You might not feel comfortable leaving your companion at home or with a stranger, so, what now? One of your few options at this point is to take your dog on the plane with you. However, flying with a dog isn’t the same as with one of your buddies.

Read along as we explore an enormous list of tips for flying with your dog. These travel points will cover pre- and in-flight preparation and ways to keep your dog comfortable during their long journey in the sky.

Related: Safety Facts You Need to Know About Pet Transportation

1. Book in advance

Since airlines might have to make extra preparations, you should prepare early. Search for your flight at least a month ahead of time and book your ticket. Early preparation lets you know whether airlines will have available space for your dog. Otherwise, if you procrastinate for too long, you might not land a spot on the flight.

If you don’t have months to prepare, immediately search for your flight. Be sure to call the airlines’ customer service once you find a ticket to ensure they have dog seats available.

If travel is outside of the country please be aware that flight preparation can take much longer than anticipated, at times even more than four months. 

2. Prepare for additional fees

When preparing your trip’s budget, here’s an important factor to consider when flying with your dog.

The pet fees vary by airlines; so, shop around. Some airlines will also likely charge your dog and its container as excess luggage. From here, they’ll either use the Piece System (flat rate) or a Weight System—charged 1.5 times the weight.

Otherwise, you might want to consider searching for a dog sitter if you’re vacationing for long.

3. Obtain a health certificate from your vet

A certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI)—or pet health certificate—shows your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date. These papers also prove professionals tested your dog for various ailments. While some countries and airlines need you to bring these documents, not all do. Either way, ensure you take a trip to the clinic and get your pup checked out.

Keep in mind, these certificates don’t cost much, and it’s a painless process to get them.

Don’t want to handle the paperwork involved? Out pet relocation services will eliminate the stress of flying your dog overseas!

4. Prepare ID tags

At any time during transit, your pup could go missing. To prevent this horrendous scenario, take a picture of your dog. Also, consider other means of permanent identification like tattoos or microchipping. Some airlines require that your pet be microchipped before travel due to a scenario like this one. 

Above all, ensure you invest in an ID tag. When buying an ID tag for your dog, note your name and phone number. Moreover, include the information of a contact who lives around your destination.

When taking these precautions, also write or engrave the information on your dog carrier.

5. Find an appropriate and comfortable kennel

Since you’ll be flying with your dog, you’ll need to consider how they feel since they can’t freely roam. At the same time, you’ll have to make sure your carrier fits within the airline’s guidelines. The standard requirements among airlines are around 10 inches tall and between 16 and 19 inches long. Conversely, the more space for your pup, the better; so, stretch these requirements.  If a crate is too large the pet may be at risk of bouncing around or having too much room during travel which is why it is important crate size is exactly what your pet needs 

The dog carrier will contribute to your carry-on luggage limit if you bring them into the cabin. Consider shopping for a kennel that has pockets or storage options. Use these additions to store books, snacks, and other in-flight essentials.

Related: What Is the Measurement Guideline for a Pet Carrier?

6. Prepare a packing list

When preparing your pet for their trip, add the following to your packing list to ensure a smooth trip:

  • Grooming supplies: nail clippers, slicker brush, shampoo, etc.
  • Pet medication to last the entire trip
  • Urine stain and odor remover
  • Your dog’s medical records and health certificates
  • A couple of travel bowls for their food and water
  • Unless your destination sells your dog’s brand of food, bring enough to last them the whole trip
  • Any toys your companion loves
  • A spare dog collar
  • Enough bottled water to keep your dog hydrated until you get to your destination

7. Locate the airport’s pet relief areas

airport departure screen monitors

To reduce the likelihood of your dog going on the flight, most airports offer pet relief areas. These spots are where your companions can release themselves. Take advantage of these spots before your departure and during a layover.

Here’s a comprehensive map of pet relief areas, where to find them, and the surfaces (e.g., grass or gravel). If you’re having trouble finding these pet relief areas, ask any of the airport staff.

While most airports offer outdoor areas, some only have indoor spots. If your dog has issues going inside, don’t forget to pack puppy pads.

8. Bring a chew toy for plane pressure

You’ve felt pressure build up in the middle of your ears while taking off and descending, right? When flying with dogs, they feel this pressure, also. Humans can use mediums like gum to treat this, but what can dogs do?

Pack one of her favorite chew toys they can gnaw on to relieve the pressure and help unclog their ears. Avoid packing chew toys that are too hard as turbulence can cause them to bounce around during travel and possibly hurt your pet)

9. Don’t give them a sedative

While tranquilizers will make your journey a lot easier, the same doesn’t go for your dog. Sedatives raise the risks of your dog suffering from various ailments. For example, tranquilizing your dog could lead to heart issues.

Prevent those disorders. At the same time, ensure your dog won’t try yelling at your neighbors while you’re in the sky. Consider crate training or one of many natural alternatives to sedating your dog.

Related: Should You Sedate Your Dog during Air Travel

10. Take them on a long walk the morning of

A small dog running on sand.

Before leaving for the airport, take your dog outside for a long walk around the neighborhood. That way, you and them are worn out and ready to relax during the journey ahead. Exercising them before your flight will also reinforce your crate training to keep them calm while in flight.

Final Word 

While there are more pet precautions and preparations you should make before your flight, this list covered the basics. After exploring this list, you might better understand the expenses that come from flying with your dog. Moreover, you’ll know how to accommodate most of your dog’s needs.

If you’re against flying with your dog, consider using our top-notch pet taxi service.