Flying With Your Pet Pt. 2

Everything you need to know before traveling with your pet



Kennel/carrier/crate training:


Pets typically travel in a kennel or carrier. They may be alongside you on the airplane (usually beats your seat) or in a separate cargo place that is located on the same airplane but away form you. Since every pet is different in their personality, their comfort level in closed spaces for long periods of time, and their ability to cope being away from you for long periods of time, adequate acclimation is an essential tool to being the most prepared you can be for your pet’s flight.


  1. As soon as your flight is booked, or as soon as you realize you may be flying, and you have decided that your pet is suitable for flight and you would like your pet to accompany you, begin the process of kennel acclimation. Transform the kennel to become a safe and welcoming place in the mind of your pet. The kennel should not just be tolerated, but it should be sought out by your pet.

  2. Purchase a kennel that is large enough to allow the pet to be able to stand up, turn around, lay down, and perhaps even stretch their legs. Accordingly, the larger the size of the dog, the larger the crate is going to be.

  3. Methodically place the items you plan on having with your pet during the flight in the kennel. This will give your pet the time to learn spatial recognition. Minimizing accidental stepping onto an item or inadvertently ingesting an inappropriate foreign object during the flight is the goal. This will also provide a sense of comfort ti your pet when traveling with recognized items.

  4. Begin with having the kennel at home, with the items in place, and the kennel door open. Most curious pets will investigate further. On occasion tease your pet with a treat you know they enjoy and lead them to the kennel. Place the treat in the kennel and, over time, they may begin to enjoy the treat inside the kennel at an increasing frequency as time progresses.

  5. Day after day, begin the process of closing the kennel door with your pet inside as they are enjoying their treat. Every day and every week, gradually increase the amount of time the door is closed. Be as gradual as you can to allow them to become accustomed to this. Perhaps the best goal for how long your pet should find comfort in being housed in the kennel with the door closed should mimic the length of the upcoming flight. A 6-hour flight may call for a pet who is comfortable with the door closed for at least 6-hours straight. 

  6. Initial attempts at this training method may be best suited while you’re at home. The next stage, once adequate acclimation has been achieved for a specified number of hours in your presence with the kennel door closed, is to mimic the same goal but with you not physically present at home.

  7. In the same manner described for closing the door, getting your pet used to your absence while they are housed in their kennel with the door closed can follow the same methodology. It is vital that this process is adequately planned for as it is a slow process, depending on the pet.

  8. Some pet owners have lifestyles that do not allow for this level of training. Other pet owners own pets that cannot become accustomed to the desired kennel acclimation needed for a safe flight. This is another reason why getting an early head start is vital. If you realize that such efforts are fruitless, then kennel or crate professional training may be in order.

  9. Sources of professional training include an experienced and reputable trainer in your area or a veterinary behaviorist. If you are planning on becoming a frequent traveler of planes with your pet, then the financial and temporal investments in such services are worth while.

  10. Finally, we must not forget the benefits of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical interventions in such situations. Anxiety-dampening medications (anxiolytics) or nutraceuticals/supplements can greatly improve the training and flight experience for your pet. Always consult with your veterinarian, either in-person or via online televet services, before instituting such remedies. 




Airline guidelines and regulations:


Every airline is different in their regulations. Here are just some inquiries to look into ahead of time once you have booked your flight and know which airline(s) you will be traveling with:


  1. Limitations on crate sizes

  2. Restrictions of specific animal breeds or species

  3. Repercussions should something go wrong during the flight that is realized upon landing

  4. Monitoring of the pets during the flight itself 

  5. What is allowed with the pet in their crate

  6. Allowable medications and nutraceutical/supplements you are permitted to have on your person for managing your pet’s anxiety and any other medical conditions

  7. Documentations required 

  8. Costs associated with traveling with your pet

  9. Schedule direct flights if at all possible and avoid connecting flights!

  10. Veterinary telemedicine and speaking to an online vet can be a life saver in case an emergency occurs; bookmark so you always have it at your fingertips. We operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, with wait times to meet with a United States-based veterinarian being 4 minutes on average.