Flying around the world with a dog can get complicated and expensive. I am going to break it down.
Who Can Fly?
If you have a snub nosed breed, you are going to have a more difficult time finding an airline than most dog owners. Breeds known to have breathing problems are a higher liability. Don’t let this dishearten you. You will simply have to put an extra effort into finding the right airline.
Some countries prohibit ‘dangerous’ breeds, therefore, airlines may not fly your breed of dog to certain countries. These lists usually include Mastiff and Bully breeds. Sad but true. I’ve never seen any Shepherd breed put on these lists.
In addition, pregnant, sick, or injured dogs are not generally not allowed. Some airlines have age restrictions if you are flying your puppy.
Cabin, Checked, Cargo
First, determine if your dog can fly as cabin baggage, checked baggage, or cargo. Rule of thumb, the price goes up as you go down the list. Unless you can prove your dog is a service dog, you have a doctor’s note or your dog is purse sized; let go of the hope your dog can ride in the airplane cabin with you.
Some airlines accept pets as checked baggage. Check before you buy your ticket. Certain airplanes can carry pets and some cannot. When you find the ticket you want to buy, write down the plane number and make a phone call to the airline inquiring about that specific plane to be sure. In general, the cut off weight for dogs as checked baggage is 32kg(70lbs) combined weight of your crate and dog. There are a few airlines that will allow pets to count as checked baggage and fly free but not many. Everything else gets put into cargo. Count on this costing the most. This is usually calculated by distance x weight. Many airlines then double or triple this price if it is a live animal.
Also be aware, some airlines have time and/or temperature restrictions. They will only fly your pet for so many hours and if the temperature raises to a certain point that day they will not accept your pet. Ask if they have these restrictions before you buy your ticket.
On the bright side, there are airlines such as KLM that have flat rates for pets. I have found when flying a large dog these airlines are the best option. I have posted a growing list of personal reviews and research of airlines for cargo sized dogs.
Also see my 5 Tips for International Pet Travel