Doggy Travels


You’re moving or going on an extended vacation- your little pal can’t be left behind! What’s the best way to keep you and your pet comfy on a long flight? Let’s travel together and explore all the options there are!

Does your pet really need to join you?

So your first decision is to think if it is really essential to fly with your pet. Its recommend not to fly with a pet unless absolutely necessary. Ideally, pets should not fly unless an owner is moving permanently or taking a long trip—two to four weeks minimum.

dog putting his paws on a packed open suitcase

Flying can be a stressful experience for most humans imagine how much more so for your dog. It removes them from familiar and comfortable surroundings, then forces them into a situation with loud noises, bright lights, thousands of people, changes in air pressure and cabin temperature, and a limited ability to use the bathroom.

It may be best to leave them home, unless you have a really good reason for bringing your pet with you during your travels. Think about hiring a pet-sitter, consider asking a friend or family member to look after your dog, or boarding them at a licensed facility. It may not be the most ideal situation, but it’s likely better for your pet in the long run. If your do choose to leave your furry friend behind be sure to check out this article on separation anxiety.

Cargo or carry on?

Ok so the dog will be joining you on your travels! Where your pet will stay will depend mostly on its size. Though rules vary from airline to airline, your dog can typically only fly in the cabin—a.k.a. as a carry-on—if they are small enough

to fit in a carrier under the seat in front of you.  Your pup will have to travel in the cargo hold, with the luggage and freight if he is any larger then that.

This can be an unpleasant experience for your pet even though the airlines say they try their best to make dogs comfortable in the cargo hold. Items may shift around or fall mid-flight, which can be loud and scary, in addition to being separated from you, his favorite person!

girl carrying a dog in a dog carrier 

And yes, tons of animals fly in cargo all the time without any incidents, but there are a lot of thing that you can’t control once you hand over your pet to the airport personal. Consider it this way: Baggage handlers are just trying to finish their jobs and get everything loaded onto the plane, period. They’re probably not running to give your pet any extra or special attention. So, again, seriously think if the potential risks are worth it. 

Types of carrier

Whether you choose cargo or in cabin for your pet, you will need to have the appropriate pet carrier or crate. The International Air Transport Association, whose guidelines most airlines follow, has a list of pet carrier requirements. For

a man holding a suitcase in one hand and a dog crate with a dog inside in the other

larger animals, your crate needs to be durable and have plenty of ventilation, strong handles, and a leak-proof bottom. Make sure to remember to clearly mark your pet carrier with the words “Live Animal” and arrows that show which way is up, with a label containing your name, phone number, address, and destination contact information.

For smaller pets that you will carry on the plane, we recommend that you use a soft sided carrier. This will provide your pet with much more space and are easier and lighter to maneuver when in the airport or on the plane. Check out

man holding a dog carrier with a dog poking his head out of the top

our Petsonik pet carrier! Its lightweight waterproof and has very sturdy handles for easy transportation. Double check on all the dimensions of your carrier before you leave home to avoid all unnecessary delays.

 Rules, Rules, Rules

As you can imagine, airlines have tons of rules and guidelines for flying with your pets. Always make sure to read through them completely so that your pet is not turned away at the gate. Check with your airline to see if your dog breed is allowed on board. Breeds with snubbed noses (like pugs) are typically banned from the cargo hold because their facial structure can make it hard for them to breathe normally. Bully breeds, like pit bulls, may also be completely banned from flying.

I hope this gave some food for thought while you’re planning your next itinerary! Organization for you and your pet is key when traveling so make sure that all your documents, passports and health certificate for your dog are all up to date and ready to go! Safe Travels!  

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published