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Flying With Fido: 8 Tips for Jet-Setting With Your Dog

Follow these 8 simple rules to make flying a breeze for you and your jet-setting dog on your next airplane trip.


A dog and its owner in front of an airplane

Tips for Flying with Your Dog

Jack and Fido, please go to gate K9! Flying can be stressful for even the most laissez-faire folks. Add a dog into the mix and an otherwise uneventful journey can end up being the reason you never go anywhere again. But not if you follow these nine simple rules!

1. Book your journey early

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight. Many airlines only allow a certain number of dogs on each flight, so confirm availability and reserve both seats on the same ticket.

2. Fly nonstop

Lower your stress (and your pup’s) by booking a nonstop flight. As a result you won’t have to worry about searching for a relief area at the connecting airport, and you won’t have to go through the boarding process again with your furry friend.

3. Research the airport

If you’re connecting, take note of where the “pet relief” area is at the layover airport, just in case you need to make a pit stop.

4. Visit the vet

Check with the air carrier for any health certificates or documents needed, then make sure your pup has a checkup prior to flying. If you’re traveling outside the United States, contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to, for more information.

5. Buy a carrier

There are hard and soft carriers available in a variety of sizes. Soft-sided carriers are great if you have carry-on luggage that fits easily under the seat. If your dog is traveling in the cargo hold, you will need a hard-sided carrier with holes for ventilation. The carrier must also provide enough room for the dog to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably, or it won’t be accepted by the airline. Check with the airline to ensure the carrier meets their requirements.

And remember to label and tag your carrier with your destination’s address, as well as your name and phone number. Also, it’s a good idea to carry a photo of your dog, so that you can find him more easily if he goes missing.

6. Have a practice run

Help your dog get comfy in his carrier before the flight by placing him in the carrier and taking him with you when you run errands, commute or go to the grocery store.

7. Keep treats handy

Nothing makes a journey fly by faster than the occasional treat! So keep your dog’s favorite treats in your purse or in your carry-on. However, hold off on feeding a meal 12 hours before the flight.

8. Get there early

Get to the airport about two hours before your flight and check in at the counter. This is where you need to present your dog’s health certificate (see Tip 4).

Ladies, gentlemen and furry friends, we’re ready to fly! So grab your passport, pack an extra treat, and get ready to take on the world together.

More Travel Tips

Looking for more travel tips? Get tips for taking your dog on vacation and other general travel with your dog tips on the World of Wag.