What Are the Requirements for Flying with a Dog?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock

While traveling with your pet can be challenging, it doesn’t have to be. Even though some  airlines can be a bit finicky about their rules and regulations, you can fly with your pet in tow safely and comfortably, as long as you know their requirements and follow them to the letter.

Having your choice of airlines to travel with your dog as your companion, broadens your options when it comes to travel destinations and can eliminate a lot of usual travel-related stress factors in the process. In fact, flying your pet together with you can be simple, straightforward, and hassle-free! As long as you stick to the rules, that is. So, without further ado, what are the requirements for flying with a dog? Are there any universal practices you should know or does it really depend from company to company? Here’s everything you should know before packing your bags.

What Are the Requirements for Flying with a Dog?

Of course, it goes without saying that you can’t just appear with your pet at the check-in gate and fly away! There are many important rules involved, mainly in order to keep your pet safe, to comply with specific airline regulations, the rules of other countries, and the comfort of other passengers as well. It is also important to remember that different airlines might have different rules. It is crucial that you contact your desired airline beforehand, checking about any special regulations that they require. Still, there are some universal criteria that any pet will have to meet in order to fly on a plane.

One of the foremost requirements that will allow your pet to fly on a plane is a health certificate. This is a special document that can be issued by your veterinarian after a thorough physical examination. It guarantees that your doggo is healthy, has no diseases, and has all the required vaccinations that are up to date. And, of course, this certificate needs to be recent. They are valid for only about 30 days, so make sure to do it in time. 

Some airlines also require that your pet be microchipped. This is advisable for all pet owners regardless of travel or not. The  microchip allows for quick and simple identification in case your pet gets lost and also serves as a sort of doggo credential. Just make sure that all the information stored on the chip is up-to-date!

Another important requirement that almost all airlines require is an airline-approved crate. This is  a carrying crate in which your pet is transported on the plane, and it needs to be approved by the company that you’re flying with. This means it has to meet their appropriate size and safety requirements, and that it is ventilated, secure, and large enough for your pet’s size. Of course, there are some airlines that prohibit pets from flying in the cabin and require a crate for cargo space, even if your dog is tiny enough to be regarded as a carry-on, so be sure to check what’s the case with your specific situation.

Of course, you should consider your pet’s size and breed as well. For example, a Great Dane, due to its massive size, simply isn’t all that easy to transport on a plane. It’s simple logic. And, on the other hand, some tiny dogs that have brachycephalic features (a short and stubby nose) might be prohibited from flying on a plane due to respiratory concerns. So, before booking a flight, check with the specific airlines about breed and size regulations. 

Some personal requirements can exist as well. This includes comfort items to place in your pet’s crate so they remain calm. These might be their favorite plush toys or a special blanket or pillow. Of course, if you wish for your pet to remain calm, you can offer some  natural calming chews to make the flight more peaceful and enjoyable for them. 

Ultimately, much of the requirements for flying with a dog depend on each specific airline. Above are just some of the basic regulations that almost all of them require, and which you should always keep in mind regardless of where and how you’re traveling. Keep in mind that your pet’s safety is paramount, whether you’re journeying by air, sea, or land, so be sure to do everything you can to ensure it.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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