phone and started making phone calls. They were right, most airlines stop shipping pets to the tropics in mid may because of the extreme heat on the tarmac. As a matter of a fact, Jet Blue won’t even except pets.

The last airline I checked was Continental…and let me tell you. We are saved. Continental has a new Pet Shipping program that is top notch and they’ll ship year around anywhere. The reason they can do this, is because they have AC transport trucks to make transfers and bring the pets to baggage. Also, the plane is climate controlled and pressurized to the same settings as the cabin. This makes me feel so much more comfortable about shipping the dogs. Monkey and Kuta will be flying from San Diego at 8:00am to Newark, then on to Aguadilla arriving at 10:42pm. Here is some more information that I found on flying your pet to Puerto Rico;

Continental Pricing (
$189 – below 50 lb
$239 – up to 70lbs
$299 – over 70lbs

  • Minimum 24 hours notice to ship
  • Vet statement within 10 days to say the animal can travel
  • food and water dish on the kennel (pet needs water, not necessarily food)
  • Absorbant material on bottom; newspaper, blanket, towel
  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved crate; the animal must be able to turn around, lay down and sit with at least an inch of room on all sides.
    Be at airport 1.5 hours early (be there at 6:30)
  • No American Pitbulls
  • Most airlines require a health certificate for any animal they are transporting, whether in the cabin or as an unaccompanied shipment.
  • Only small dogs and cats can go in the cabin. Some airlines may not even allow them in, and will transport them as special baggage in a heated and ventilated hold. Do not worry, cats and dogs actually travel better this way because it is quieter and they will rest in a darkened environment.
  • Contact the airline you have selected to confirm that they accept your pet on the day and flight that you prefer. Some airlines restrict the number of animals on a flight so the more advance notice you give them the better it is.
  • Reconfirm at least 48 hours before departure.
  • Find out how soon before the flight you have to check in. Pets become stressed with all the bustle at an airport, so keep it to a minimum. If your pet is allowed in the cabin, check in as late as possible. If it is going in the hold, check in early so that it can go to the baggage area and be put somewhere quiet and dimly lit in order to relax.
  • To prepare your pet for airline travel, reduce the amount of food the day before but give him/her plenty of water. Don’t dehydrate your pet. enough water; take your dog for a walk before leaving for the airport and again before check-in. A light meal 2 hours before tendering the animal to the carrier will help to calm it and is a legal requirement in the United States.
  • If you ship your pet as air freight, check with the airline to ensure the air freight facility is open so your pet may be claimed by the consignee.
  • Note that it is preferable to ship your pet on week days as all staff are working and liaison is easier all along the route.
  • Transport of snub nose dogs, such as boxers, pugs, bulldogs and Pekinese, in hot season is not recommended. These animals have difficulty in maintaining a normal body temperature in hot weather.
  • RESTRICTIONS of traveling with pets
    Brachycephalic (Short-Nosed) Dog Breeds

    Extra care is required when the following breeds are shipped because they often have hereditary respiratory problems. These animals are susceptible to increased risk of heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to stress or extreme heat:
    American Staffordshire Terrier
    Boston Terrier
    Brussels Griffin
    Bull Terrier
    Dutch Pug
    English Bulldog
    English Toy Spaniel
    French Bulldog
    Japanese Chin
    Japanese Pug
    Shih Tzu
    Staffordshire Bull Terrier

    At the recommendation of our consulting veterinarian, Continental Airlines will now require the following to reduce stress and heat exposure, when shipping or handling the above-mentioned breeds.

    On the recommendation of our consulting veterinarian, Continental Airlines will now require the following to reduce stress and heat exposure when shipping or handling the above-mentioned breeds: Use 1 size larger kennel than is normally required Use a kennel with ventilation on 4 sides. (If the kennel does not have ventilation on 4 sides, modify the kennel by drilling 7 holes in the rear top and 7 holes in the rear bottom of the kennel using a 3/4 inch keyhole bit). Acclimate the animal to the kennel by letting the animal spend time in the kennel for several days before its departure. Do not place food in the kennel during the flight, just water. Provide plenty of water to the animal. Frozen water bottles with tiny holes punched in the sides make a great watering tool for several hours when placed in the kennel’s watering dish.

