Tips for flying with a dog on board

I remember the first time I was going to go on a plane with my dog, Bella, I was so nervous because I wasn’t sure if I had all the right documentation, pet carrier, etc. Fast forward more than a handful of flights later, I would consider myself a pro traveler with a pet on board (if such thing existed).

Before I jump into all the handy tips and tricks to have a stress free experience while flying with your furry friend. I highly recommend to find out if your dog is even able to travel in the first place. Many airlines have strict policies and do not accept specific breeds. Other things to consider are the size, age, and behavior of your dog. After you’ve checked that flying is an option for your dog it’s time to book your flight and buy their ticket.

It’s very important to keep in mind when planning trips with your dog that unless they are an emotional support or service animal, you’re going to have to pay a fee to be able to fly with them. It’s crucial to buy their ticket as soon as you book your flight since only a specific amount of animals can be on the same flight.

An important pre-tip is to check with the airline what dimensions your pet carrier should be and buy one with side pockets! Let your pet get comfortable with their carrier ahead of time by taking them out on car rides insider their carrier or just leaving it out open in the house for them to explore.

Now that we’re covered the basics…. Let us move on to the fun part. Traveling with your dog can be such an amazing and peaceful experience. Don’t worry, I will convince you that’s possible with the tips below!

Tips before the flight:

  • Restricting water and food plus getting all energy out before arriving at the airport

It’s best to stop giving your dog water two hours before the flight and depending on what time your flight is, it’s ok to give your dog food but ensure you have enough time to take them out to do their business. Taking your dog out for a long walk the day before or better yet, the day of, will help tire your pet out and they might even get a nap in during the flight.

  • Dog documentations and copies, just in case.
I always travel with my dog’s pamphlet that contains all her vaccinations, a health certificate and copies of everything. Depending on which airline you travel with its important to know, beforehand, what is required to present at the moment of check-in.
Also, if traveling out of the country make sure you research exactly what is needed to present for your dog once you arrive at your destination. Every country has their own requirements. Will be doing a blog post on this in the future!

Tips at the airport/during flight:

  • Carry on

Your dog will be considered as one of your carry-ons and will, obviously, go in front of your seat. Therefore, it’s best to rethink what is truly important that you must have with you during the flight. As for me, I use a laptop tote that doesn’t take up too much space and fits all my necessary in-flight essentials.

  • Treats, toys, blanket and stretch

During the flight, it can get quite cold so make sure to bring a small blanket or scarf for your dog. To keep them entertained for a bit bring a few toys for them to chew on. It’s a good idea to give your dog ice cubes during a long flight to stay hydrated.

If you have one or more stops go to a quiet corner and take your dog out of the carrier for a quick stretch. You’re not supposed too but the worst thing that will happen is you’ll be asked to put them in the carrier again. During this time, give them some treats and play with them. Some airports have pet relief areas, research beforehand if the airport has one or ask around once you arrive.


Tips after the flight:

  • Enjoy your trip!

If time permits take your dog out for a quick walk before arriving at your destination. Let them stretch and get used to their new surroundings.

I hope this helps some of you out that will be traveling with your dog in the near future. Check out my other posts if you haven’t already!

Thanks for reading and until next time!