Are you getting ready to move or take a trip with your furry friend? Flying with a dog can be stressful, but sometimes it's the only option.
If you've never flown with a pet before, the process might seem confusing.
How do you get them on the plane? Do they need a ticket? Can you bring it with you into the plane or do they need to go into the cargo hold?
In reality, there are a lot of factors that go into traveling with a dog. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know before you get your dog onto the plane.
Should You Fly With Your Dog?
Before you travel, consider whether or not it's actually necessary to fly with your dog. Traveling is stressful enough for humans, but dogs don't understand what you're doing. They may get anxious or upset while they're in the air, and traveling with a dog can be dangerous for them.
If you're going on a brief trip, consider leaving your dog with a friend or dogsitter. Longer trips, 2 weeks or more, might be more appropriate.
If you're moving, consider whether or not driving is an option. While it takes longer, it's safer and less stressful for your dog.
Can Your Dog Stay With You?
Some people are more comfortable if their dog is able to stay with them in the cabin. Whether or not your dog will be allowed to sit with you depends on several factors.
First, if your dog is a service dog (not an emotional support dog), they should be allowed to stay with you regardless of their size. With that in mind, different airlines may have different policies. We'll go over that in a later section.
When it comes to non-service dogs, airlines vary. Most of the time, small dogs are the only ones that are allowed in the cabin. The airline wants the dog to be small enough that its carrier can fit under the seat like the "small item" that everyone gets to bring onto the plane.
Make sure you pick a carrier that's airline-approved.
If your dog can't fit into that space, and they aren't a service dog, you'll need to put them in cargo. This is where things get tricky. While most dogs are safe in cargo, it's still risky.
Is It Expensive?
While airlines vary, most of the time you'll pay somewhere around $125 dollars for a dog to sit in the cabin with you. While it's not the entire fee associated with a ticket, it's still an expense that you need to consider before making your decision.
For a dog to travel in the cargo hold, you're going to pay a bag fee or a shipping fee. The cost depends on the airline and the size of the dog.
Picking a Flight and Airline
Make sure that you choose wisely when you're buying your ticket. Don't automatically assume that every airline is able to accept your non-service dog.
Airlines that accept dogs often still have limitations for how many pets are able to board every flight. Call the airline ahead of time to confirm that there's space for your dog.
Other airlines may have restrictions based on the breed of the dog.
It's also a good idea to pick a flight that will be most comfortable for the animal. Try to pick a flight with few stops, especially if your dog is in cargo.
If you must stop, look into airports that have pet-friendly areas where you can take your dog to use the bathroom, eat, and stretch out.
What About Shipping a Pet?
If the idea of putting your dog into the cargo hold doesn't work for you, or if you're unable to do so, consider shipping your dog instead.
There are several popular pet shipping services that allow your dog to travel safely with caretakers. Your dog will be able to travel in a more comfortable environment. Some services will also take care of all necessary paperwork and help you with any required vaccinations or health checks.
When you're choosing your destination, make sure that you look into whether or not your dog will need certain vaccinations and health checks and whether or not they will need to stay in quarantine when you arrive.
When you're traveling internationally (or to Hawaii), your dog will need to stay isolated for a brief time. Factor this into your travel plans.
Some dogs aren't allowed to travel if they're of a certain age. Many international flights also don't allow dogs to travel in the cabin with you.
Make sure that you know all of the required paperwork that you'll need when you're traveling or you may face legal troubles.
A Basic List of Supplies for Flying With a Dog
So what do you need to travel with a dog? While you don't need much, there are a few things that you want to pick up before you go on your trip.
First, paperwork if you're traveling to certain destinations. Don't forget this. You can get most of your paperwork from your veterinarian.
After that, basic pet supplies include:
- An appropriate crate (for large dogs)
- An airline-approved carrier (for small dogs)
- A dish for food and water
- Treats and toys
- Waste bags and pads
- A leash and collar
- A pet bed
Before the Flight
You want to prepare your dog for a successful flight.
Make sure that your dog is familiar with the crate or carrier long before you plan to travel. This will help the dog feel more comfortable when it's time to get in.
Talk to your vet about food, water, and medications. Some vets recommend sedatives for dogs while others do not. Your vet may suggest that you don't feed your dog right before the flight to avoid airsickness or a mess, though long trips may require it.
Flying With a Dog: Are You Ready?
Flying with a dog is complicated, but with the right preparation and information, you can make your trip safe, comfortable, and worry-free.
Don't be afraid to talk to the vet and the airline when it comes to travel. It's always better to be safe rather than sorry, and you want to make sure that your dog has a comfortable trip.
Are you in need of pet supplies for your next flight? What about supplies for when you're getting settled at your destination? Not sure what's right for your dog?
We have what you need! Check out our reviews for everything from kennels to collars. Let your dog travel in style!