At Air Canada Cargo, an animal's safety and comfort are our top priorities. While air travel can be stressful to passengers, it can be extremely difficult for animals.
AC Live is Air Canada Cargo's designated shipping solution for live animals. It is designed to ensure the comfort and safety of all animals:
- Designated agents for bookings and questions about live shipments*
- Priority1 service level
- Specially trained staff to care of animals while under our care
- Bonded kennel facility in Toronto for comfort stops for pets in transit
Once within our care, animals are brought to specialized rooms* for safety and comfort and are transported to the aircraft in dedicated vehicles.
*At select stations only.
AC Live shipments can be designated as:
- Pets - Cats and dogs
- Animals - For all other types of live animals (warm and cold blooded)
- Aquatics / Insects - For live fish, coral, bees, etc.
All Animals must be brought to an Air Canada Cargo facility and retrieved at arrival.
Not all cities served by Air Canada have cargo facilities. All Cargo stations are listed in our Contact us section.
Flying in the Cargo Hold
Animals booked with AC Live fly in the cargo hold, along with baggage and other cargo and don't need to be accompanied.
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.
Kennels are secured so as not to move about in-flight, and are placed for maximum ventilation.
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.
Minimum time to
make a booking
|Within Canada||10 hours prior||
Hours of operation - 6:00 am to 9:45 pm (EST) - 7 days a week
You can also view our list of Air Canada Cargo offices across Canada
|Between Canada and the US||24 hours prior||If your shipment is originating in the U.S., please consult our contact list|
|All other origin or destination||5 days prior||Contact your local Air Canada office.|
Before calling to make a booking, please have the following information available:
- Shipping information:
- Shipper's name, address, telephone numbers
- Consignee/recipient name, address, telephone numbers
- City of origin and destination
- Documentation that may be required for transport
- About the animal:
- Type of animal and breed
- Weight, length and height
- Kennel dimensions (for cats and dogs)
Before booking, please review our seasonal restrictions
It is the shipper's responsibility to verify if there are any shipping restrictions for the country of origin or destination. This information can be found on the customs website of most countries.
AC Live News
US Restrictions from May 15 to September 30
United States: Restrictions for Shipping Animals from May 15 to September 30
Due to extreme heat and USDA regulations, the transport of live animals is prohibited or strictly regulated to and from airports in the following cities: Atlanta (ATL), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Houston (IAH) Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO) and Phoenix International (PHX).
Exception: Day old chicks, cold blooded animals, provided they are tendered in containers that adhere to the current IATA Live Animal Container requirements.
Upcoming Holiday Restrictions for Pets and Live Animals Travelling to China
Please note that Air Canada Cargo will not be able to transport pets and live animals* to and from Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG) from May 1 to 3, as customs clearance for animals will not be available during an upcoming statutory holiday in China. Please contact our call center in Toronto at 1-800-387-4865 or your local representative (link to the Contact Us page) if you need to change an existing booking.
*The restriction doesn't apply to live lobster or seafood shipments.
Winter restrictions for hairless breeds
November 1 to March 31: Air Canada Cargo will not transport hairless breeds of cats and dogs during the winter months, for their comfort and security.
Pets Travelling to the European Union
The Pet Travel Scheme is used to create a single set of pet travel requirements across the European Union (EU), and includes the movement of pets with their owners.
The following changes to the Pet Travel Scheme will come into effect on the December 29, 2014. If you are travelling with a cat, dog or ferret to an EU member country, the following regulations will apply as of December 29:
No More Than Five Animals - A maximum of five pets can travel at once. If there are more than five, the animals will not be eligible to enter the EU under the Pet Travel Scheme. They will be deemed commercial and have to comply with commercial regulations (see Balai Directive).
No More Than Five Days Apart From Your Pet - The pet must travel within five days of its owner. The owner may designate another person to travel with the pet (this person's name must be added to the health certificate).
Selling or Sending a Pet to a New Home? Pets that will be sold, re-homed will not be eligible to travel under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This means they will be deemed commercial and will need to comply with the Balai Directive.
Under the Pet Travel Scheme, all dogs, cats and ferrets entering the EU will continue to require:
- Micro chipping
- Vaccination against rabies
- A blood test 30 days after vaccination (if returning or travelling from an unlisted third country)
- A waiting period after primary vaccination and prior to travel 21 days if travelling from another EU country or a listed third country
- A waiting period of 3 months if travelling from an unlisted third country
- Treatment against tapeworm (dogs only)
- A Pet passport (or third country certificate)
For More Information
To find out more about transporting pets to the European Union, and obtain the most recent versions of all necessary health certificates, please visit https://www.gov.uk/pet-travel-information-for-pet-owners#dogs-cats-and-ferrets.
