Flying With Dogs?
Here's What You Need To Know

Flying with dogs has become quite acceptable and commonplace in today's modern world.

Whether you're moving across country or just off on vacation, you'll be free to discover many more horizons when you travel with you dog by air.

And, don't worry, your dog will be well-attended to along the way even if they travel in cargo space.

Although flying with dogs does require a little more advanced planning,
most airlines have extensive information on their websites to help you prepare. 

Pet travel requirements vary from state to state and internationally, but in most cases vaccinations and health certificates from your vet are needed at a minimum.

So, first things first, you pet will need the appropriate airline approved carrier bag. So let's get started.

Approved Carriers For Flying With Dogs

If you have a dog that is a small breed, they can usually travel with you in the cabin on many domestic and international flights. But bear in mind that the airlines only allocate a small number of spaces for "in cabin" pets on each flight which get snapped up early, so it's wise to plan ahead.

Also, to travel in the passenger area, your dog must be small enough to travel in airline approved dog carriers that fit under the seat in front of you.

This extremely popular Sherpa pet carrier has an impressive guarantee that offers to reimburse flight costs if you are denied boarding when using their carrier!

It comes in three sizes, designed to fit pets in a weight range from 8 to 22 pounds. Make sure to check the "guaranteed on board" details here

The size and total weight of carriers permitted does vary between airlines, so this is important information to verify with your chosen airline.

If you have a larger dog that will need to fly in the cargo area of the aircraft, he or she will need a crate that is approved by the airline on which you are traveling.

To assist you with the crate measuring, below is the International Air Transport Association (IATA) measuring guide for crates and here is a link to the IATA website for more details and guidance on preparing your pet for air travel:

IATA measuring guide large

Minimum internal container dimensions for a single animal:

  • Container length = A + ½ B
  • Container width = C x 2
  • Container height E = D + bedding
  • Snub-nosed breeds require 10% larger container

NOTE: Don't forget to take into account, that if your pet's blanket or mat is to be put in the crate, it has to be part of the calculation with respect to height. Also, when measuring your dog take care to measure to the top of his ears especially if he has pointed upright ones.

Flight Rules For Air Travel With Dogs

  • During the flight, your dog is not allowed out of the carrier.
  • Rover's meals should therefore be planned well ahead of flight departure to allow ample time for him to take care of business prior to boarding. Dog relief areas are required in  most airports.
  • Larger dogs can fly with you on the same flights, but they must be housed in the cargo area.  And, they are also required to be in airline approved dog crates.
  • Crates traveling in cargo space must be non-collapsible and ones in which the dog can stand up, turn around, and sit erect without touching the top of the crate.
  • The crate must also have food and water receptacles that are accessible from the outside.

For air travel you will find comprehensive information about flying with dogs and other pets at: and

Flying With Dogs Overseas

When planning to travel with your pet overseas, be sure to contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate General office for each country on your itinerary at least four (4) weeks prior to departure to get the most up-to-date information for bringing pets into their country. EXCEPT....

In the case of travel to Europe, your dog will have to meet the requirements of the Pets Travel Scheme which requires your dog to have a microchip and a current rabies vaccination. This information will need to be recorded on you pet’s medical documents along with the microchip number, when it was inserted, vaccination date and product name.

In some cases, a Tapeworm treatment may also be needed.

Your accredited veterinarian should be familiar with the travel process and be able to assist you with the application papers that need to be completed for the pet passport.

Be aware, however, under this program, you will need to plan your trip in advance to allow sufficient time for steps that must be completed by your Vet, but don't worry, it's not difficult.

Full details of this procedure are available at the airlines and most vets are familiar with the requirements. You can also find detailed information here.

Make A Flight Reservation

Air Travel With Dogs - International Or Domestic

When flying with dogs internationally or domestic, select an airline that has a reputation for excellent passenger service plus years of experience transporting pets. Most importantly, once you have settled on your airline of choice, reserve a spot for yourself and your pet early to avoid any disappointments at the eleventh hour.

Below are some airlines to consider when flying with your dogs both in or out of the country. Please do your research by reading the full pet policies of all of these carriers because rules and limitations can differ beyond the general standard for pet travel when traveling within the main cabin.

For example, the weight of a dog, or certain dog breeds may be excluded.  Or, some specific routes or aircraft may have different provisions which could have a bearing on your travel plans.

Depending on the time of year you are planning to travel, it is also worth noting these regulations with respect to weather conditions for flying with your pet:

  • Summertime, when temperature exceeds 84 degrees F on the runway, many airlines will not accept a pet as checked baggage or as cargo.
  • During colder months of Winter, airlines will not transport your pet if the temperatures fall below 45 degrees F.

