traveling by plane with a dog

Traveling By Plane With A Dog

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Howliday season is here and flights are busier than ever. People fly across the country to reunite with their families, looking to make up for the time lost. But, how do dogs enter this equation? Is it safe to take dogs on a flight? In this blog, you’ll find all the requirements, rules, and documentation you need to safe traveling by plane with a dog.

Can dogs travel by plane?

Deciding whether or not it’s a good idea to take your pup with you is the first step. Here are some things to consider before making your decision of traveling by plane with a dog.

  • Health - If your dog suffers from any serious health condition that can get worse by traveling or by taking a flight, you might want to consider other options.

  • Age - Just like humans, senior dogs can undergo a lot of stress during flights, especially if they fly by cargo.
  • Size and weight - Depending on it, your dog will have to travel by cargo or in the cabin with you.

  • Duration of the flight - Assess if it is worth putting your pup through a long flight or if you have a better choice.

  • Talk to your vet - Even if your dog meets all the requirements, it’s always a good idea to consult with the vet, who knows your pup’s health history and can give you professional advice. Besides, you will be asked to provide health documentation.

Traveling with dogs internationally

Once you’ve decided to take your pup along with you, it’s time to get acquainted with all the requirements. If you are traveling with dogs internationally, these requirements can vary depending on the country you are flying to. However, as a general rule your dog will need:

  • ISO microchip
  • Recent rabies vaccination or, in some cases, blood titer test (depending on the country)
  • Pet passport if available, otherwise, pet certificates and documentation.
  • Health certificate (if you are traveling internationally, the vet who is issuing the health certificate must provide a USDA endorsement in order for it to be valid)

Remember these requirements can change depending on the airline and the destination country.

Flying in the cabin or cargo?

Although rules change from airline to airline, dogs can typically fly in the cabin with their owners if they are small enough to fit in a carrier, under your designated seat. The estimated weight limit is 20 pounds. If your dog is large, then he may need to fly in the airplane’s cargo (unless he is an emotional support animal or service dog, in that case, he is allowed to travel in the cabin).

How stressful is flying for dogs?

traveling by plane with a dog

Traveling by plane with a dog is usually stressful, but this question is pretty difficult to answer since the stress level of your dog will probably depend on many factors such as health, age, if he/she is used to traveling, etc. However, Kirsten Theisen, the director of pet care issues for the Human Society of the U.S., says that “flying is frightening to animals since they can sense the pressure changing and can tell something is happening, but they don’t know what”, and she suggests to leave animals at home while being on holidays, if possible.

Important facts to take into account before traveling by plane with a dog

  • Some short-nose dog breeds like Pugs, Boston Terriers, or French Bulldogs are not allowed to fly cargo since they can easily present respiratory failures.

  • Make sure to check the temperature rules and seasonal restrictions of the airline. Most airlines will not fly with a dog in cargo in temperatures below 45°F or exceeding 85°F, so you might want to arrange your flight considering your destination’s season and weather.

  • In December 2021, the USDA informed that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) stated that all dogs that have been in a high-risk rabies country in the last 6 months may only enter the U.S. through an approved port of entry, which includes 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station.

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