Can You Bring A Dog On A Plane?

Traveling with pets, particularly dogs, has seen a significant rise over the years, with airlines accommodating a range of furry passengers. The idea of flying with a dog, once a rare occurrence, has transformed into a common practice for pet owners around the world. Historically, the capacity to bring dogs on planes was a luxury afforded mainly to small pets that could fit under the seat in front of a passenger. These early policies set a precedent, paving the way for broader regulations and services to cater to canine companions.

As public interest in pet-friendly travel grew, airlines began to expand their pet travel policies, incorporating options for larger dogs to travel in the cargo hold, and establishing comprehensive guidelines for service and emotional support animals. The regulations and requirements for bringing a dog on a plane have evolved in response to safety concerns, health regulations, and the well-being of both animals and human passengers. This ongoing evolution reflects a broader trend in the travel industry, acknowledging the importance of pets in people’s lives and striving to meet the needs of a diverse traveling public that often views pets as essential family members.

can you bring a dog on a plane

Can You Take A Dog On A Plane?

Traveling with pets, especially dogs, is a common concern for pet owners. The ability to take a dog on a plane depends on the airline’s policies, the size and breed of the dog, and the destination’s regulations. Most airlines allow dogs to travel either in the cabin or as cargo, provided they meet specific requirements. In-cabin travel is typically reserved for small dogs that can fit in a carrier under the seat, while larger dogs may need to travel in the hold. It’s essential to check the airline’s pet policy, prepare the necessary health documentation, and consider the dog’s comfort and safety during the flight. Additionally, some airlines offer frequent flyer programs for pets, and others may have restrictions on breeds or destinations. In the following section, we will delve deeper into the guidelines for flying with dogs, the preparation process, and tips for a smooth journey with your furry companion.

Traveling with Dogs on USA Domestic Flights

Understanding Airline Policies for Dog Travel

Different airlines have unique policies when it comes to traveling with pets. It is essential to review your chosen airline’s specific pet policies, which typically cover pet fees, carrier size, breed restrictions, and the number of pets allowed in the cabin or as checked baggage.

  • Carrier size and specifications: Policies often mandate specific dimensions and types of carriers.
  • Breed restrictions: Some airlines may not allow brachycephalic breeds due to health risks.
  • Advance booking: Many airlines require reservation for your pet due to limited spots available in the cabin.

Booking Your Flight

When booking a flight, inform the airline directly that you will be traveling with a dog. This can typically be done online or by calling the airline’s customer service. Ensure that you book well in advance since airlines have a limited number of pets that can travel in the cabin.

Preparing Your Dog for the Flight

It is vital to prepare your dog for travel to ensure a smooth experience. This includes getting a health certificate from the vet, crate training, and considering the dog’s comfort and needs during the flight.

  • Health certificate: Usually required to be issued within 10 days of travel.
  • Crate training: Train your dog to be comfortable in a crate for the duration of the flight.
  • Comfort items: Include familiar items like a favorite toy or blanket in the crate.

Check-in and Security Procedures

Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through a check-in process with your pet. For security screening, TSA guidelines allow you to walk your dog through the metal detector or request a special inspection.

  • TSA Pet Policies: Visit the TSA website for detailed information about pet screening procedures.
  • Arrival times: Arrive early to account for additional screening time.
  • Leash and harness: Keep your dog on a leash and harness through the airport.

During the Flight

Once on board, your dog’s carrier must remain under the seat for the duration of the flight. Attendants are unable to provide care for pets, so owners should ensure their pets’ needs are met before boarding.

  • Food and water: Feed your dog a few hours before the flight and provide a water dish that won’t spill.
  • Bathroom needs: Exercise your dog before the flight and schedule bathroom breaks for long layovers.

Arriving at Your Destination

After the flight, promptly retrieve your pet, taking care to allow them to stretch, hydrate, and relieve themselves in a suitable area. Know the location of pet relief areas in your arrival airport beforehand.

  • Pet relief areas: Most airports have specific zones for pets to relieve themselves.
  • Post-flight health check: Keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and health post-flight.
✔ Pros ✘ Cons
Allows you to travel with your pet rather than leaving them behind. Pets can become anxious or stressed during a flight.
No need for pet-sitting services. Additional costs for pet tickets and carrier fees.
Ensures your pet’s safety under your supervision. Not all airlines are pet-friendly, limiting flight options.
Possibility of having an emotional support animal onboard for comfort. Other passengers might have allergies or fear of dogs.
Reduces the complications of long-term separation from your pet. Long and potentially inconvenient processes with paperwork and airport security.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets forth guidelines to ensure the safety and welfare of animals during air transport. These guidelines are widely accepted by airlines and serve as a fundamental reference for pet travel. When flying internationally with a dog, it is crucial to adhere to IATA’s Live Animals Regulations (LAR), which cover a range of requirements including:

  • Crate requirements: The travel crate must be of appropriate size, ventilated, and secure.
  • Food and water: Guidelines on how to provide for the animal’s nutritional needs during transit.
  • Documentation: Necessary health certificates, vaccination records, and import permits.
  • Identification: Dogs should be properly identified with microchips and tags.

