The Ultimate Guide to Flying with Your Dog

A dog standing near an airplane

Table of Contents

Flying with your dog can be a stressful experience for both you and your furry friend. However, with proper preparation and a little bit of know-how, you can make air travel with your dog as smooth and stress-free as possible. In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to fly with your dog, from choosing the right airline to preparing your dog for the flight.

Choosing the Right Airline

Not all airlines are created equal when it comes to flying with pets. Some airlines have strict rules and regulations, while others are more relaxed. Before booking your flight, research the airline’s pet policy to ensure that they allow dogs on board and that the requirements are feasible for you and your dog.

Here are some key things to consider when choosing an airline:

  • Does the airline allow pets in the cabin or only in the cargo hold?
  • What are the size and weight restrictions for dogs in the cabin or cargo hold?
  • What are the fees for flying with a pet?
  • What paperwork or health certificates are required for your dog to fly?

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, make sure to call the airline directly to confirm their pet policy and to book your dog’s ticket. Some airlines have limited space for pets, so it’s important to book early to ensure that your dog can fly with you.

Preparing Your Dog for the Flight

Before flying with your dog, it’s important to make sure they are comfortable with the travel carrier or crate that they will be traveling in. It’s also a good idea to take your dog on short car rides in their carrier to get them used to the sensation of being in a confined space.

Here are some tips for preparing your dog for the flight:

  • Choose an airline-approved travel carrier or crate that is the appropriate size for your dog. Make sure it is well-ventilated and has a secure locking mechanism.
  • Place your dog’s favorite blanket or toy in the carrier to provide comfort and familiarity.
  • Practice putting your dog in the carrier and securing it properly before the flight.
  • If your dog is prone to anxiety or motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about medications or supplements that can help calm them during the flight.

Packing for Your Dog

When flying with your dog, it’s important to pack everything they will need for the journey. Here are some essential items to bring:

  • Food and water dishes
  • Enough food and treats for the duration of the trip
  • A leash and collar or harness
  • Waste bags
  • Any necessary medications or supplements
  • A copy of your dog’s health certificate or vaccination records
  • A blanket or towel for comfort
  • An absorbent pad or liner for accidents

Make sure to label your dog’s carrier with their name, your contact information, and the destination address.

Pet Passport

A pet passport is a document that allows a pet to travel across international borders. It contains information about the pet, such as its health status, vaccination history, and identification details, such as microchip number, and it may also include relevant import and export permits.

The purpose of a pet passport is to provide a standardized and internationally recognized proof of a pet’s identity and vaccination status, so that it can enter another country without the risk of spreading diseases or other health risks. Pet passports are commonly used for traveling with dogs, cats, and other pets, and the specific requirements for obtaining a pet passport may vary depending on the destination country and the type of pet.

It is important to note that pet passports are not a substitute for complying with other import/export regulations and requirements, such as customs and quarantine procedures, which may also apply to pets traveling across international borders.

Pet passports are issued by authorized veterinarians or government agencies in the country where the pet is based. The specific process for obtaining a pet passport may vary depending on the country and the type of pet, but typically involves the following steps:

  1. Ensure that your pet is up-to-date with all required vaccinations, as well as any additional health checks or treatments that may be necessary.
  2. Make an appointment with a licensed veterinarian who is authorized to issue pet passports in your country. The vet will examine your pet and verify its identity and health status.
  3. The vet will then complete the necessary paperwork and issue the pet passport, which will include information about your pet’s identity, vaccination history, and other relevant details.
  4. If you are traveling to another country with your pet, you may need to obtain additional permits and certificates, such as an import permit from the destination country’s government agency.

It is important to research and comply with all relevant regulations and requirements before traveling with your pet, as failure to do so can result in delays, fines, or even the refusal of entry for your pet.

Arriving at the Airport

When you arrive at the airport, give yourself plenty of time to check in and go through security. Check in with the airline and let them know that you will be traveling with a dog. They may require additional paperwork or fees at this time.

Once you have checked in, you will need to take your dog to the designated pet relief area before going through security. This will give your dog a chance to relieve themselves before the flight.

When going through security, you will need to remove your dog from their carrier and carry them through the metal detector. The carrier will go through the X-ray machine. Once through security, you can return your dog to their carrier and proceed to your gate.

Boarding the Flight

When boarding the flight, let the flight attendants know that you are traveling with a dog. They may allow you to board early to get settled and to give your dog time to adjust to the environment. Once on the plane, place the carrier or crate under the seat in front of you and make sure that it is securely fastened.

During the flight, keep your dog as comfortable and calm as possible. Offer them water and treats as needed, and try to keep them entertained with toys or puzzles. Some dogs may benefit from having a calming supplement or medication, but be sure to consult with your veterinarian before giving any medications.

If your dog becomes restless or anxious during the flight, try to soothe them with a gentle touch or by talking to them in a soothing voice. It’s important to remain calm and patient, as your dog will pick up on your emotions and reactions.

Arriving at Your Destination

When you arrive at your destination, retrieve your dog from their carrier and take them to a designated pet relief area before leaving the airport. Make sure to clean up after your dog and dispose of waste properly.

Once outside of the airport, make sure that your dog is securely leashed and that their identification tags are up to date. If you will be staying in a hotel or rental property, confirm that they allow pets and that there are no additional fees or restrictions.


Flying with your dog can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend, but it does require some extra preparation and planning. By choosing the right airline, preparing your dog for the flight, packing appropriately, and remaining calm and patient throughout the journey, you can ensure a safe and stress-free flight with your beloved pet.

Remember to always prioritize your dog’s comfort and safety, and to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s ability to fly. With these tips and a little bit of practice, you and your dog can enjoy many adventures together in the sky.

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Don Brown

I like dogs, and I care very much about the safety of mine. I created this site to help you take care of yours.

About Me

I like dogs, and I care very much about the safety of mine. I created this site so you can take care of yours.

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