Flying with your dog is not always the easiest vacation to pull off. It takes some planning and preparation on your part, but once you get to your destination it is all worth it to have your best friend to share tons of experiences with!
Many airlines are pet friendly, especially for small dogs and cats that can ride in cabin, right by your side! As you plan your travels, keep these 5 tips about in-cabin pet flying in mind to make your trip as smooth as possible:
1. Prepare your documents. Every airline, country and even state has its own restrictions when it comes to transporting pets. Research these rules and speak with your airline’s booking agent. Knowing what to expect can make or break your vacation!
You will likely need:
- Vaccination records (especially rabies!)
- A vet health certificate stating that your pet is healthy enough to travel
- For overseas travel, a blood test and ID microchip is required
2. Call the airline directly to book your flight, and book early! Every airline limits the number of pets on board, so the sooner you book the better!
It is easiest to simply call the airline to book any flight with pets so that the booking agent can ensure everything is in order and discuss rules and regulations you will need to know. Aim for a flight that has the least amount of stops possible to reduce stress.
Expect to pay a fee for your pet.
3. Know the guidelines and carrier dimensions. All airlines have differing guidelines and maximum carrier sizes. Even within an airline, each aircraft may be different. For any flight, the pet must remain in the carrier under the seat in front of you for the entire flight. Have the dimensions of your carrier ready when you are speaking to your booking agent. (Pssst, our Hollywood bag is a TSA approved carrier and perfect for flying!)
4. Watch for age and/or breed restrictions. Most airlines have a minimum age that a pet must be to travel, generally around 8-10 weeks. Certain breeds can also be restricted, such as brachycephalic breeds. This is usually only applied to the cargo hold but be sure to be ask your airline. The last thing you want is to not be able to board!
5. Prepare your pet. This is important! Flying will be stressful for your pet, no matter what airline or flight you are on. There are many things you can do before your flight to ease this anxiety.
- Acclimate the pet to the carrier in the week leading up to the flight. They will be in them for quite a while. The more comfortable they are in their carrier, the better.
- Prep a pet bag. Pack medications, food, water, treats, copies of your dog’s medical records and even your vet’s contact info, just in case. It is best if pets are wearing ID tags and are microchipped in case they get lost.
- Exercise your dog shortly before your flight. Most vets recommend against any sort of sedation during travel, and some airlines will deny boarding if your dog is sedated. Instead, give your pet a good play session or walk before your flight.
- Prepare for accidents. Line your carrier with pee pads and have poo bags on hand. Hopefully they won’t be needed, but better safe than sorry!
- Don’t feed your dog right before a flight. To prevent them from getting sick, hold out on food for at least four hours before your flight.
Arrive to the airport early. Some airlines will even require you to arrive a certain amount of time before your flight so there is plenty of time to check you and your pet in.
While this may seem like a lot of information to remember, but keep in mind that these rules exist to protect our pets! Many experts and veterinarians have contributed to these regulations. And it’s all worth it to spend your time away with your best friend!