Making Air Travel with Dogs a Breeze: Tips from a Pro

Traveling with our dogs often involves a unique set of challenges, yet with the right preparation it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. If you’re planning to take to the skies with your canine companion, a little insight can go a long way. In this guide, we offer professional tips to ensure the journey is as comfortable as possible for both you and your dog. We understand that your pet is not just an animal – it’s a family. So, let’s explore how to make air travel a breeze for you and your four-legged friend.

Traveling with our dogs

Check Airline Policies

Different airlines have different policies regarding pet travel. It’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand these before booking your flight. Some airlines offer cabin travel for small dogs, while others may only allow pets in the cargo hold. Generally speaking, those that do offer international pet transport have certain requirements and it’s essential to ensure your dog meets all the criteria before you book a flight. This includes up-to-date vaccinations, certificates of health, and proper identification tags on their collar or harness. Moreover, if you’re traveling with a service animal, make sure to check the airline’s regulations in advance. There is a good chance that each airline will have some specific requirements for service animals, or animals in general, and you should be aware of them before you book.

Visit the Vet

Before embarking on your journey, make sure your dog is fit to fly. A pre-flight check-up with the vet is essential. Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and get any necessary health certifications. If your pup is a nervous flier, speak to the vet about possible medication that can help them stay calm. You may also want to consider picking up pet insurance prior to your flight – just in case anything goes wrong during the journey. More importantly, review your pet’s dietary needs and make sure you have enough food for the trip. Vet visits should not be overlooked – they can mean the difference between a happy and healthy pup, or one that is uncomfortable and anxious. In addition, it is always a good idea to bring your pet’s medical records with you when traveling and the vet may be able to provide copies for you.

Use an Airline-Approved Crate

Airlines have specific standards for crates to ensure they provide secure containment and sufficient ventilation. Most airlines require crates to be sturdy, well-ventilated, and big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. An airline-approved crate not only makes the journey safer for your dog, but it also minimizes potential distractions for the crew and other passengers, creating a more peaceful flight experience for everyone. Crates also provide a familiar environment for your dog, reducing their stress and anxiety. By choosing an airline-approved crate, you show a proactive commitment to your dog’s well-being and comply with the safety regulations of air travel. Always ensure to line the crate with absorbent material and include a familiar-smelling item, like a favorite toy or a piece of your clothing, to help soothe your dog during the journey.

Limit Food Intake

Feed your dog lightly 4-6 hours before departure to reduce the chances of them getting sick during the flight. However, water should still be made accessible. On the day of the trip, you may want to provide a light snack for your pup before they board. This will help them stay calm and relaxed during the flight. Be sure to pack enough food and snacks for your pet’s entire journey – this includes layovers and connecting flights. Keep in mind that when flying abroad, some countries have restrictions on food items that can be brought in. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations ahead of time and plan accordingly. Conversely, if you’re flying with a service animal, the airline should provide food and water for your pet.

Exercise Before the Flight

Tire your dog out with plenty of exercises before heading to the airport. A tired dog is likely to sleep and be calm during the flight. Take them for a long walk or a game of fetch in the park and make sure they get their usual daily exercise. A tired pup is also less likely to display disruptive behavior during the flight. If your dog finds it difficult to sit still, try to give them some mental stimulation – this could be through puzzles or interactive toys. Over-exerting your pup may not be a good idea, however; ensure they have enough rest before the flight. Even if your pup is up for the challenge, it’s always important to give them enough breaks and keep an eye on their behavior.

Traveling with our dogs

Comforting Items

Including a favorite blanket or toy in your dog’s crate can help soothe them during the journey. The familiar smell of the object serves as a reassuring reminder that they are not alone. Additionally, providing some calming treats like nut butter or cheese can help to reduce their anxiety levels and make them feel more comfortable during the flight. You may also consider using an Adaptil spray or diffuser while your pup is in its crate; this product releases natural dog-appeasing pheromones, helping to reduce your pup’s stress levels. Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you provide a comfortable and familiar environment for them – this will give them the best chance of having a positive experience during their flight.

Stay Calm and Positive

Dogs pick up on our emotions. Maintaining a calm and positive demeanor can help your dog feel secure and less stressed. Showing your pup that everything is alright and that they are safe, can make them feel much less anxious. Your pup might also be comforted by hearing some reassuring words from you during the flight, so don’t forget to speak softly to them. If you’re traveling with a service dog, it’s important to remind other passengers not to interact with or distract your pet during the flight. Furthermore, if your pup does become anxious or overwhelmed during the journey, it’s best not to reward any disruptive behavior with attention. Instead, simply provide reassurance and stay positive.

Traveling can be an exciting adventure, and sometimes, you want your furry best friend to join you on the journey. For many pet owners, their dogs are not just pets but part of the family. Air travel, however, can pose some unique challenges for both dogs and their owners. In this guide, we will delve into professional tips to ensure that traveling with your dog by air is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Whether you are moving across the country or simply planning a vacation, following these insights can make the experience pleasant for you and your four-legged companion. Let’s explore how you can make air travel with your dog a breeze.


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