Your animals were meant to fly!
AC Animals is Air Canada Cargo's designated shipping solution for live animals. We understand that while air travel can be stressful to passengers, it can be extremely difficult for animals. That’s why your animal's safety and comfort are our top priorities.
With specially-trained staff to care for the animals, designated holding facilities (at select stations) and dedicated transport vehicles, we help to make your animal’s journey a little easier.
The AC Animals solution offers the following benefits for you and your animal:
About Animals Shipping
Air Canada Cargo accepts a wide range of live shipments, designated in the following categories:
There are also certain animals that Air Canada Cargo does not accept for carriage:
Non-human primates not intended for laboratory research and/or experimental purposes are accepted and must be accompanied by a Shipper's Declaration of transport of Non-Human primates that clearly states that the animals are not intended for laboratory research and/or experimental purposes. The form must be completed online, printed and brought with the animal(s) when tendered.
Air Canada Cargo does not accept shipments of threatened species and their related products, or wildlife known as unsustainably traded and their related products. These are only accepted if the shipper (or the shipper's agent) completes and presents the Shipper’s declaration of transport of Threatened species certifying that the species are either:
The form must be completed online, printed and brought with the animal(s) when tendered.
Air Canada Cargo also has certain Restrictions in place to ensure the health and safety of live cargo. Be sure to check these restrictions before planning your live shipment.
Due to the special needs and nature of live shipping, all animals must be brought to an Air Canada Cargo facility and retrieved upon arrival. Note that not all cities served by Air Canada have cargo facilities. See if your city has an Air Canada Cargo facility.
People shipping their pet for the first time often wonder what will happen to their animals once they are dropped off. All animals booked with AC Animals fly in the cargo hold, along with baggage and other cargo, and receive special handling during ground transport.
The cargo holds on all of our aircraft are pressurized and most of our aircraft also have temperature-controlled cargo compartments. If temperature control is needed but not available on the route you book your animal on, the booking agent will suggest a different route or an alternate travel date. See our Travel Restrictions to learn more about how Air Canada Cargo ensures the safety and comfort of your pets.
Kennels are also secured to avoid movement during the flight, and are placed for maximum ventilation.
Some small pets can travel inside the cabin with passengers, or in the checked baggage compartment. Visit the Air Canada website for more information about passenger travel with a pet.
Our goal is to make the journey as comfortable as possible for your pet, so if a comfort stop or overnight stay is required, plan to take advantage of our on-site, bonded kennel facility in Toronto.
AC Animals Restrictions
Air Canada Cargo adheres to strict regulations for the transport of all live animals. We regularly review our procedures and guidelines to ensure that animals travelling with Air Canada Cargo are safe and comfortable. If you have questions about any of our AC Animals travel restrictions, please contact us.
For their safety and comfort Air Canada Cargo does not accept warm-blooded animals for transport when the outside ground temperature is higher than 29.5°C (85°F). If the temperature is 29.5°C or higher at the departure city, the destination, or any point in between on a route with connections, animals will not be accepted and will therefore be rebooked for the next available flight(s).
Day old chicks and cold-blooded animals, provided they are tendered in containers that adhere to the current IATA Live Animal Container requirements. This exception does not apply during applicable seasonal restrictions for Asia, the Middle East, Melbourne and select US cities.
Air Canada does not accept brachycephalic, snub-nosed or mixed breeds of snub-nosed animals when the breed on the Health Certificate states the following:
This full embargo on snub-nosed breeds was implemented July 21, 2015. It applies to pets travelling with Air Canada Cargo, and as checked baggage.
Safety is Air Canada’s top priority, and this extends to the animals we transport. Despite implementing lower temperature restrictions and larger cage requirements, we find that air travel continues to be distressing and potentially harmful to these animals.
Snub-nosed pets may travel in the cabin with passengers to destinations where this is permitted. Passengers should consult aircanada.com for all information related to pets travelling in the cabin.
The following dog breeds (including partially mixed breeds) are considered strong and must be placed in reinforced containers that fall under requirement 82 of the IATA Live Animal Regulations
To find out more about the specifications for these containers, please contact an Air Canada Cargo Animals agent (number or email) or your local Air Canada Cargo station.
|Species||Age||Number of animal permitted|
|Dogs and Cats||Up to 6 months old||Up to 2 pets per kennel provided each
animal weighs less than 9 kg (20 lbs.).
|Over 6 months old||1 pet per kennel|
|All other animals||Varies||Varies by species. Contact us.|
Depending of the aircraft type, we cannot accommodate all kennel sizes an each aircraft has their own animal weight limits. Please contact us for more details on accommodating your animal.
Many smaller airports in Canada will only accept live animals tendered from the Transport Canada Secure Supply Chain. Refer to our Contact Us section to find out if your regional airport is included.
Toronto Kenneling Services
Our facility at Toronto Pearson is equipped with an on-site, bonded kenneling facility. The Air Canada Cargo Pet Stop is for animals travelling with Air Canada Cargo requiring a comfort stop or overnight stay.
