Tips and Advice for Dogs Travelling in Planes


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For many pet owners, questions about dogs travelling in planes is an important consideration when planning their vacation or business trip. However, dogs travelling in planes can be a stressful and complicated process.

Dog carrier - Flying with Your Dog on a Plane

There are many factors to consider, such as the dog’s size, breed, age, temperament, and airline policies and regulations. This post will explore tips and advice for flying with your dog on a plane.

Dogs travelling in planes: Consider your dog’s size and breed

First and foremost, you need to consider your dog’s size and breed when planning to fly with them. Different airlines have different restrictions and policies regarding pet travel, which can vary based on the size and breed of your dog.

Dog carrier - Flying with Your Dog on a Plane

For example, many airlines have weight limits or require that dogs be able to fit comfortably in a carrier that fits under your seat. It is important to research the specific requirements of the airline you plan to fly with to ensure that your dog meets their criteria.

When Flying With Your Dog: Choose the right carrier

The carrier you choose for your dog is also an important consideration. It should be sturdy, secure, and comfortable for your dog to rest during the flight. Make sure that the carrier is the right size for your dog and meets the airline’s size requirements.

Dog carrier under plane seat - Flying with Your Dog on a Plane

Getting your dog used to the carrier before the flight is also a good idea. You can leave the carrier in your house for your dog to explore and get comfortable with.

Prepare your dog for the flight: What to pack and deciding to sedate dogs for travel

Flying can be a stressful experience for dogs, especially if they are not used to traveling or being in a carrier. To help prepare your dog for the flight, take them for short trips in the carrier before the flight so they can get used to being inside it.

See also  Traveling with Your Dog on an Airplane

You can also pack their favorite toys, treats, and blankets to help keep them relaxed and comfortable during the flight. Additionally, ensure your dog is well-rested and well-fed before the flight to reduce stress levels.

Some dog owners make the decision with their veterinarians to sedate dogs for travel. If you have a dog with high anxiety, you may find the need to sedate dogs for travel.

Follow airline rules and regulations

Each airline has its own rules and regulations regarding pet travel. Reading and following these policies carefully is important to ensure a safe and stress-free journey for you and your dog.

For example, some airlines require a health certificate for your dog or may restrict certain breeds from being flown. Additionally, make sure to inform the airline that you will be traveling with a dog when you book your flight.

One Dog Owner Shares Experiences With Flying With A Dog

I have a real plane dog. The day I adopted Kobi, I took him on his first flight (see right). Since then, I’ve taken Kobi on several domestic and international flights. As such, I can definitely help you with tips for flying with a dog.

plane dog
Kobi 8wks in his travel bag on his first flight

Kobi is under the typical 20lbs limit for in-cabin flight travel, so he’s always been in the airplane with me. (I can’t comment on plane travel for dogs that are larger and need to be in the hull, i.e. as cargo.)

Before Your Flight with Your Dog

You will need to check with the airline you plan to fly with and see what their pet regulations are. There is no standard set of rules and they can change. Sometimes rules are different depending on where you are flying to (e.g. Hawaii).

See also  Top 5 FAA Approved Dog Carriers

First of all, make sure the airline will take your breed. Some airlines will not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs, e.g. Pugs. Shih Tzus.

You need to purchase a ticket for your dog, as well as, yourself. I find this highly annoying because your dog will end up sitting in your seat area. You have to put him in front of your feet, on the floor, under the seat in front of you.

Don’t forget that despite the fact that you purchased a ticket for your dog, this does not give you an extra bag. If you’re flying coach, you are still only limited to one bag and one personal item. The dog bag will count as the “one bag”, so I just bring a purse as my personal item.

It’s important to make sure your dog has a ticket because there generally is a limit on the number of pets in the cabin. Note service animals are typically not counted in the maximum number allowed in the cabin.

Getting the Right Dog Travel Bag

Your dog will need an airline approved dog bag. I’ve never experienced an airline exactly measure the bag my dog was in.

However, your dog needs to be able move around in it – typically stand up enough so he can switch his body position front to back and visa versa. I have heard stories of airlines doing this test. The dog bag also needs to be able to fit under the seat in front of you.

I recommend getting a dog bag that allows your dog to see out as much as possible (this also helps with ventilation). It should also have flaps to close the “windows” of the bag because sometimes your dog will just want to sleep and not be distracted.

See also  Travel Dog Bag for Dogs On The Go

Make sure to get your dog used to his travel bag. He should not be testing it out on his first flight. We made sure to feed Kobi in his travel bag before he used it on a plane. As such, he has positive experiences associated with his travel bag.

Last but not least, you will often need a health certificate from your vet, which might need to be dated within 10 days of the first flight your dog will be on.

Flying With A Dog Wrap Up

Flying with your dog on a plane can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. Following these tips and advice can help ensure a safe and comfortable trip for you and your furry friend. Remember to research airline policies, choose the right carrier, prepare your dog for the flight, and follow all rules and regulations. Happy travels!

Next step: What to Bring for the Day of Travel

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