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Flying With Your Pooch

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Before you show up at the airport with your dog in tow it would be wise to do a bit of research so traveling on an airplane with your dog goes as smoothly as the flight. All airlines have a common set of rules concerning pets flying, but there the similarity ends, so before booking a flight always call the airline you are going to fly with to get any addition rules and restrictions they have concerning traveling on an airplane with your dog.

One of the rules you will find applying to all commercial airlines is no pets allowed without the owner also on the same flight. This is simple common sense for an airline to do this, so expect this universal rule to be applied. Like your luggage a dog is considered cargo, and while you can fly without luggage, normally you cannot send it on a flight by itself. Same rule with your pooch.

For those people where traveling on an airplane with your dog is not a possibility due to medical issues, sending a dog to a new buyer, sending the dog to a professional trainer, or simply the fear of flying, you can use companies who specialize in moving animals by plane to take care of this issue.

Airlines have the “no owner — no dog” rule for safety reasons because there are people who would use a dog as a carrier of explosives. Sad but true, and for the safety of all on the flight this rule is stringently enforced.

Next is the restriction for allowing a dog to fly due to the weather. During very hot times of year or traveling from a cold location to a warm weather spot, dogs and any pets for that matter are not going to be allowed in the cargo holds because of the extremely hot conditions these areas of the plane undergoes. If the outside temperature is above eighty five degrees Fahrenheit, this rule will be strictly enforced.

Airlines will want proof from your vet confirming the dog has all the required shots, does not have rabies, and has had a complete physical examination. This must be within sixty days of the day of your flight for it to be accepted.

Some commercial airlines will allow smaller dogs to fly in the cabin with you if the per is in the correct cage so look into this option as well.

When traveling on an airplane with your dog do your homework beforehand so all goes smoothly and you guys reach your destination in good condition.

Do you fly with your dog? Please share your tips and advice.

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  1. Avatar Of El Dogerino El Dogerino says:

    Hi, thanks for the post, we found it very accurate and informational. We just recently traveled from Mexico to San Antonio with our 3 large dogs. It all went pretty smoothly. We wouldn’t recommend the use of sedatives as they can cause respiratory problems at increased altitude pressures, they can also impair the dog’s ability to keep its balance, risking injury when being moved. Check out this other link with some relevant information bringfido.com/travel/top_10_tips/

    and check our blog eldogerino.com for some tips on traveling internationally on our post named: WOOFisode 2: Austin, TX

  2. Avatar Of Cjgibbs



    I flew my dog (and two cats) from California to Minnesota, where we now live. The cats flew in the cabin with my daughter and me and there were no problems with them. The dog flew in the cargo hold.

    Our form of transportation depended on (1) the safety and security of my dog, (2) the reputation of the airline, (3) the feeling I got from the employees when I booked the flight, and (4) their terms on transporting a pet. In California, the vet exam had to be done 10 days or less before flying. That may differ with states or airlines.

    I found that virtually all airlines were alike regarding the explanation of their safety and security procedures. Airlines will not fly pugs and other short snouted pets that tend to have compact breathing passageways. Regarding the safety and security of my pet, I called one of my lifelong friends who had flown for years for a major airline and asked what she thought about transporting a pet by airline and if she knew anything about the treatment, safety and security of the animals. She didn’t have a lot of knowledge about flying pets but she personally had heard no negative feedback and felt it was safe. The personnel who booked my flight were quite savvy on instructions on flying a pet and actually encouraging and positive about their procedures and the policies of flying pets.

    Our flight was uneventful and I was happy to “collect” my dog at the baggage claim area. She was wagging her tail happily and was happy to see me and seemed unaffected by the flight. However, her kennel was sitting OUTSIDE of the baggage claim office, basically without supervision. Although the agent said she was watching, she was also involved with other passengers claiming lost baggage and having other problems. I do not feel that was adequate. Anyone who thought they liked my dog could easily have walked off with her.

    The only other problem was that the booking agent didn’t tell me we had to be at the airport 2 hours prior to boarding. They have you accompany your pet to the loading area, which I liked. However, we had to reschedule our flight to the next morning because we weren’t there early enough to check her in.

    If I were to fly my dog again, I would ask that they insure me that my dog will be kept behind the desk or in the hallway behind the baggage claim office until I get there to get her. Regarding the arrival time for the departure, I now know that the airlines have a specific deadline for checking in a pet and will know in the future, should I have to fly her, what to ask. I don’t know about other airline’s policies, but they may differ, so it’s good to have a solid understanding of what is expected time wise.

    BTW, the cats made it with no problems. In fact, I don’t remember when I’ve heard them so quite for 3+ hours straight 😉

  3. Avatar Of Rottie Pits

    Rottie Pits


    If you must check your dog in the cargo hold, teach it to drink from a bottle that hangs on the side of the cage. Before your trip, freeze water in the bottle. This way you dog will have water for the trip. Talk to your vet about a pill to calm the dog. So many times I see people checking their animals and the poor things are crying and upset. They bark until they can’t bark any more. I think I would go so far as to install a battery operated light in the top of the kennel so the animal isn’t afraid of what it can’t see. And last but not least, if you can take the animal on the plane with you, than PLEASE do.

  4. Avatar Of Alan



    I have two dogs and was thinking of taking a trip with them. They are both too big to be in the cabin with me so I started doing research on how they are cared for and treated while in the cargo area. This led to reading customer complaints about the safety of their animals while in flight. That led to reading about mortality rates for pets who fly. Look this stuff up – it’s SCARY. I understand that the pets are ‘secured’ in their cages in the cargo area of a plane but a lot of things can happen while in there and a crew member isn’t employed to be there ‘just in case’. I decided I will never fly with my dogs!!

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