For detailed information on IATA’s guidelines for transporting dogs, please refer to the IATA website: IATA Pets Corner.

Country Specific Regulations

When planning to fly with a dog internationally, it is imperative to understand that each country has its own set of regulations regarding the importation of pets. These rules can include quarantine requirements, additional vaccinations, specific health certificates, and even bans on certain breeds. It is essential to research the destination country’s regulations well in advance to ensure compliance and a smooth journey for your pet.

United Kingdom

For information on UK regulations for flying with a dog, visit: UK Government Pet Travel.


For information on European regulations for flying with a dog, visit: EU Pet Movement.


For information on Canadian regulations for flying with a dog, visit: Canadian Pet Imports.


For information on Australian regulations for flying with a dog, visit: Australian Government Department of Agriculture.

New Zealand

For information on New Zealand regulations for flying with a dog, visit: New Zealand MPI Pet Imports.


Regulations in Asia can vary greatly by country. It is advised to consult the specific country’s government website or embassy for the most accurate information.


For information on Singapore regulations for flying with a dog, visit: Singapore National Parks Pet Import.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with a Dog

Different airlines have their own specific policies and regulations when it comes to flying with dogs. It is crucial to review these regulations before booking your flight as they can influence your preparation process, choice of airline, and overall travel plans with your pet. Below are the regulations from 10 different international airlines:

American Airlines

  • Size and breed restrictions for in-cabin and cargo travel.
  • Health and vaccination documentation requirements.
  • Carrier specifications and guidelines.

For more details, visit: American Airlines Pet Travel.

Delta Air Lines

  • Restrictions on certain breeds and sizes.
  • Temperature and weather-related restrictions.
  • International health certificate requirements.

For more details, visit: Delta Air Lines Pet Travel.

United Airlines

  • PetSafe program for pets traveling in cargo.
  • Age and health certification requirements.
  • Approved travel kennel specifications.

For more details, visit: United Airlines Pet Travel.

Air Canada

  • Options for in-cabin, checked, and cargo transport.
  • Specific carrier dimensions and requirements.
  • Restrictions on snub-nosed breeds and extreme temperatures.

For more details, visit: Air Canada Pet Travel.

British Airways

  • Partnered with IAG Cargo for pet travel.
  • Comprehensive guidelines for preparation and documentation.
  • Information on approved routes and carriers.

For more details, visit: British Airways Pet Travel.

Qantas Airways

  • Travel options for pets as freight or in the cabin on selected flights.
  • Booking procedures and approved crate requirements.
  • Health and vaccination documentation.

For more details, visit: Qantas Airways Pet Travel.


  • Travel options for pets in the cabin or as excess baggage.
  • Size, weight, and breed restrictions.
  • Carrier guidelines and check-in procedures.

For more details, visit: Lufthansa Pet Travel.


  • Pets generally travel as checked baggage or in cargo.
  • Pre-travel requirements including documentation and vaccinations.
  • Specific carrier requirements and restrictions.

For more details, visit: Emirates Pet Travel.

Air France

  • Options for pets in the cabin, in the hold, or via freight service.
  • Size, weight, and breed restrictions for in-cabin travel.
  • Carrier specifications and necessary health documents.

For more details, visit: Air France Pet Travel.

Singapore Airlines

  • Pets travel in the cargo hold.
  • Advance arrangements required for pet travel.
  • Guidelines on crate sizes and health documentation.

For more details, visit: Singapore Airlines Pet Travel.

Packing a Dog for Air Travel

Traveling with your furry friend requires careful planning, especially when it comes to packing them safely for a flight. Whether your dog will be traveling in the cabin with you as carry-on luggage or in the cargo hold, there are specific steps you need to follow to ensure their comfort and safety.

Choosing the Right Carrier

First and foremost, you’ll need an airline-approved pet carrier that complies with the airline’s size and construction standards. Look for carriers that are well-ventilated, secure, and comfortable for your dog. It should be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

Packing for Carry-On Luggage

  • Familiarize Your Dog: Allow your dog to get accustomed to the carrier at home before the trip. Place their favorite blanket or toy inside to provide comfort.
  • Identification: Ensure your dog has proper identification tags and that your carrier is labeled with your contact information and your dog’s name.
  • Essentials: Pack a small bag with your dog’s necessary items such as a leash, collapsible water dish, and a small amount of food for the journey.
  • Meds and Health Certificates: Carry any required medications and health certificates that prove your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.

taking a dog through airport security

Packing for Hold Luggage

  • Hard-Shelled Carrier: Opt for a sturdy, hard-shelled carrier for your dog’s safety in the hold. Ensure it’s secured with a lock that can be opened by security if needed.
  • Comfort Features: Line the carrier with absorbent bedding and a piece of clothing with your scent to calm your dog.
  • Avoid Choking Hazards: Don’t leave toys or chews in the carrier that your dog could potentially choke on during the flight.
  • Hydration: Freeze a small dish of water the night before the flight. It will melt by the time your dog is thirsty and won’t spill during handling.
  • Exercise Beforehand: Give your dog plenty of exercise before heading to the airport to help them be calm and tired for the flight.

