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Travel tips for flying with cats and dogs

Household 2 min read

Your pets are a special part of your family and you want to include them in your travel plans. However, traveling sometimes require that pets fly on an airplane to your destination. Flying with pets can be a challenging experience, especially if you travel long distances. These travel tips below will keep your pet safe, happy and comfortable while flying on an airplane.

Get a clean bill of health from your vet

Before you book your flight, take your pet to the vet for a wellness check-up. Your vet will take into consideration the overall health, breed/temperament, and age of your pet to determine if he can handle the plane trip. Ask your vet for a signed health certificate that proves your pet is properly vaccinated and is in good health to travel by plane.

With the change of altitude and loud engines, flying can be a stressful experience for cats and dogs. If your pet is prone to anxiety, talk to your vet about prescribing a sedative for your pet. The sedative keeps your pet calm and relaxed while riding on the plane. If your pet tends to get motion sickness, discuss with your vet the best medication options for plane travel.

Organize pet medical documents in advance

Check with the airlines about required pet medical documents. Most airlines require travel documents months in advance, especially for overseas travel. Common travel documents include:

  • Vaccination and medical records
  • List of medications with dosage amounts (include a list of your pet’s allergies)
  • Pet health certificate signed by your vet

When traveling, always bring a copy of your pet’s medical and vaccination records just in case of an emergency.

Research the airlines and their pet travel rules

Before booking your flight, research pet travel regulations because each airline has different rules. Remember that you will pay extra fees when traveling with pets on a plane. For small dogs and cats, airlines require that they comfortably fit inside a pet carrier that can be easily stowed under the seat in front of you. Most airlines won’t allow pets to be taken out of pet carriers during the flight. For larger dogs that don’t fit inside the plane, they ride in a sturdy pet crate that is stowed under the plane in the cargo/luggage area.

Some airlines have seasonal and weather rules for pet travel. For the safety of your pet, they don’t allow pets to ride in the cargo area if the temperature is too hot or too cold. If you plan to travel overseas, some countries require pets to be quarantined for a period of time after flying.

Pack a separate bag for your pet

Bring along a travel bag with all the necessary pet supplies for your dog or cat. Make sure to line pet carriers with puppy pads just in case of accidents. Bring along his favorite toys and blanket, non-spill travel water and food bowls, and special treats.


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