4 Must-Know Tips When
Flying With Your Dog

Flying with your dog is possible, and while many pet parents are nervous to fly with their four-legged friend, you can follow these tips to make flying with your dog easier.

  1. Dogs Can Fit Under the Seat: Your dog might be able to fit under the seat. Small dogs can be brought onto a plane, but they need to be able to fit under the seat and need to be in an airline approved pet carrier. In-cabin options are available, but airlines do have pet carrier restrictions.

    If you have a therapy dog, exceptions can be made. But in most cases, if your carrier is too large or your pet is over 15 pounds or so, they will not be allowed to accompany you in the cabin. For the dog, it's far more stressful to fly without their owners and in cargo with other dogs.

    Oftentimes, dogs are left out on the runway with their carriers in hot, inhumane conditions.

    While regulations have helped curb the problem, keep in mind that flying will always be a stressful situation for your pet.
  2. Stress and Medical Conditions: You'll need a health certificate for your pet before flying, and this is a chance to discuss your concerns with a veterinarian. Flying is stressful for people, and it's also equally as stressful for most pets.

    The loud sound of the plane going down the runway is far scarier for a dog than a human — in most cases.

    Dogs may even need to be tranquilized in some cases or given medication to calm their nerves. The difference in air pressure and the change in altitude can cause your dog to undergo severe stress and they may even have a difficult time breathing.

    A few key things to remember are: short-nosed breeds are at a high risk of dying in-flight, elderly dogs have harder times traveling on planes, and sick dogs may not be safe to fly on an airplane.

    Short-nosed breeds will have difficulty breathing and may die. These breeds include your pugs and bulldogs, among others. Cats may also have difficulty breathing in-flight, so discuss your dog's risks with your veterinarian prior to your flight to make sure that your dog will survive the ordeal.

    If your pet would not be accompanying you in the cabin, you can ask about your pet during the flight. You can get a direct line to the cargo operators to ensure that your pet has been boarded and is in good health. You can also ask for a visual confirmation in many cases.
  3. Contact the Airline: Every airline has its own rules and regulations for flying with pets. The rules and regulations vary so much that you'll want to contact your airline to ask: maximum pet carrier size, breed restrictions, if any, and cost to fly with a pet.

    You'll also want to contact any airlines that you may connect on during your travel. It's always a good idea to make sure that your pet is safe and healthy during all legs of the flight.
  4. Consider Boarding Your Pet: Pets make travel complicated. First, you'll need to worry about the airline and flight to your destination, and then you'll need to worry about other aspects, such as: hotels that allow pets, car rentals that allow pets in the vehicle, and immunizations.

    If your pet does not have the proper immunizations prior to entering a foreign country, they may be held in quarantine — not a fun situation for your pup. Oftentimes, if you are flying internationally, it is far easier and cost-effective to board your pet at a local facility that you know and trust will care for your pet.

Related resources
Flying with your pet or service animal
FAA pet travel advice

4 Must-Know Tips When Flying With Your Dog
http://airsafe.com/journal/v1num23.htm -- 24 July 2017