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  • Writer's pictureVickie Foster

Tips for Flying with Your Dog

Summer vacations can mean sharing your airline cabin seat with your dog. Take a peek at our tips to make the trip easier for both of you.

Will you and your dog be flying the friendly skies this summer? A trip with your furry friend can be stressful, but preparing beforehand can ease flying nerves for both of you. Read our tips for making your flight go smoothly.

1. Crate train your dog before the trip

A dog that is not used to a crate may struggle in a crate during flight. Crate training is a must for pooches bound for a flight. Your aim is to help your dog think of the crate as a safe, cozy spot to relax. Start crate training as soon as possible. Refer to this article on the AKC’s website to learn how to crate train your dog.

Airlines have their own policies for what kind of crate they will accept. A good guide to choosing a crate can be found at this link.

2. Check airline policies

Check the pet policies of the airline you are using. Check for breed, size and weight restrictions. Do it every time you fly since policies can change. You don’t want your canine companion to be denied entry to the cabin because you missed a detail.

You will want to check what paperwork you will need to check in. Vaccination and ID records will likely be required.

3. Exercise your pooch before flight

Your dog needs to get lots of exercise before the flight. Aim for a vigorous walk, whatever that is for your pooch. This will help your dog feel like sleeping on board. Remember a tired dog is a happy dog.

Also, give your dog a potty break before going into the crate. Putting a few puppy pee pads in the crate bottom wouldn’t hurt either. If need be there are dog relief areas at most airports.

4. Limit food and water before the flight

On the day of the flight, avoid feeding your dog for several hours before the flight. Restrict water intake 2 hours before the flight. This will help keep your four-legged friend from getting airsick. Dogs are just fine without food or water for a few hours. This can make a huge difference to how their flight goes. During flight you can ask your flight attendant for an ice cube for your dog. It will keep him entertained and hydrated.

Give your dog a chew toy for takeoff and landing. This may help with the air-pressure on their ears. It may also help for them to have a familiar blanket or a t-shirt with your scent in the crate.

5. Going through security with your dog

Your dog’s crate has to go through-ray screening but your dog does not. First remove your shoes and personal belongings and put them in the bins. Remove your dog from the crate and send the crate through x-ray. Then take your dog as you go through the human screening device or follow the security guard’s instructions. Once through the screening device, find your dog’s crate and place him in it, then secure your personal items.

6. Know the in-flight rules.

Check what you are allowed to do with your dog during flight. Do they need to be stowed under the seat during take-off and landing? Can you take them out of the crate into your lap during flight? Ask if you can board early to get your dog comfortable.

Following these tips will keep your dog calm and comfortable. Being well prepared will make it less stressful for both of you.


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All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.




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