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Traveling with a Dog: 7 Tips to Ensure Safety and Comfort During a Flight

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Bringing their four-legged friend on a trip abroad is a dream for most dog owners.

However, the thought of boarding a plane may not be such a welcome idea for your beloved pooch. Without proper preparation, airline pet travel can be stressful for a dog, especially for first-timers.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable flying experience for your pooch, here are important tips to consider:

1. Microchip your pet

Microchipping your dog is important for identification and is required in many countries. Don’t forget to add your contact information on his or her collar tag as an additional precaution. In case your dog gets lost during travel, his or her microchip and the collar tag will help the one who found him or her get in touch with you.

2. Look into your destination’s import requirements

If you plan to travel internationally by plane, you may need a pet passport for the country you’re going to. There are some countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia that have quarantine policies that can range from six months and up.

To prevent your dog from getting quarantined, do your research way ahead of time about the different host country requirements.

3. Find an airline that allows pets

You don’t want to end up arriving at the airport knowing that your dog can’t fly with you. Make a list of airlines that allow pets on board. Once you have listed down several airlines that you can choose from, examine their individual pet policies.

When it comes to pricing and pet policies, each airline is different. Select an airline that suits both yours and your pet’s needs. Don’t forget to print out the pet policy of your chosen airline for a hassle-free experience at the airport.

Determine whether your pet will fly in the cabin or in the cargo area. This will depend greatly on the size and breed of your dog. If your pooch is small enough to travel with in the cabin, you will need an airline compliant pet carrier.

Be prepared to pay extra

Bringing a pet with you to travel by air does not come cheap. Set aside a budget for your trip and see if you have the financial capability to bring your dog along. If not, it may be best to spend your vacation somewhere near where you don’t need to ride a plane.

4. Visit your vet

You have to pay your vet a visit to get a health certificate. Although not all airlines may require it, it’s better to travel with your pet’s latest health certificate. Make sure to complete this less than 14 days before your departure date.

The health certificate will prove that:

  • Your dog is up-to-date on exams and immunizations.
  • Your dog is free from ticks, fleas, and other diseases contagious to humans and other animals.

Sedative as a last option

If you have a nervous dog, only use sedatives as a last resort under the administration of a vet. You know your pet best. If you think sedatives will traumatize him or her, do away with it.

5. Groom and feed in advance

Grooming your dog before travel will help him or her feel and look better.

Make sure to cut back on your dog’s food and feed him or her two hours before the flight. Ensure that your pooch stays hydrated and take him or her for a long walk before going to the airport.

6. Make sure your pup has the right temperament

Not all dogs can travel easily. Canines with high anxiety levels may not be fine to take with you on an airplane. If this is the case, flying is not worth the stress on your poor dog.

There are some airlines that require dogs to be well-trained or quiet to fly. This is because vocal dogs are not good for passengers’ ears in a small aircraft. If you think your pooch doesn’t have the right temperament to handle a flight, do him or her a favor and travel by land.

There are many resorts that accept dogs so that you both can enjoy the beach. When you book a hotel, make sure to ask in advance whether your pup is welcome to come along with you.

7. Pack all dog necessities

It’s crucial that you make sure your pooch has enough water, food, toys, and treats for your entire vacation. Bring a non-spill water carrier and a bone to keep your dog entertained during the long flight.

After the long preparation and you’ve finally, successfully boarded a plane, being able to travel with your furry pal will all be worth it.

As long as you keep in mind the tips mentioned here, you can enjoy a pleasant and safe flight together with your per, and focus on the holiday itself.


Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.