Additional Items for Air Travel with Pets

When flying with a pet, there are several other items you should consider bringing to ensure a smooth journey. A portable pet carrier that meets airline specifications is essential for safe and secure transport. Pack a collapsible water bowl and a small bag of your pet’s food to maintain their regular diet during travel. Don’t forget a leash and harness for safe maneuvering through the airport. A favorite toy or blanket can provide comfort and reduce stress for your pet. Lastly, bring any necessary medications and health certificates required by the airline or your destination. These items will help keep your pet comfortable and comply with travel regulations.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring A Dog On A Plane?

Traveling with pets can be a wonderful experience, but it requires thorough preparation and an understanding of airline policies. When considering bringing a dog on a plane, it’s essential to research and be well-informed about the specific guidelines that airlines have in place to ensure the safety and comfort of your furry friend, fellow passengers, and crew. Below, you’ll find frequently asked questions about traveling with a dog on a plane, which cover common concerns and provide clarity to pet owners preparing for air travel.

Is it possible to bring my dog on a plane with me?

Yes, many airlines allow dogs to travel on planes, either in the cabin or as checked baggage or cargo, depending on the dog’s size and breed, and the airline’s specific regulations.

What are the usual requirements for bringing a dog into the cabin?

Dogs typically need to be small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat in front of you, and the carrier must meet airline size requirements. Additionally, your dog must remain in the carrier for the duration of the flight.

Can large dogs fly on a plane?

Large dogs often can fly on a plane as checked baggage or cargo. They’ll need to be in a sturdy and airline-approved kennel. Check with the airline for their specific policies and restrictions.

Are there breed restrictions for dogs flying on planes?

Yes, some airlines have restrictions on brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds due to health risks, as well as strong-jawed breeds. Always check with the airline before booking your ticket.

Do I need health certificates or other documents for my dog?

Most airlines and destinations require a current health certificate, vaccination records, and sometimes additional paperwork. Check both airline and destination requirements well in advance.

How much does it cost to fly with a dog?

The cost to fly with a dog varies by airline, the size of your dog, and whether they’re traveling in the cabin or cargo hold. Fees can range from $100 to several hundred dollars.

How can I prepare my dog for air travel?

Acclimate your dog to their carrier, ensure they’re comfortable with being confined, and familiarize them with the sounds and sensations of travel as best as possible. Exercise your dog before the flight and avoid feeding them right before boarding to prevent discomfort.

What should be in my dog’s travel kit for the plane?

Your dog’s travel kit should include food, water, dishes, a leash, waste bags, medication, a favorite toy, and a comfortable blanket or pad for their carrier.

Are there any specific times of year when I shouldn’t fly with my dog?

It’s best to avoid flying with your dog during extreme weather conditions, particularly for cargo travel. Some airlines restrict pet travel during hot summer months or cold winter periods.

Can service dogs and emotional support animals fly on planes?

Service dogs are typically allowed to accompany their owners on planes at no extra cost, subject to certain conditions. However, regulations for emotional support animals have tightened, and they may no longer be accepted on some airlines without paying the pet fee and meeting other requirements.

Packing It All Up

When it comes to bringing a dog on a plane, the regulations and policies can vary significantly depending on the airline, the size and breed of your dog, and the length and destination of your flight. It is crucial for pet owners to conduct thorough research and reach out to their chosen airline in advance to understand specific requirements and to make the necessary arrangements. Carrier size, pet fees, documentation for health and vaccinations, and the airline’s restrictions on breeds and numbers of animals allowed in the cabin are all vital information to procure. Beyond airline policies, preparation for travel includes acclimating your dog to their carrier, addressing any potential health concerns with a veterinarian, and maintaining compliance with the destination’s pet regulations.

For those flying internationally or on longer journeys, additional steps such as quarantine procedures, microchipping, and country-specific health certificates may be required. The pet’s comfort and safety should always be a priority, which means investing in an appropriate carrier, familiarizing your pet with it ahead of time, and considering their emotional and physical wellbeing throughout the trip. Ultimately, while taking a dog on a plane involves navigating a series of logistical challenges, with careful planning and attention to detail, it is entirely possible to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for both you and your canine companion.