Winter Restrictions for Pets and Animals
November to April: No Cats and Dogs on Select Aircraft
The cargo hold of some of our smaller aircraft are not heated. As such, from November 1 to March 31, some animals, including pets like cats and dogs, are not accepted as cargo on some flights. If there is a restriction in effect on your chosen flight, our customer service agents will let you know at the time of booking.
Exceptions - Reptiles, amphibians, live tropical fish, insects, worms, bees, live coral rock and rodent species can be transported during this period provided the packaging meets IATA Live Animal Regulations container requirements, and the appropriate waiver is filled out and signed by the shipper.
Holiday Restrictions for Cats and Dogs in North America
Cats and dogs are not accepted for transport with Air Canada Cargo within North America, or on international flights with a connection in North America, from December 15 to January 12.
The restriction applies all cats and dogs, as well as to shipments from breeders, kennels and freight forwarders, and pets travelling as checked baggage.
Cats and dogs are allowed on direct international flights. The restriction does not apply to other animals.
Live Animal Shipments to Haneda Airport Temporarily Suspended
Due to a customs and quarantine issue, live animal shipments to Japan's Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Aiport, HND) cannot be accepted until further notice. This ban does not apply to shipments to Narita International Airport (NRT). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding live animal shipments to HND.
Special Requirements for Snub-Nose Breeds
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.
Please note the following changes effective September 29, for the transport of the brachycephalic (snub-nose) breeds indicated below.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Pit-bull (all breeds)
|Mastiff (all breeds)
Dogue de Bordeaux
Mastiff (all breeds)
Temperature Restrictions: 24˚C Limit
Brachycephalic (snub-nose) breeds are susceptible to increased risk of heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to heat or stress. Starting September 29, Air Canada Cargo will not accept the breeds listed above for transportation on days where the temperature is higher than 24 degrees Celsius, at any point of the journey.
Brachycephalic breeds must also be placed in containers that meet specific requirements as of September 29:
- Use a container that is one size larger than indicated for the animal's size
This will increase the airflow in the container.
- The container must have ventilation holes on four sides
Tip: Help your pet and let it get used to the container prior to travel. Let your animal spend time in the container at home several days before travel.
For more information about kennel requirements, please visit our AC Live section
US-Bound Dogs Must Now Be Immunized Against Rabies
Effective August 11, 2014, the US Center for Disease Control requires that all dogs travelling to or being transported to the United Sates be fully immunized against rabies prior to entering the US.
The rabies vaccination must be administered no earlier than 12 weeks of age, and at least 30 days before arrival at a US port of entry. This means the youngest that a puppy can be to enter the US is 4 months of age.
Proof of immunization will be required for all dogs travelling to the US. Please make sure to have this documentation with you when bringing a dog to Air Canada Cargo. Visit our AC Live section for more information.
New requirements for transport of puppies and kittens
Air Canada Cargo is changing some of the requirements for the transport of puppies and kittens. For the comfort and well-being of these young animals, please note that effective August 15:
- A valid health certificate from a veterinarian will be required for all puppies and kittens travelling on Air Canada Cargo, including those travelling within Canada.
- The minimum age for puppies and kittens to travel on Air Canada Cargo will change to 12 weeks. Puppies and kitten under 12 weeks of age will not be accepted for carriage.
We thank you for your cooperation. For questions, please contact your local Air Canada Cargo representative, or contact acLive@aircanada.ca.
Strong dog breeds travelling with Air Canada Cargo
For their safety and comfort, strong dog breeds travelling with Air Canada Cargo must now be placed in containers that fall under requirement 82 of the IATA Live Animal Regulations. These containers are more robust than conventional plastic containers used to transport animals.
The following breeds are considered strong and are affected by this change:
- American bulldog
- Pit-bull (all breeds)
- American Staffordshire terrier
- Caucasian Shepherd
- Dogo Argentina
- Fila Brasileiro
- Mastiff (all breeds)
- Anatolian Shepherd
- Presa Canario
- Band dog
- Wolf Dog Hybrids
To find out more about the specifications for these containers, please contact an Air Canada Cargo Live agent (number or email) or your local Air Canada Cargo station.
If you have an existing booking for one of the breeds listed above, please call the station of origin to obtain the correct container specifications.