How to Travel with Your Dog on Airlines

Updated: Apr 25

It's always a difficult decision to leave your dog at home. It's a constant battle between your mind and soul - Do you leave your baby? Do you stay? After doing some research, I found that there are few ways to bring your dog along.


First thing to consider, is your dogs safety:

  • Air travel can be particularly dangerous for animals with "smushed" faces ("brachycephalic"), such as bulldogs, pug, etc. Their short nasal passages leave them especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.

  • Be sure your dog is well trained. Knows their basic commands, their name, and will listen to you on command.

  • You will want them to fly in the cabin with you. There are many reasons as to why your dog should NOT fly in cargo.

Second, you will want to consider the right questions to ask the airlines:

  • Does the airline allow an animal in the cabin with you? Size limitations?

  • Does the airline require a specific type of carrier? (Hard-sided carriers or a Soft-sided carrier).

  • Does the airline require your pet to meet certain health requirements? Do you need to bring documentation?

Beware the dangers of your pet flying in Cargo. Though most animals fly in the Cargo of planes just fine there are also animals that injured, killed, or lost on commercial flights each year. Constant fluctuating temperatures in the Cargo of the plane, poor ventilation and abusive handling are to blame.


If you plan on traveling with an emotional support dog you need to keep in mind requirements. You will need an ESA travel letter issued to you within the travel year that was written by a professional medical doctor. The ESA travel letter must be given to the airline 48 hours before your flight. You must submit 4 additional forms:

  1. Medical / Mental Health Professional Form

  2. Veterinary Health Form, or vaccination record with current rabies vaccination information

  3. Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form

  4. The airlines version of the ESA letter

When you are traveling with your animal be sure that you weighed out all of your options. Did you plan your dog into your complete vacation schedule? Is your dog comfortable with traveling? Is your dog comfortable with meeting strangers?


(image taken from dogspin)

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