Airplane flying in the sky, view from the window.

Taking to the Skies: A Guide to Preparing Your Pet for Air Travel

Traveling by air can be an exciting adventure, but when it comes to flying with your beloved pet, thorough preparation is key to ensuring a safe and stress-free journey. Whether you’re relocating, going on vacation, or bringing a new furry friend into your life, pet transportation requires careful planning. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to prepare your pet for a comfortable and secure flight. 

  1. Research Travel Options:

    Knowing what would be best for your dog in terms of travel is essential for your pet’s comfort. It is important to remember there are more options than just flying your dog. Here are some options to take into consideration for pet transportation:

  • In cabin – only if small or a service dog. 
  • Excess baggage – in cargo but not as strictly managed as cargo. 
  • In cargo as Live Animal – lots of rules and safety requirements. 
  • Ground – via shared hired rides. 
  • Ground – via private hired rides. 
  • Ground – personal transport. 

Contact one of our specialists to see what option would work best for you. 

  1. Research Airline Regulations:

    Before booking your tickets, research your chosen airline’s pet policies and requirements. Different airlines have varying guidelines for pet transportation, including crate dimensions, breed restrictions, and health documentation. Understanding these regulations will help you make informed decisions. This will be different depending on whether your pet is traveling domestically or internationally.

  2. Consult Your Veterinarian:

    Schedule a visit to the veterinarian well in advance of your trip. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and obtain a health certificate, which some airlines require within a specific timeframe before travel. Discuss any concerns or recommendations your vet might have for flying with your pet.

  3. Choose the Right Travel Crate:

    Invest in a sturdy, well-ventilated travel crate that adheres to your airline’s guidelines for pet transportation. Your pet’s crate should be large enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Familiarize your pet with the crate by allowing them to explore it before the trip, making it a positive and safe space.

  4. Crate Training:

    If your pet isn’t accustomed to being in a crate, gradually introduce them to it. Use positive reinforcement to associate the crate with comfort and security. This will reduce stress during the journey and help your pet feel more at ease.

  5. Identification and Microchipping:

    Ensure your pet’s identification tags are up to date and securely attached to their collar. Microchipping your pet and updating your contact information in the microchip database is a must. This is a crucial precaution in case your pet gets separated from you during travel.

  6. Pack Essentials:

    Prepare a travel kit for your pet that includes food, water, a leash, waste bags, medications, a favorite toy or blanket, and any other necessary items. Familiar scents can provide comfort during the journey.

  7. Avoid Feeding Before Travel:

    Avoid feeding your pet at all before the flight to prevent discomfort and motion sickness (4-6 hours prior to flight depending on age). However, provide water to keep them hydrated.

  8. Stay Calm and Comforting:

    Pets can pick up on their owner’s emotions. Stay calm and composed to help ease your pet’s anxiety. Spend some quality time with them before heading to the airport to reassure them.

  9. Check the Weather:

    Extreme weather conditions can impact your pet’s comfort and safety during the journey. Check the weather forecast for both departure and arrival locations to plan accordingly.

  10. Arrival Preparations:

    Upon arrival, find a quiet space to allow your pet to acclimate to their new environment. Offer them food, water, and a chance to relieve themselves. Gradually introduce them to their new surroundings to minimize stress.


Flying with your pet can be a smooth and positive experience with the right preparation. By researching airline policies, consulting your vet, and providing a comfortable travel environment, you can ensure your furry friend’s well-being throughout the journey. With careful planning and a focus on your pet’s comfort, you’re on your way to a successful and safe travel adventure together. 


Contact one of our specialists or get an estimate to start your journey! 

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