Airline Travel with Dog

Many people avoid the prospect of travel with dog companions because it seems like it might be too difficult to do properly. However, it's actually quite easy and inexpensive to bring your canine pet along with you when you travel by air. In order to have the smoothest experience, at the airport, on the plane, and after, you'll need to know exactly how to go about setting up your pet for a flight. Each individual airline has its own set of rules and regulations for this type of travel, so it's worth your time to consult with a representative from the airline before you finalize your plans.

Get a Ticket

Most airlines will either have pets fly in a special area of the plane or will allow some small dogs to be in crates or cages in the main section of the passenger area. In both cases, you'll likely need to purchase a second ticket for your pet. These tickets will need to be bought in advance of the flight and generally run around $50 each. Make sure that you look into the procedure for buying a canine travel ticket before you begin to make your final plans.

Time Your Trip

Be aware that the area outside of the plane may be warm or cold and that your pet will likely need to wait there for an extended period of time before the flight begins. Therefore, it's a good idea to time your trip to avoid extreme weather conditions, if at all possible. Similarly, it's a good plan to make sure that you have as few transfers and layovers as possible. Direct flights make it much easier and less stressful on your pet, as he will not need to be moved around from plane to plane as much.

Prepare Your Dog

If your pet tends to get uncomfortable in unusual situations, you may wish to train him and prepare him for the trip in advance. This can be done by simulating his travel conditions. Have your pet isolated in a cage for increasing periods of time, and make sure that you use the same blankets, toys and other items in his cage when you're doing the "practice" run as you do when your pet actually flies.

Food and Water

Depending upon the length of the trip, you'll likely need to plan for food and water for your pet. Generally speaking, most airlines and vets will recommend not providing your pet with ample food and water just before the trip, as it will increase the likelihood that he'll need to evacuate his system while on board. Instead, if you can deliver food and water to your pet when the trip is mostly complete, that will generally be a safer tactic.

For more specific information about how to properly bring your pet on board an airplane, speak with your vet for additional recommendations and more advice.