Pets on Planes – How to Fly With Your Dog

There are many reasons you may want to fly with your dog. Traveling with pets is becoming more popular. But most of us don’t do it every day, as it’s much more complicated than traveling alone. Here’s what you need to consider before booking a flight with your pup.

Many airlines have stopped carrying live animals due to COVID 19. Make sure you check with your airline or fright forwarder if pets are allowed on your flight.

Bringing Your Dog on a Plane

Traveling with your favorite canine is a fun and exciting experience. Exploring the world is much better with company, so why not bring your furry friend along for the trip? If you’ve found the perfect dog-friendly accommodation, whether it’s a campsite, hotel, or Airbnb, you have already taken the first step to having an amazing journey with your pup!

The next step is to get your dog to your destination. But you have never even thought about bringing him or her on a plane before. What do you need to do before heading to the airport? How can you make the journey as comfortable and safe as possible for your pup? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find the answers to all your doggie flying questions.

Research Everything!

The first thing you should do is hop on the internet and start researching! Finding the perfect airline to fly your dog abroad can be daunting. But most companies have clear guidelines on flying with your pet. Research several different airlines and find one that will suit your needs.

Reviews give you the first idea

Check out independent reviews from passengers that have brought their dogs on board with your chosen airline before. Remember, your pup’s safety and wellbeing are the top priority when it comes to traveling. If any of the reviews of a particular airline worry you, it might be best to look elsewhere for a flight.

When researching airlines, consider how you want your pup to travel. Some airlines insist that all dogs are put in the cargo hold. This could be stressful for your pup, so you may need to take some precautions to keep them calm. Other airlines will allow you to keep smaller dogs in a carrier below the seat in front of you.

Getting Your Dog’s Papers in Order

Research the legal requirements that come with bringing a dog to your chosen destination. In some countries, your pup will need an official traveling passport. This includes every country in the EU. It’s also important to be aware of any quarantine regulations set out by the country you’re traveling to.

Talk to Your Vet

The next step is a trip to the vet. Many countries require that traveling canines are fully vaccinated, so make sure you have all their medical records up-to-date. Your vet can also issue any official traveling documents that you need.

It’s essential to have a chat with your vet about the health risks of bringing your dog on a plane. Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds like boxers, pugs, and bulldogs often have breathing issues that could prevent them from traveling safely by plane. Dogs with other health issues like high blood pressure and obesity could also be at an increased risk of becoming ill on a plane.

So, you have your flight booked and your pup has been given the all-clear to travel. That’s brilliant! Now let’s have a look at some extra tips to keep your pup happy on the flight.

Let’s Head to the Pet Store!

There are a couple of things you should consider buying from the pet store before heading to the airport with your dog. The first is a set of good-quality pee pads. These are used while house training a new puppy to protect the floor against accidents. Pee pads are super absorbent and will help keep your dog’s crate dry if they get the urge to ‘go’ during the flight.

Get a suitable crate

Another important thing to consider is the security and comfort of your dog carrier/crate. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have laid out a detailed set of minimum requirements for cargo crates. Most airlines follow these guidelines for their own dog crate rules.

Make sure you check with your pet travel agency or air carrier if you need to bring your own crate. Some companies even provide crates or make it a requirement for you to buy one from them.

Most carriers use the international requirements for crates below.

crate size dog flight
  • A: Lenght from nose to tail base
  • B: Distance from the ground do elbow joint
  • C: Shoulder width (not indicated)
  • D: Height from the ground to top of the head, or ears, when ears are erected.
  • Crate length must be at least: A + 1/2 B, some airlines require A + B.
  • Crate width must be at least: C x 2, some airlines require (C+1) x 2.
  • Crate height must be at least: D, or D+3″ in some airlines.

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Click here to go to the IATA container requirements for live animal transport.

Food and Water for Your Pet

For longer flights, it is recommended to make sure your pup has water in their crate. But how do you give your dog water without it spilling during the flight? One option is a water bowl that is securely attached to the door. You can buy a bowl attachment from your local pet store. Make sure the bowl is quite deep and not filled too high.

Another option for keeping your dog hydrated is a water bottle. These are like the bottles given to rodents in their cages. The water is only released when the dog licks the metal dispenser. This may take some getting used to for your pup, so make sure to introduce it well before heading to the airport.

How to Keep Your Dog Calm During the Flight

If your dog gets stressed easily, you might want to consider buying a calming remedy. If your dog is traveling with you as hand luggage, you can bring along some herbal treats to feed during the flight. Alternatively, there are collars available that slowly release calming pheromones. Either of these options will help to keep your pup’s anxiety at bay during the flight.

It is not recommended to use sedatives and tranquillizers as they may affect your dogs respiratory and cardiovascular system when exposed to increased altitude.

Final Things to do Before Heading to the Airport

It is generally recommended to feed your dog before heading to the airport, especially if the flight is longer than an hour or two. But remember not to overfeed your pup. Give them a normal-sized portion just before you leave the house. If your pooch is prone to an upset tummy, consider giving them a smaller portion than usual as traveling could make them feel ill.

The final tip is to make sure your carrier or crate is fully secure. Most airlines have detailed requirements on this to make sure your dog doesn’t escape during the flight. For extra security and peace of mind, you can attach 2-3 cable ties to the door of your pup’s crate. This will ensure that the door stays firmly closed even if the locking mechanism breaks or comes loose.

That sure was a lot of information! But not worry, flying with your dog doesn’t have to be complicated. Putting together a simple to-do list is quick and easy. Beyond that, all you need is to sit down for an evening to research, take a trip to the vet, and perhaps the pet store.

Once you have everything in place, you can relax and look forward to the holiday of a lifetime with your best furry friend!


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