American Airlines is one of the largest and most well-known carriers with a pet-friendly reputation. Your pet may travel in-cabin if he/she meets the requirements or in cargo. Full details of AA's pet policies can be found here.

JetBlue boasts the most leg room in coach making it more comfortable for yourself when storing your small dog carrier - size not larger than 17"Lx12.5"Wx8.5"H - under the seat. Sorry there are no travel arrangements for large dogs. Read JB's pet travel policies here.

Lufthansa Airlines offers air travel services for small dogs and cats weighing no more than 8 kg, including their carrier, in the cabin. Pets larger than this are accommodated in the climate-controlled cargo hold. Read Lufthansa's pet travel policies here.

Swiss International Airlines Swiss carries dogs and cats in the cabin or in the hold. Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds are only accepted in the cabin due to sensitivity to temperature and stress.  Pets weighing in excess of 8 kg (weight including travel carrier), may travel in the climate-conditioned hold. Read the pet travel policies of Swiss Air here.

Air Canada Your dog or cat can travel comfortably with you in the cabin or in the pressurized cargo compartment to many international destinations.  Be sure to check the pet carrier sizes as there are some differences depending on the the type and cabin style of the aircraft. Read the full pet travel policies here.

JSX offers the perks of private air travel around the USA and Mexico. If you're interested in a more stylish way to fly with your dog, look into this airline which allows small to large well-trained dogs to travel in the main cabin on roomy 30-seat jets at a very reasonable cost. Your flight will start with a quick and easy check-in at a private terminal. Read the full pet policies here.

K9 JETS is a pet-dedicated, pay-per-seat, shared private jet charter service that enables you to travel with your four-legged family member beside you in the cabin. Dogs can sit on your lap or by your side in the cabin and are not required to ride in crates under the seat or in cargo.

From airports in New Jersey, Los Angeles, London, and Dubai, they use private jets to fly human and pet passengers to Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris, Lisbon, Milan, Melbourne, Honolulu, Dallas, and West Palm Beach. The jets accommodate up to 10 human passengers and their pets.

Security Check-In

When you check in at the airline ticket counter, be sure to tell them you are traveling with a pet so that they may verify your pet's reserved spot on the aircraft. In the case of dogs that will be flying in the cargo area, there is usually a different place in the airport for them to be checked-in. After ticketing is completed you can proceed to the Security checkpoint.

You'll want to keep your carry-on accessories to a minimum so your hands will be free to take charge of your pet at the security area.  Once you have placed your shoes and other personal items on the table to be scanned, take your pet out of the carrier.

Be sure to bring along a non-metallic leash in the carrier to use for the safety of your pet when removing him/her from the carrier. Even laid back pets can get confused and scared when around groups of people in busy environments.

You may either carry your pet or let it walk beside on a leash through the scanner. Once cleared, you can put your pet back in the carrier. Sometimes the actual pet carrier will need to be scanned separately - just follow the instructions of the TSA staff.

After completing the security steps, give yourself plenty of time to get to your gate.

This would be a good time to give your dog one last opportunity for a potty break ahead of boarding. All major airports are required to have pet relief areas past security checkpoints.

By following these steps and being prepared, you can help ensure a smooth experience when traveling with your pet through airport security.

Make Hotel Reservations

If you are traveling around the USA with your pets, you will have a lot of pet-friendly hotels to choose from. Those that are the most popular with pet parents include:

  • Kimpton Hotels
  • LaQuinta
  • Wyndham Hotels
  • Hampton Inns
  • Westin and
  • Embassy Suites
  • Best Western

For international reservations in the UK or Europe:


Pet friendly cottages and homes in England and Europe:


Choosing private properties while overseas is my personal preference. Why? Because many of them are in the most rambling areas that include off-road public footpaths through fields and areas where you can walk your dog safely.

Although flying with dogs by air domestically or abroad requires a bit more pre-planning, it's really not difficult. People with show dogs do it all the time.

On a final note, if you have a dog that doesn't enjoy traveling, consider hiring a pet sitter so that he doesn't have to leave his familiar surroundings while you're gone.

If you'd like even more information about taking trips with your pet and flying with dogs, here's another website that covers the topic very well -

So what are you waiting for, break out the travel maps and let your dog point his paw at a vacation destination!

Guaranteed On Board ® is the only program that guarantees our carriers are in-line with each participating airline’s rules and regulations and provides all the information needed for an easy, hassle-free trip. Simply go to, select the participating airline, enter the carrier info, pet info and flight info and print the GOB form. Should you be denied boarding due to your Sherpa carrier, Quaker Pet Group will reimburse you for the cost of your flight and pet fee--Guaranteed!

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