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Travel with Seach-and-Rescue Dog

New Arrival

I've been told that Southwest has friendly policies towards search-and-rescue (SAR) responders traveling with their certified SAR canines. I'm trying to make flight arrangements for an expert canine trainer in Mexico City to fly to Oregon to teach a workshop in disaster search. I've talked to Southwest reservations on the phone and have contacted customer service by email. They all seem bewildered by my request. SAR dogs don't fit into the neat categories of disability service or emotional support dogs.  Still trying to get this Mexican canine trainer and his dog to our training event.


Re: Travel with Seach-and-Rescue Dog

Top Contributor

Take a look here:


Law Enforcement/Search and Rescue Dogs

Southwest Airlines accepts fully-trained law enforcement service dogs trained in explosives or drug detection (or other specific functions) and search and rescue dogs for transportation, without charge, when accompanied by their respective handlers on official business.  Each Customer traveling with a law enforcement or search and rescue dog must present a letter of mission and a copy of the animal’s certification.  In accordance with federal safety regulations, the dog(s) must be positioned so as not to obstruct Customers’ expeditious evacuation in the unlikely event of an emergency.  In addition, law enforcement and search and rescue dogs may not occupy a seat or sit in an emergency exit row.


However, because your itinerary includes an international departure, I'd recommend they follow the advice below:


We encourage Customers to contact the appropriate consulate, embassy or other governmental authority well in advance of travel to ensure applicable requirements are understood. Customers are solely responsible for researching and complying with applicable laws, requirements, and/or procedures with respect to the transport of trained assistance and emotional support animals.


From this link, it appears you'll just need to have proof that the dog has had it's rabies vaccination in order to bring it into the US:



Re: Travel with Seach-and-Rescue Dog

New Arrival

Thanks for that information! I could not find that anywhere on the Southwest website and employees responding to my contacts seemed very hesitant to give me a clear yes/no.   This dog and handler team are expert in collapse structure searches and my local team in Oregon is looking forward to learning from them.23365218_10156342092799453_1458027320_n.jpg