    Restricted Cities or Countries Country of Origin or Destination Pet Policy (warm-blooded live animals) Dominican Republic Pets cannot be transported due to space constraints. Germany Shipments must be booked at least 72 hours prior to departure to allow processing with the German authorities. Grand Cayman Pets can be transported in cabin (subject to In-cabin Pet Policy). Pets cannot be transported as cargo due to space constraints. Italy Commercial Shippers only at the discretion of the airline. (No individual shipments) Peru All domestic cats entering the country of Peru must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture (SENASA) at the Peruvian Agrarian Health National Service. Embargos American Pit Bull Terriers (Pit Bulls, Pit Bull Terriers) Continental Airlines will accept American Pit Bull Terrier puppies which are between 8 weeks and 6 months of age provided they do not weigh more than 20 lb (9 kg). All American Pit Bull Terriers more than 6 months old or weighing more than 20lb (9 kg) will be refused. This embargo does not apply to American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or Miniature Bull Terriers. Crossbreeds with American Pit Bull Terriers are also excluded from this embargo. This embargo is due to the aggressiveness of the breed and the danger presented to our aircraft and our customers.

    10 thoughts on “Flying your pets to Puerto Rico”

    1. They will be in the “Pet First Class” cabin while we squeeze into general population in coach…unless we get lucky enough to get emergency exit row seating.

    2. Hello there and congratulations on getting your dream home in my beautiful island. I am trying to get help from someone that has actually done it, like yourself. I am moving back home after 20 years in California. I came to USC for college and never left. Now I am ready to go home and enjoy the tropics and all that it has to offer.
      My problem is that I love my American Staff as my only daughter and she is treated as such. Totally loving, fully trained and with all papers in order. My concern is that the breed is not allowed to be imported to Puerto Rico as well as the Pitbull breed. If this is not true PLEASE, please let me know. It would be a deal breaker and I have already made my mind to go home at the end of 09.
      Please let me know as soon as you can,


    3. Thank you so much for your response. They (Agricultura) had made it easier for me to decide. I am NOT going to PR after all. The attitude was “Well this is the way it is”. Also, the way they handle things left a lot to be desired.
      I am sure the thugs in SJ made this great breed a public enemy. Plenty of other islands around this planet to move to and be among more kind and civilized people. Truly sorry that the place I called home once has changed so much and for the worse.
      Thank you kindly for doing all you did to get me that information.

    4. David – I totally understand. I’m not so sure that we would have moved to Puerto Rico if we couldn’t bring our English Staffy. Our pets are definately family members! We got lucky and our staffy “slipped” through Agriculture (long story).

      There are plenty of Puerto Ricans that think this law is stupid and are fighting to change it, but who knows if or when that will ever happen. Move to Costa Rica! That would probably be the next tropical place I would move to :). Good luck!

    5. We are a family who just moved from Maui, Hawaii to Puerto Rico. We could not afford to live in Maui as farmer’s anymore. We are living in El Yunque Rainforest, a perfect place to import our Staffordshire Bull Terrier to. I need to know how your English Staff slipped through immigration. Our dog has absolutely no aggression issues. Although she is documented as a Staffordshire with the vet in Maui. Living 2 months without our dog has already been too long. We miss her so much. If there is anyway you know of importing our dog Shiva please let us know.

    6. Thanks so much for all this information! I’m moving to Rincon from NJ soon but was hesitant because I wasn’t sure how to go about bringing my Border Collie Derby. It’s just me and him so I couldn’t leave him behind :( But you have given more than enough info to ease my mind and start making plans for him. Thank you again that made my night! :)

    7. Well said David in LA. You got different island in Indonesia pick your favorite people said they have excelent surfing but watch your back l heard there ies a lot of kidnapping in indo good luck

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