Pet Travel: How to Prepare Your Dog for Air Travel

Going on holiday and want to bring your furry friend along? Well, most pet parents are concerned about flying with their pets, especially if they have to leave them in the cargo.
However, it is possible for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy the skies if you make preparations early. Here is what you need to know about preparing your dog for air travel.

Before Booking Your Flight


1. Understand the Airline’s Policies

Before booking your flight, make sure that you understand the pet cargo policies of your target airline. This is important because each airline has its own policies when it comes to pets. However, a common rule includes having updated certificates of good health and vaccinations. Be sure to inquire if there are any limitations and whether there are breeds that are forbidden in the cargo.

2. Book in Advance

It is a good idea to book in advance especially if your pet will be flying via the cargo. This helps to book a cargo reservation for your dog.


Weeks Before the Flight

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1. Visit the Vet

Book an appointment with your dog’s vet to keep current with the vaccinations and ensure that they are in good health condition. This should be done days before your flight. Basically, you research the requirement for this with the airline since they may vary from one airline and country to another.


2. Purchase a Dog Carrier

When planning your trip, make sure that you buy your dog the right carrier and leash to use during the flight. It is recommendable to measure your dog and purchase a carrier that is compact enough while also being roomy to allow them to sit and turn around comfortably. If you will be placing the carrier under your seat, you can opt for soft-sided carriers. However, hard-sided carriers are ideal if you intend to place the dog carrier in the cargo hold.
Another tip is to label the dog carrier with their name and your personal information. You should also put a “Live Animal” label at the top and sides of the carrier.

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3. Crate Train Your Dog

Take it upon yourself to train your dog in his travel at least months or days before the flight. Make sure that they can stand up, turn and even sleep in the crate. You can use a treat to slowly lure him to the crate until they are comfortable inside it.

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4. Place ID Tag

Proper identification is very important if you don’t want to have travel drama. It is recommended to invest in a Tag ID and microchip to help you locate your pet with ease. Also, carry pictures of your four-legged friend.

24 Hours Before the Flight

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1. Monitor Food and Water Intake

It is advisable not to give your dog food five hours before the flight. The last thing you want is to stress about travel breaks on the day of travel. It is important to give your dog water but in restricted intakes. This helps to minimize the potty breaks while ensuring that they are not dehydrated.

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If your pup will be staying in the cargo, consider fastening a bowl of water on the inside of the carrier. However, be wary that the water may spill or your dog may be too anxious to drink. As for the food, you can attach it on the outside of the carrier so that the flight attendants can use it in case of delay.

2. Exercise Your Dog

Ensure to exercise your dog before you leave for the airport. This helps to burn off extra energy and reduce anxiety.

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3. Arrive Before Time

Arriving at least one hour before take-off is vital to ensure that your pet is properly checked in. This will also give you ample time to deliver the necessary documents.



Ensure to keep the above considerations in mind before you commit to flying with your dog. Proper preparation reduces anxiety for your dog and makes your flight less stressful as the dog owner.