The Pet Stop consists of eight roomy enclosures for dogs and a separate room for cats, and all the necessary amenities for pet care. The newly renovated facility is bright, well-ventilated and temperature controlled.
Pets staying at the Pet Stop enjoy:
If a comfort stop or overnight stay is required for your animal, the Air Canada Animals reservation agent will let you know upon booking. For questions, please contact us.
Other airlines operating out of YYZ can also book pets for stays at the Pet Stop. Kenneling services available to other airlines include:
AC Animals Rates, Charges & Fees
For any questions, please contact one of our AC Animals agents:
Not all US stations are equipped to handle live animals. For any questions, refer to our list of AC Animals stations and please contact one of our AC Animals agents:
Take Note: Not all US stations are equipped to handle live animals. Review the list of stations here.
The overall rate for your shipment needs to be confirmed by an AC Animals agent. Please contact us at:
Not all US stations are equipped to handle live animals. The overall rate for your shipment needs to be confirmed by an AC Animals agent. Please contact the closest AC Animal certified station:
The overall rate for your shipment needs to be confirmed by an AC Animals agent. Please contact us at your nearest station:
Charges for the shipment of animals are based on:
We don’t recommend using our services for transporting an animal from within the United States to another location in the United States.
If you want more information, please review our list of stations that handle live animal shipments in the United States.
Terminal fees cover the processing of your animal either within the facility, or through Customs. Within Canada, that fee is $80.00 CAD per shipment, and in the US, it is $70.00 USD per shipment.
All animals shipped as cargo need to be security screened. The security screening fee in Canada is $0.17 CAD per kilogram and $0.15 USD in the US, with a minimum charge of $20.00. The fee is charged at the station your animal departs from and is based on the actual weight of your animal and its kennel.
Air Canada Cargo requires a comfort stop for cats and dogs under the following conditions:
Under these circumstances, the animal will be sent to a kennel or veterinarian service and fees will apply.
Meet our Veterinary Consultant, Dr. David Landers!
At Air Canada Cargo, transporting living animals is done with the utmost care and consideration. The variety of living creatures that fly with us is vast, from cats and dogs to rabbits, crocodiles, donkeys, cows, pigs, snow leopards, parrots, crickets and exotic fish, all of them requiring specific attention and conditions during transit and travel.
Keeping all these animals safe and comfortable requires careful planning, extensive training, as well as guidelines and policies on issues such as minimum age requirements, health certification and temperature restrictions. Our solutions, operations and procedures teams work together to regularly review and adjust our processes.
We're pleased to welcome Dr. David Landers to the AC Animals team. An experienced veterinarian, Dr. Landers is the owner of AirVets Pet Relocation. He is an expert in international pet shipping, export and import documentation and travel-related pet health. Dr. Landers holds a certification in Live Animal Transportation from IATA and has been Director at Large on the board of IPATA as since 2013.
Air Canada Cargo will work in close relationship with Dr. Landers to support and validate our animal travel policy and procedures.
Dr. Landers is also available to Air Canada Cargo employees for ad hoc consultation on specific cases, and will provide veterinary opinion and services when required.
Dr. Landers will provide consistent, expert guidance and be a vital part of the AC Animals team, working to ensuring all animals travel safely and that our services meet the evolving needs of our customers.
To meet performance expectations and current regulatory and security control requirements, Air Canada Cargo adheres to a rigorous goods acceptance process. All shipments, including live cargo, must meet and follow all applicable IATA regulations. Visit IATA Traveller’s Pet Corner for more information.
Any person that makes a booking to ship an animal with Air Canada Cargo is considered the shipper and must take certain steps to ensure proper transport and care for the animal. This includes following the steps detailed in our Shipper’s Checklist as well as ensuring that your shipment complies with all applicable national, carrier and IATA regulations and is acceptable for transport as detailed below.
Only animals that are in good health and condition and fit to travel to the final destination, should be tendered for carriage by air. The shipper is required to declare when animals are pregnant, or have given birth in the last 48 hours. Mammals that are declared to be pregnant must not be tendered for transport unless accompanied by a veterinary certificate certifying that the animal is fit to travel and there is no risk of birth occurring during the journey.
Air Canada Cargo requires that for all dogs and cats travelling as cargo must be accompanied by a valid health certificate (referencing the animal's age, sex, breed and an attestation of the animal's overall health) issued by a licenced veterinarian.
You must complete, before you tender the animal, all the necessary documentation, including all health certificates and documents required by Customs or any governmental body and bring them with you at the time of tender. Otherwise, the animal may not be able to enter the destination country. It may be returned to origin or licensed into quarantine upon arrival. If this occurs, extra fees will apply and your animal will be delayed.
Depending on the type of animal being shipped, you may also need to complete the following declaration forms. Complete the forms online, print, and bring with you at the time of tender.
All documentation must satisfy all ports of entry. Make sure to complete the required documentation for all the entry points along the route as well as the final destination. For specific import rules and regulations, information on vaccination and documentation requirements when bringing animals into a particular country, contact the embassy or consulate of the destination country and all ports of entry along the route.
If you have questions about the required documentation, please contact us.
