How to Fly With a Dog

Families with dogs tend to bring them during their vacations. Some of the travelling may require boarding airplanes and just like humans, waiting at the airport to catch a flight is stressful for dogs.

With so much noise at the airport, it gets more confusing for your dog and it can provoke anxiety. Since flying with a dog can be stressful it is advisable to use other options other than commercial airlines.

When there is no alternative to air travel plan ahead and keep your dog’s comfort in mind.

How to fly with a dog depends on whether the dog is travelling inside the cabin or in the cargo area.

Small dogs are allowed to travel with their owner in the cabin but for the larger ones they are put in carriers and they travel in the cargo area.

U.S Airline Pet Policies for In-cabin Travel

Each commercial airline has different carrier measurements. The carriers have to be spacious enough for the dogs to stand and turn around. These figures were last updated on February 18, 2016.

How To Fly with a Dog

Source: Dogjaunt

For most airlines the dogs allowed per flight in the cabin are restricted to seven. Throughout the flight, the dogs stay in their carriers.

How to Prepare your Dog for Air Travel

How to Fly With a DogAir travel can be stressful for dogs especially in carriers. Preparing and learning how to fly with a dog aids in the flight.

Adequate preparations before the flight smoothens the ride for your canine buddy.

You have to know your dog’s age and size as these two determine where the dogs sits. For U.S airlines, the dog has to be above the age of eight weeks in order to travel in the cabin.

The dog’s carrier has to be approved by the airline.

Depending on the airline you are travelling in, the weight is limited to between 15-20 pounds.

The weather conditions during travel matters since travelling in cold or hot seasons is risky for your dog. If in any case the plane is stranded the dog could die.

As you learn how to fly with a dog it is important to know the disadvantages and advantages of sedating your dog during a flight.

Sedating pets could cause nausea during the flight.

Increased pressure with a gain in altitude could trigger cardiovascular complications, even when carried in the cabin. If your dog seems anxious try calming her to reduce the risks of cardiovascular problems.

Also, conduct a health check-up to ensure she is healthy enough and proof of rabies vaccination is required.

Have collars and identification tags on your dogs. You could also attach destination tags on the collars. You could take photos with your dog for easier identification in case he is lost during transit.

Choosing a Suitable Airline

Dog at AirportThe safety of your dog should come first when choosing an airline. After proper preparations on how to fly with a dog choose the airlines you prefer to travel in.

Read all airline reports on pet incidences and analyze the statistics of loss, injury or death of pets.

Preferably choose the airlines with little or no incidences. If you are planning to transport your dog with no company at all seek advice from finding pet shippers.

Make sure your dog has sufficient liability cover either by the airline you choose or any insurer.

When booking the flight preferably pick the most direct or a nonstop flight if possible. Avoid peak hours and choose flights that are less likely to be delayed.

It is best to book a morning or evening flight when the weather conditions are neither too hot nor too cold.

Cargo Travel

Pet FlyingInitially, the cargo hold served the same purpose as the baggage hold. But with newer and advanced planes the baggage area and the pet hold have been separated.

However, both of them are still below the passenger compartment.

In the pet hold, there is proper ventilation, air pressure is regulated and the temperature is controlled.

Incidences of faulty air pressure regulation and temperature control are rare nowadays. Problems in the cargo hold arise mostly due to dogs getting loose and breaking from their carriers.

To avoid such cases it is advisable to familiarize the dog with its carrier as you learn how to fly with a dog.

During extreme weather conditions, most airlines do not allow pets to be transported in the cargo hold.

Due to the unpredictability of weather, it becomes difficult to estimate temperatures. Despite air travel having its difficulties, people still fly with their dogs.

Dogs Travelling in Carriers

As you already know how to fly with a dog, it is advisable to ease its boredom by finding it a companion.

For those ferrying several dogs, putting them together eases anxiety levels.

The dogs can comfort each other throughout the flight. Airlines that ferry more dogs than others are likely to have skilled assistants to look after the dogs during transit.

The dogs have to be in their carriers throughout the flight. Some prefer to tranquilize their dogs, though it could have effects during transit; you should consult with your vet on the issue.

Dogs Travelling in the Cabin

Dog in AirplaneMost pet owners prefer to travel with their dogs in the cabin. There are airline companies that allow dogs of any size to travel in the cabin with the owner.

The option is quite expensive as compared to the cargo hold.

For the dogs to be allowed in the cabin they have to be restrained sometimes even muzzled when taking off and landing.

During the flight, the dog can be cozy next to you. It is always necessary to carry muzzles in case the dog becomes annoyingly aggressive.

Travelling with your dog in the cabin is less stressful as you don’t have to worry that your dog will be left unattended.

Dog owners are looking forward to a time when they can pay for all three seats in one row and none will need to be next to their dog.

Boarding Off The Plane

As you board off the plane have a leash to restrain your dog from wandering. Use the dog tags to identify your carrier.

For those opting to reside in hotels, go for a walk with your dog to familiarize its surroundings. Let the dog enjoy the place and feel at home before going to your hotel.


Having dog tags, leashes, muzzles and spacious carriers will ensure that your dog will have a comfy flight.

Sedatives and tranquilizers should be checked by the veterinary before administering. Practice the anxiety control measures and you’ll be guaranteed of a smooth flight with your dog.

Did you find this article useful? Please share it with your friends so they know how to travel with a dog.

You can also read our other popular article on why dogs lick their paws.

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