FAQs: Airline Travel with Pets

Thinking about bringing your fur kids along when you visit family and friends over the holidays?  If your holiday travel will involve an airline flight, it’s never too early to start planning for a smooth trip for both yourself and your pet.  What do you need to know to book a pet on a flight?  Make sure you check the specific pet policies of each airline you are considering, and be sure to book early, as many airlines reserve a limited number of spots for pets in the cabin (or cargo) section.

What else do you need to know to make flying with dogs, cats, and other pets as stress-free as possible?  Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions…but always remember to check with your airline for definitive information!

Are there government regulations for pet airline travel?

Yes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service maintains a website with valuable information on both domestic and international travel with pets.  They also provide a heads-up on which animals actually qualify as “pets.”  Be sure to check the USDA site if you have an exotic companion animal!

How can I compare airline pet policies?

The pet-friendly travel website Bring Fido has a web page that lists most major U.S. and international airline pet policies.  From Aer Lingus to Turkish Airlines, you can easily click between sites to find the perfect pet policy for your needs.

Do I need to see the vet before I fly with my pet?

According to American Veterinary Medical Association, most airlines require a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for your pet to travel.  Your vet will certify that your pet is healthy enough for travel, and that it has no diseases that could be passed on to humans or other animals.  Certain vaccines need to be up-to-date before your pet can travel.  Don’t forget that international pet travel health requirements can be more stringent than domestic ones, and your pet may have to go into quarantine upon arrival.  This applies to Hawaii as well.

Is it safe for my pet to fly in cargo?

Many concerned pet owners have heard scary stories about pets’ health being harmed by flying in cargo.  A recent article in Conde Nast Traveler cites a U.S. Department of Transportation report on statistics for pet cargo travel in 2016.  Out of approximately 500,000 pets that flew cargo, 26 died and 24 were injured.  That’s about a 1 per 10,000 pet incident rate.  United and Hawaiian have the highest incident rates.  Flying with your pet in the cabin with you is safer than putting your pet in cargo, but that is only an option for smaller pets.  Large dogs must fly cargo unless they are service animals.  Many experts suggest avoiding placing your pet in cargo unless it is absolutely necessary, such as for a cross-country move.

What kind of pet carrier should I get for airline travel?

Each airline’s pet policy page will have specific dimensions for under-the-seat pet carriers.  Generally, they allow hard or soft carriers, as long as they fit under the seat in front of you.  Remember, you cannot remove your pet from the crate during flight, so the carrier must be large enough to keep your pet comfortable.  Some pet stores sell carriers specifically designed for airline travel.  The carrier company Sherpa Pet works with American and Delta, so you can get carriers specifically designed for those airlines.

Happy travels!


10 Essential Pet Travel Tips

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Are you hitting the road with your dog or cat this summer? Whether your vacation plans include travel by car, motor home, plane, or rail, bringing your pet along for the ride always takes a little extra planning and preparation. Here are a few basic pet travel tips to be aware of before you and your best friend make tracks!

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1. Make sure your pet’s ID info and vaccinations are current and up-to-date. Carrying proof of vaccinations with you is also a good idea.

2. For dogs, bring along both a short leash and a long leash so that you are prepared for all situations and local leash regulations.

3. Check for any breed-specific legislation at your destination if you are bringing along a dog breed that is impacted by BSLs.

4. Use secure crates, carriers, and harnesses for safe pet auto travel. Pets and car air bags don’t mix, so deactivate airbags for any seats your pet will be in.

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5. Bring along a pet first aid kit for road trips, especially if your pet will be spending a lot of time in the great outdoors.

6. For air travel, cats and small dogs do best when they are in the cabin tucked under the seat in front of you.

7. Clearly label the carrier with your pet’s ID information. Remove collars before placing your pet in a carrier to avoid choking.

8. Bring portable, spill-proof water bowls and bottles of fresh water with you so your pet stays hydrated.

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9. Remember to keep a close eye on your pet when camping or hiking to avoid him getting lost or having a run-in with a not so domestic animal.

