The process of getting on an airplane and flying from one destination to another has become less glamorous, to say the least. There are the crowded airports and cramped seats, the subpar movie selection and the cranky other passengers. Air travel can be a pain, and that’s without the potential for delays, cancellations and weather-related turbulence.
There are things you can do to make your flying experience go smoothly. You can pack an organized carry-on suitcase with all your in-flight essentials inside, pick a comfortable travel pillow so you get some rest, and, of course, bring your dog with you. Whether you’re headed out for a few months and can’t leave your pooch behind or have an emotional support animal who goes wherever you go — flying with a dog is possible if you follow certain guidelines. Boarding a plane with an animal is easy if you follow the rules, which is why we created this guide for anyone who’s got a trip with a pooch in their future. We’re going to walk you through the guidelines and requirements set by the TSA, airlines and other government agencies, and list some of our favorite products for getting your canine from point A to point B in one piece.
How to Fly With a Dog
In general, dogs that can fit in a ventilated , waterproof kennel underneath the seat in front of you are eligible to fly on flights up to 12 hours long to most countries that major U.S airlines fly to. There are some exceptions and embargoes on pet travel internationally, so it’s always a good idea to check your airline’s website before booking any tickets.
If your dog is too large to fit in a carrier, you might be able to check them if you’re active-duty U.S. Military and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel traveling on official orders, otherwise most airlines won’t check pets anymore.
Most airlines charge a fee for each leg of travel the dog embarks on, and the dog must stay inside the kennel in front of you for the entire flight. The kennel also counts as your carry-on item, so you’re only allowed one additional personal item in addition to the kennel. The dog must also be at least 10 weeks of age to travel nationally, and 16 weeks to travel internationally.
How to Go Through TSA Screening With a Dog
Small pets are permitted through TSA screening checkpoints, and after that the agency defers to the individual airlines for their pet policies. In general, follow these steps and your trip through TSA with your pooch should be a breeze:
- Remove your pet from their carrier and put the carrier through the X-ray machine, it will most likely be visually and/or physically inspected by an officer.
- Keep your dog on a leash except for when you’re going through the actual metal detectors, then remove the leash, hold them and put the leash through the X-ray machine as well.
Henkelion TSA-Approved Dog Carrier
This dog carrier has an airline-approved design that’s as convenient for you as it is comfortable for your pet. It’s got two connecting loop handles up top for balanced carrying and a seat belt luggage strap for security. It’s waterproof and durable, and has four sides of mesh so your pet stays comfortable and it’s easy for you to check on them.
Maskeyon Airline Approved Pet Carrier
This pet carrier has a pet-friendly design, with a ventilated top opening and a steel strand frame for added stability during the trip. The carrier has two front pockets and a mesh side pocket for organizing pet accessories, and the four-way expansion provides room for your pet to move around during the flight. It also has an adjustable shoulder strap and top handles that make it easy to carry.
PetAmi Premium Airline Approved Pet Travel Carrier
This small pet carrier has a load capacity of 18 pounds, and a well-ventilated design for optimal airflow so your pet stays relaxed and comfortable. It’s got safety buckle zippers for holding them in place and it’s got two-sided access, a identification name tag, a size zipper opening for checking on them and a detachable strap for carrying.
Pet Deluxe Dog Carrier
This dog carrier comes with three expandable sides and five different entrances and exists for your pet to walk through. It’s super easy to unzip and fold down to create more space, and it comes with six different carrying methods as well. There’s a built-in safety rope to prevent pet escapes, and it’s got a detachable cozy mat inside that’s easy to clean. This small pet carrier has a weight capacity of only 14 pounds, so make sure you measure your pet before purchasing.
Smiling Paws Pets 4-Way Expandable Soft Sided Pet Carrier
This pet carrier has a top load entry, an internal leash, self-locking zippers for safety, reinforced rotating metallic clips and a machine-washable pad inside for comfort. The mesh paneling allows for air circulation and it’s got thickly padded shoulder and handle holders for carrying. It can be expanded on all four sides to create more room during the flight and is TSA airline approved to fit underneath the seat.
FOOD & WATER
lesotc Pet Water Bottle for Dogs
This pet water bottle is perfect for travel, since you don’t need to clean an external bowl to use it and it folds into itself for a compact, portable design. You simply squeeze the bottle to dispense the water into the bowl up top, and when your dog is done you fold it back over the top of the bottle for storage. It’s got a waterproof lock and capacity tick marks so you can track how much water your dog has had to drink.
Airline Approved Pet Travel Bag
This dog travel bag is made for canines hitting the road. It’s sized to fit underneath the seat in front of you and comes with dog food carriers, silicone collapsible bowls, a water-resistant placemat and a large inner compartment for storing toys, leashes and more. It also has multifunctional pockets and a built-in adjustable flap for staying organized on the road.
KUSSONLI Hands-Free Adjustable Pet Carrier
How adorable is this thing? If you’ve got a small puppy and need to keep your hands free while traveling, this convenient sling is perfect for flying days. It’s got an adjustable shoulder strap and a 10 pound weight capacity. It’s made with 3D honeycombed mesh cloth that’s highly elastic so it’ll stretch and breathe with your pet. It’s got a built-in safety buckle to keep your pet from jumping out and a velcro-fixed zipper so they stay secure and in place.
Zesty Paws Calming Dog Bites
These dog bites have a soothing, natural formula designed to calm anxiety in dogs with the help of hemp seed, chamomile and L-Theanine. Each treat contains 30mg of Suntheanine, a pure and GRAS-designated form of L-Theanine that helps promote calm in pets without making them drowsy. They’re designed to soothe anxiety, and have a delicious turkey flavor so your dogs will enjoy the taste, and you can enjoy the effects.
PetHonesty Hemp Calming Treats for Dogs
These calming treats for dogs contain natural ingredients designed to reduce anxiety and stress in your pets like Valerian root, ginger and organic chamomile. They’re made with premium ingredients with no added sugar or filler ingredients and are formulated to help dogs maintain a calm disposition during stress-inducing events like a plane ride.