10 Tips for Flying with Your Dog - Pet Hub USA

10 Tips for Flying with Your Dog

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Flying can be a hectic experience for humans. But for a dog, the chaotic atmosphere can be overwhelming and downright frightening. Following these 10 tips can make flying a more tolerable and safer trip for your beloved pet.

10. Discuss Your Trip With Your Vet

Husky at the vet

Don’t assume your dog can handle flying. Especially if your dog has any kind of health problems. The stress can worsen respiratory problems and traveling can interrupt medication schedules. Discuss your travel plans with your vet before you make them. You’ll still need to bring your dog in for an examination, but if your vet says okay, move forward.

9. Cabin or Cargo Hold: How Will Your Dog Travel?

Dachshund on plane

Small dogs, under 20 pounds, may be able to travel with you in a carrier kept under your seat. As long as your pooch isn’t too noisy. Larger dogs must travel in a carrier inside the cargo hold. Even then, it depends on ground temperatures (not too cold or hot) at your departure and destination locations.

8. Book Your Flight ASAP

Hands holding plane tickets and a toy plane

Most airlines only allow a dog or two on each flight. Therefore, it’s crucial to book your flight early. But first, call the airline directly to make sure there’s a vacancy available for your dog. If the agent says yes, then reserve both your seats right then.

7. Book a Direct Flight

Flight Attendant Closing Overhead Compartment

Fewer stops and switching will reduce stress for your dog. This is especially true if you have a dog traveling in the cargo hold, being swapped around with the luggage. Consider temperatures as well. During summer, book early morning flights, and midday flights in the winter.

6. Purchase a Dog Carrier

Beagle in Crate

Your dog is going to need a carrier to travel in. Airlines require that your dog can stand and turn around inside the carrier. Ventilation holes are required for cargo hold travel. Metal nuts and bolts are required for holding plastic containers together, not plastic pieces. You can swap these out yourself or for flight-approved carriers.

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5. Make Some Practice Runs

Two Mastiffs in a crate in a car

If your dog has never traveled in a carrier before, your flight shouldn’t be the first time. Load your dog into the carrier and make some trips around town. This will familiarize your dog and help them feel safe and comfortable in the carrier. Do this several times in the weeks before your trip.

4. Get Vet Clearance in Writing

Dog at the vet

Many airlines require health certificates from a vet. These vary between airlines, so check the rules. The certificate may need to be dated within 10 days of your departure, so schedule your vet appointment accordingly. Your dog will also need to be up on all its shots.

3. ID Your Dog and Carrier

Spaniel wearing ID

Your dog will need identification, whether a collar tag, a microchip, or both. Airlines will also require that your dog’s carrier have identification attached to it. Usually, your dog’s name, and your address and phone number. Check with the airlines, as some have specific guidelines for how to ID and label your dog’s carrier.

Read More: 7 Simple Tricks Anyone Can Teach Their Dog

2. Food, Water, Activity, and Expel

Woman feeding big white dog

On the day of your flight, feed your dog four hours before takeoff if possible. Give your dog some exercise to foster relieving itself before you load it into the carrier. Give your dog water right up until departure. For dogs flying cargo, airlines require the carrier to have food and water inside. Line the carrier with a “puppy pad.”

Read More: 10 Common Foods That Can Harm Your Dog

1. Arrive Early and Check-In

Puppy at Airport

Most airlines recommend arriving two hours before your flight when traveling with your dog. Passengers with pets are required to check in at the counter and leave sufficient time for long security lines. Keep a leash and harness handy in case of a last-minute potty run before checking in.

Read More: Strange Dog Behaviors and Warning Signs to Watch For

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