10. For vacations to the beach, be sure to pack a life vest and sunscreen so your pet can safely enjoy the sand and sea.



Tips For Traveling With Pets



Most people consider their pets to be part of the family. So when it comes time to go on a road trip, there’s no doubt the family pet is coming with. Leaving that precious face behind would be too unbearable.

If you do plan on travelling with pets this summer, here are some tips for the road:

– Prepare your pet for car travel. Get him or her used to the car with small car rides before the big trip.
– Pack a little travel kit for your pet with his or her health records (if you’re going out of state), a portable water bowl, a pooper scooper, waste bags, treats, a leash, and his or her favorite toy.
– Keep your pet well entertained (with that toy from the travel kit).
– Make sure to make frequent food/water/bathroom breaks. This is also a good time to let your pet stretch his or her legs and get some energy out.
– Keep your pet restrained in a carrier or with a harness that attaches to the seatbelt.
– Make sure your information on his or her collar is up to date.

A couple of No-No’s:

– The front seat and the back of pick-up trucks are not safe places for any pet.
– Don’t let your pet stick its head out the window.
– Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle! It is very easy for them to overheat.

Now enjoy your vacation!



Summer Pet Safety Tips

Summer is steadily approaching, and as temperatures rise pet owners must prepare to be extra cautious and conscientious about their furry friends’ health and safety. As uncomfortable as the heat may be for us, it can be much worse for our pets (especially those with dark coats, elderly or out-of-shape pets, and brachycephalic breeds). Whether you’re travelling with your pet or enjoying their company at home, these tips will help you consider the extra precautions that need to be taken during the hot summer months:


  • Provide a sufficient amount of water for your pet at all times! This is one of the most important summer safety tips and one you should never forget.
  • Do not let your pet drink seawater; the salt and minerals found in ocean water can make them sick and dehydrated.
  • Consider your dog’s personal preference before taking them swimming. Some dogs can’t swim and others hate being in water.
  • If your dog goes swimming at the beach, make sure to rinse them off afterwards (the seawater can damage their coat) and check with a lifeguard for water conditions.
  • Never leave your dog unsupervised in water.

Sun Protection

  • We humans aren’t the only ones who need sunscreen! Talk to your vet about sunscreen for your pet, and when applying, remember that the ears and nose are in need of the most sun protection.
  • Limit your dog’s sun exposure by walking them in the early morning and evening, when temperatures are lower.
  • Pet fur acts as a sunscreen in itself so the shorter your pet’s hair, the more susceptible they are to sunburn. Please consider before grooming, and if you must shave your pet try to do it early in the summer giving the hair time to grow out.
  • If your pet has short hair, pink skin and/or white fur they will be especially vulnerable to sun damage so make sure you have ample defense against the sun’s rays.
  • Pavement and asphalt can get especially hot and burn your pet’s paws, which is why it’s best to walk your dog when it’s cooler out, or keep them on grass and sidewalk.

Home Safety

  • Don’t allow your pet onto a freshly fertilized or chemically treated lawn, and watch out for insecticides which can be poisonous.
  • Cars are more likely to leak antifreeze in the heat of the summer, which can be deadly to your pet. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, immediately contact your vet.
  • Be careful about any windows left open, especially those in higher stories. Make sure  all open windows have screens!
  • If your pet spends most of its time outdoors, look out for flea and tick infestation and make sure there is adequate shade available for your pet to rest in.

Travel Safety

  • When traveling by car, make sure your pet’s crate is well ventilated and keep an ice pack or two in there to make sure your pet keeps cool.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car on a hot day! Car temperatures rise rapidly (even with the windows cracked).
  • The American Kennel Club states that many airlines will not ship animals during the summer due to weather conditions, so keep this in mind and plan your trips accordingly.
  • If your pet is being shipped, pack ice packs in their crate along with fresh water.
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date before you travel, and familiarize yourself with vets and animal hospitals in the area.


  • Symptoms of heatstroke include but are not limited to: labored breathing, excessive drooling, lethargy, bright red gums, bloody diarrhea and vomiting, and a temperature of 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you suspect your pet is having a heatstroke, immediately contact your vet and cool them down by doing the following: apply rubbing alcohol to your pet’s paws, hose them down, apply ice packs to the groin area, and offer them Pedialyte (to restore electrolytes) or ice chips.