Please see Kennel Requirements or details about selecting the appropriate kennel or container for your animal. You will also need to ensure that your containers or kennels conform to Air Canada Cargo's regulations and/or IATA's Live Animals Regulations.
If applicable, clearly indicate the animal's given name on the outside of the kennel or container. Attach a label with feeding and watering instructions, indicating the date and time the animal was last fed and given water.
A Live Animal and This Way Up label/tag is mandatory. If the kennel did not come with these labels, they can be provided for you when you tender the animal. Place the This way Up label/tag on all four sides of the kennel.
All packages in the consignment must be marked with the consignee's name, street and city address, including ZIP/postal code (as on the Air Waybill) OR, have one or more packages marked with this information with an appropriate reference on all other packages in the consignment.
A completed cargo identification label or stencil must be attached to each package. Labels must be fully visible and all old labels and markings must be obliterated.
Identify any special care required upon making the booking and ensure that this information is provided on a label on the kennel or container. Provide a record of any medication given (i.e. type of drug, dosage, time given and route). This information must accompany all other documents.
Shipments are only acceptable for transportation when the shipper, consignee or owner has complied with the rules and regulations of the tariffs and all laws, ordinances, and other governmental rules and regulations governing the transportation of the shipment.
The air waybill must be accurate and complete in all respects. It must include the weight, number of pieces, dimensions, nature of goods, all information required by Customs and known/unknown security status. The air waybill must also contain the conditions of contract. An E-Air Waybill is also acceptable (where authorized).
When applicable, complete House AWB information must be available for manual input or electronically transmitted to either Air Canada or directly to Customs.
Note: Any adjustments made to an Air Waybill that could impact the expected billing amount, such as re-weighing, calculating or re-calculating the dimensional weight of your shipment, will be communicated to the shipper with a Notice of Correction. This Notice of Correction will be sent electronically to your attention.
All shipments undergo security screening and must be prepared for carriage according to the security control instructions provided by the National Authority and any additional instructions provided by Air Canada Cargo.
Note: Any cargo that cannot be screened to a satisfactory standard may be broken down into smaller pieces in order to obtain a clear image. Break-down and build-up fees may apply. See Security screening fees in Rates, Charges and Fees.
Live animals are acceptable for transportation when:
Are you ready to ship? Visit the Shipper’s Checklist
For the comfort and safety of the animals, all cats and dogs must be transported in kennels that comply with regulations set forth by the International Aviation Transportation Association (IATA) when travelling as air cargo. Animals other than dogs and cats can be transported in kennels described below, as long as the kennel meets the container requirements of the IATA Live Animals Regulations. You can contact our AC Animals representative to get more information.
As the kennel becomes the animal's home away from home, it's a good idea to purchase the kennel well in advance of travel so the animal can become accustomed to it before travelling.
Most pets can travel in the type of container included in IATA’s Container Requirement.
The following dog breeds are considered strong and must be placed in reinforced containers that fall under requirement 82 of the IATA Live Animal Regulations
Cats and dogs must be carried in appropriately sized kennels designed so that they cannot fit their paws through any of the openings on the kennel. The kennel must be big enough to allow the animal to stand, turn around and lie down in a natural position.
* This kennel requirement is acceptable for most breeds of domestic cats and dogs.
Some rigid plastic containers may not be suitable for large dogs or dogs that are strong or aggressive. See an agent for more details.
The measurements below are based on the animal standing in a natural position
A = length of the animal from tip of the nose to the root of the tail.
B = height from the elbow joint to the ground.
C = width at the widest point.
D = height of the animal, when standing, from tip of the ears or top of the head (whichever is higher) to the floor – ears must not touch the top of the kennel when the animal is standing naturally.
The length of the kennel must be equal to A + 1/2 B.
The width of the kennel must be equal to C x 2.
The height of the kennel (top flat or arched) must be equal to D.
Secure the top and bottom portions of the kennel together with the supplied hardware. Clips alone will not be accepted.
For a list of kennel requirements you can take with you, download this PDF.
Booking a Shipment
Booking an AC Animals shipment is easy with Air Canada Cargo. Our knowledgeable and experienced booking agents will help you through the booking process and will provide the information you need to ensure a secure and comfortable flight for your animal.
Bookings can be made up to 30 days prior to departure and must be made no later than the times indicated in the table below, depending on the destination.
|Travel||Minimum time to make a booking||Contact|
|Within Canada||10 hours prior|| Call AC Animals at: 1-800-387-4865
6:00 am to 9:45 pm (EST), 7 days a week
or Contact an AC Cargo station
and the US
|24 hours prior||If your shipment is originating in the U.S., please consult our AC Animals Contact List|
|All other origin or destination||5 days prior||Contact an AC Cargo station|
You can also email: ACAnimals@aircanada.ca
Before you call, please see our Shipper’s Checklist
Due to some aircraft types, weight, weather and regulatory restrictions and AC Animals Restrictions, we may not be able to transport your shipment to all the destinations we serve. Your Air Canada Cargo station can help.
Before calling to make a booking, please have the following information available: