Dog mistakenly sent to Japan instead of Kansas City in United Airlines mix up

A 10-year-old German Shepherd has been accidentally shipped across the world due to a United Airlines mix up.

Kansas woman Kara Swindle was shocked to discover her dog Irgo missing when she arrived at the Kansas City cargo facility on Tuesday, CNN reports.

The family is in the process of moving from Oregon to Wichita and Ms Swindle was collecting him from Kansas to continue the journey.

However instead she was presented with a great dane that was supposed to be making its way to Japan.

Both dogs had an overnight stop in Denver on their respective journeys and it's believed they were switched when getting ready for the next plane.

According to Ms Swindle it was an anxious wait to find Irgo as the airline could not confirm where he was until the plane landed in Japan.

"I burst into tears instantly because this has just all been a whirlwind," she said.

"They didn't know [where Irgo was] until 2:30am on Wednesday when the plane landed in Japan."

Ms Swindle says it was Irgo's first time flying and he was unable to receive medication for an ear infection for three days.

He will be returning on Wednesday night (local time) via a flight to Denver first class with a human escort in the main cabin and a connecting flight to Wichita.

United Airlines apologised for the mix up and says it is looking into how the mistake occurred.

"We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible," a spokesperson said.

"We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened."

It's the second embarrassment for the airline in a week, after a French bulldog was killed in transit on Tuesday (local time).