How to Safely Fly with Your Dog

With Spring Break and Summer Vacation right around the corner, most of us are already dreaming up our perfect vacations for this year. And what is a vacation with our the whole family, four-legged family members included. However, flying with your dog can be a little bit more than stressful. Not to mention the recent story from United Airlines where, sadly, a dog passed away in flight. fly

Thankfully there are safe and mostly stress-free ways to fly with your dog in tow. Here are some of the best tips we’ve found.

Karla’s Top 6 Tips for Flying with Your Dog

Book early

There are often limited spaces availble to pets on flights. In order to get the date that your really want you will probably have to book as early as possible.

Visit your Vet

Get your dogs shots up to date and also grab a copy of their medical records. If you’re traveling outside of the US, you will need their health certificate. When you book your flight, make sure to ask them exactly what documents are needed for them to board.

Fly direct

We all love a non-stop flight, but with pets it’s important. Booking on a weekday in the early morning can help you find a non-stop flight to your destination.

Get a comfortable flight approved carrier and help them get used to it before the flight

While you’re at your vet getting their shots updated, talk to them about recommendations for your pet specifically. Also, contact the airline for their Pet Policies and allowed carriers. Once you’ve selected the right one for you, get your pet used to it pre-flight. Take them on car trips in the carrier as often as you can, but don’t leave them in the car!

Update IDs, bring extras, put them everywhere 

IDs are good for more than just their collars. Put extra tags on their carriers, their supply bag, everything you can think of putting them on, do it. If you have extra collars and tags on their carriers and bags, you’ll never have to worry about them being without ID.

Time food and exercise before the flight

It’s not uncommon for pets to get sick during travel so make sure that they eat about 4 hours before the flight. However, they should still be able to drink freely until it is time to board. Try to walk them and give them exercise before you leave and let them use the bathroom before you head for check in. If they are being checked and staying below deck, make sure a little food and water is with their carrier so an attendant can give them nourishment in case of a delay.

Our Go-To Packing List:

  • Contact information for your vet, emergency contacts and the contact information for your destination
  • Medical records, medicine and any important health documents
  • Spare collar and with a name tag
  • Grooming supplies
  • Travel food/water dishes
  • Bottled water and light food or treats (they may end up with an upset tummy)
  • Pet wipes and paper towels
  • Their favorite leash and at least one extra leash
  • Pet wipes and paper towels
  • Special toys and blanket


For an even more complete guide flying with pets, make sure to check out this wonderful article from where we found some great advice. You can select requirements by airlines as well alternatives to still get perks for traveling with pets. Make sure to check it out if you’re thinking about flying with your pet.

And as always, if you’ll be on vacation and aren’t able to take your pet with you, don’t forget to give us a call! Our sitters and dog walkers are always available to help bring comfort and care to your pet while you’re away. Contact us to schedule services!




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