Off the beaten path, transportation, Travel, Travel with pets

Is your pet fly? Here’s how Fido can go with!

man with blue and maroon camping bag
Photo by Spencer Gurley on

Hey, I don’t know how to tell you this, but… your dog can fly! Don’t believe me? Keep on reading!

Is your dog pretty fly? I like to think mine is. You may have an upcoming extended holiday and are wondering if you can take your pet, particularly on a long flight. While many recommend against taking your pet on board, I think it is a splendid idea that is attainable with the right planning! There are several (sometimes complicated) steps to take before you can fly with your dog. Your dog and the airlines will think very highly of you if you prepare thoroughly for the trip ahead! Here are some things you will need to sort out before flying with your pet:

1. Get a health certificate. Ask for this at your veterinarian office. You will also need to check the particular requirements of the specific country you are visiting. Your dog will need to be up to date on all vaccinations and in good health to fly. Once your Vet signs off on the paper work, you will need to take it to a local USDA certified veterinarian, who will need to sign off on your certificate. This usually requires an appointment and you can find the USDA Vet near you by visiting the USDA website. All you have to do is drop the papers at the window and wait; you do not need to bring your dog with you to the USDA office.

2. Know your dog’s weight. Only dogs under twelve pounds can fly in the cabin with you. Your dog needs to be a small breed (i.e. Yorkshire, Maltese, Chihuahua…etc). Remember, your dog cannot fly in your lap (unless you have a certificate…more on that later); he or she must be stowed under the seat in front of you in an airline approved bag. Please note that all airlines have slightly different requirements, so be sure to check out the specific airline website well as soon as you book your flight.

3. Contact your airlines. Most airlines have a restriction on how many animals can ride in the cabin. You must check with the airlines to see if there is room before you book your flight. If other people are flying with pets, your plane may be full as far as the furry flyers go.

4. Know your fees. All airlines charge a fee for taking your pet onboard. Fees can start at $250 each way. This is a hefty fee, but if you will be gone long, you would have to pay for a kennel or dogsitter and end up about the same.

5. Have the right carrier. You will need to check with your particular airlines, but the carrier can be either hard or soft-sided and must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. Your dog is not allowed to leave the carrier at any time during the flight. If you are flying Delta, you can find out the size of your carrier by clicking here.

6. Consider a sedative. Veterinarians do not recommend a sedative for dogs traveling in cargo, but depending on your dog’s activity level and anxiety, it may be worth considering. The reason for this is that your dog may be stressed and confused. The sedative your vet gives you should not completely knock out your dog, but take the edge off and make your dog relax.

7. Plan your seat. Remember, if you are traveling with a pet you cannot sit in the bulk head seat. You must have a seat in front of you to slide your pet carrier under.

My dog has lived in four different countries and been to many more. Traveling with her has been tricky, especially in certain countries in the middle east. Have specific questions about your travel with fido? Feel free to send me an email at! I would be happy to help!


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