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CFIA & USDA Cargo Safety Requirements

The federal laws enforced by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection ensure the cargo area is kept safe, clean and comfortable for pet transports. The federal requirements listed here are briefly paraphrased from the USDA website to offer you peace of mind:

The owner or pet courier must:

  • Drop off the pet no longer than 4 hours prior departure (or up to 6 hours if airline coordination is made)
  • Supply the airline with a travel health certificate provided and signed by a licensed veterinarian no more than 10 days prior departure date
  • Sign documentation stating the pet was offered food and water during the 4 hours prior departure (unless directed otherwise by a licensed veterinarian)

The pets’ flight kennel must:

  • Safely and comfortably contain the pets’ without causing suffering, discomfort or injury
  • Be clean and sterile before placing the pet inside
  • Have handles that allow handlers to move it without contact with pets
  • Be opened easily in case of an emergency
  • Have a leak-proof bottom
  • Be properly ventilated
  • Be properly sized for the pet, not too big or too small, so they can stand, turn, and lie down naturally without touching the sides
  • Be properly labeled, including “Live Animal” tags with upward arrow

The airline pet holding areas meets temperature requirements and animal comfort and safety guidelines

The cargo hold must:

  • Be designed, constructed and maintained to constantly ensure the pets’ health, comfort and safety
  • A climate-controlled & pressurized cargo hold
  • Have a supply of clean air, sufficient to breathe for long periods
  • Prevent admission of engine exhaust

Airline handlers must:

  • Monitor the pets at least once every four hours, or upon arrival and departure to ensure all minimum standards are met
  • Offer the pets water at least every 12 hours, and food at least once every 24 hours
  • If necessary, arrange veterinary care as soon as possible