Complete Checklist for a Comfortable Flight with Your Dog Comprehensive checklist of things you need to ensure your dog has a safe and comfortable flight.

Complete Checklist for a Comfortable Flight with Your Dog

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Flying with a dog requires serious preparation. Right from selecting the right crate to carrying the necessary documents, follow this checklist for a smooth airport experience with your pet. Happy journey.

Leaving your precious pooch behind when traveling is a heartbreaking experience. Whether you are relocating or just going on a trip, you might have to catch a flight with your pet. Taking a flight causes a lot of stress for your dog. The combination of loud noises, weird smells, and too many people can be terrifying. You also need to have every detail in order when traveling with your dog otherwise the airlines may not permit your pet to fly at all. Airlines are very strict when it comes to flying with pets. This checklist will help you prepare for your flight.


Depending on where you are flying to you need to make sure you have given your dog all the vaccines they need. The basic vaccines, like rabies and DHPP, is a must for your dogs whether you choose to travel with them or not. If you are traveling to another country, you might need to give your dog some additional vaccines. Your dog might also have to be kept for quarantine for some time. Go through the vaccine requirements well ahead of your flight.

A Letter from Your Vet  

When you are traveling with your pet, you cannot risk their health. A visit to your vet allows you to get an assessment of your pet’s health. Without your vet certifying that your pet is fit to fly, no airline will board your pet. Take your pet to the vet a day before you fly. Once your vet checks your dog, they may recommend some medication to help your dog during the flight. Carry food that's easy to dispense during travel like the Nutrisource Small Bites Woodlands Select Dry Dog Food, the smaller kibble size makes them ideal tiny treats and meals.


You need to have a ton of paperwork in place when you are flying with dogs. You need to have papers to prove that your dog has had all the required vaccines and has spent time in quarantine (if required). Equally important is your vet’s letter clearing your dog for flight. If you want to carry your dog with you on the flight, then you need paper for that as well. Dogs over a certain size need to be boarded into the cargo hold unless they are support animals. You need to have paperwork declaring your dog as a support animal.


Reaching the airport without your tickets will ruin your trip from the get-go. If you are flying with your pet as a support animal, then you need to get a ticket for them as well. Along with your paperwork, you have to carry both of your tickets. Sending your dog in the cargo hold requires you to pay for extra baggage. The weight of your dog and their carrier combined is the amount of excess baggage you need to pay. The amount can be paid when you are buying your tickets.


Without the right crates, your dog will not be allowed on board. You need to buy an International Air Transport Association-approved crate. Putting your dog in any other crate is not safe for your dog. IATA crates can be strapped down during the flight for your dog’s safety. The size of the crate needs to be big enough for your dog to be comfortable in it. Your dog needs to be able to turn around and lie down in the crate. Take your dog to buy the crate and then let your dog get used to the crate before your journey.


When you are flying with a dog, you cannot put things inside the crate. You can attach your dog’s bowl to the crate. For long flight or flights with layovers, you need to provide a bowl so that the airline staff can give your dog some food or water.


Along with your bowl, you need to attach a packet of dry food that your dog is used to. Food is essential to attach since your dog might need it during their wait after the flight. The food can also be used as a treat to allow the airline staff to handle your dog if needed. Feeding your dog before the trip might lead to them throwing up. The food should be given to your dog after the flight.


There are dog water bottles that you can attach to your crate. Your dog can take a drink whenever they way. But it is advised not to put a water bottle inside the crate. Attach the bottle outside so that staff can give your dog water after the flight. Your dog might end up drinking too much water due to anxiety and throw up. Food and water should be given to your dog after the flight lands so attach both outside the crate.


Most vets will never recommend sedatives for the flight. This is mainly because pets often have difficulty in breathing in flight if they are sedated. Your vet, however, might recommend some medicine for nausea. Avoid feeding your pet an hour before the flight and give the medicine. Your dog might not want to take medication from anyone else so do not attach medication with your crate. If your dog is flying with you, then you can carry their medication with you.

Name Tags

Cases of dogs getting loose during or before flights are rare. The name of your dog, your name and your contact details must be present on the crate. Apart from the crate, you can attach a name tag with your contact details onto your dog’s collar. In case of an emergency, your contact details will allow people to reach you.


A leash or harness is a must when traveling with your dog. When you put your dog inside the crate, you need to open the leash as it might lead to entanglement. You need to attach it to the outside of your crate. Your dog needs to be always on the leash if they are flying with you. Keep a spare harness with you in case the one attached to the crate gets lost in transit.

With these things in your possession, you can ensure a safe flight for your dog.

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