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Taking a small dog on a plane: How it works

Chloe came from a breeder just outside San Diego, so the very first thing we needed to do with our new dog was fly with her from San Diego to Seattle. I went online for instructions, and found a lot of general advice but nothing detailed. Here are the details I wished for then. [Please check out my 4/30/10 guest post on Fido Friendly’s blog about flying with an in-cabin dog for a newer, and slightly more organized, version of this post.]

Before you go

Buy a good airplane carrier. I know they’re expensive, but a good one is worth the extra expense. If you travel a lot, you will be annoyed a lot by cheap materials, bad zippers and bad design in general.

Spend time getting your dog comfortable with her carrier. Leave it open on the floor of the room she ordinarily occupies, and encourage her to go into it to get extra-tasty treats. Lavish praise (and more treats) on her when she does. Toss a favorite toy inside, and praise her warmly when she retrieves it. In small steps, work towards getting her not to fret when you close her inside the carrier; when you pick her up in the carrier; and when you walk around the house with her in the carrier. Use the top hatch of your carrier, if it has one, to rain treats on your dog while she’s inside it. Take her in her carrier to fun places (to the dog park, for example, or to Petco) as well as to the vet and on airplanes, so she has no fixed associations with the carrier.

Some dogs don’t need a huge amount of acclimating — maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find that your dog is one of them. Four month-old Chloe, because of circumstances beyond everyone’s control, saw her carrier for the first time about 30 seconds before she got tucked into it for an all-day set of flights up the West Coast. She never made a peep in her carrier then, and hasn’t since.

Read Dog Jaunt’s travel check list and packing list! It will help you plan, pack and depart in an organized way.

The day of travel

If we have an early-morning flight, I don’t feed Chloe after her evening meal the night before. I usually pack late into the night, so before we go to bed I pick up her water as well. In the morning, we spend a long time in the side yard, making sure she pees and poops before we leave. If you can get a walk in, all the better, but it shouldn’t be so vigorous that she wants to gulp down water when she returns.

If we have a flight later in the day, I feed Chloe breakfast, and pick up her water about four hours before we leave for the airport. She gets a long walk in the morning; just before we leave, we spend a long time in the side yard.

I do not give Chloe a sedative. She’s a good traveler, and doesn’t need it. Although you can find vets and on-line resources on both sides of the argument, I am more convinced by the school of thought that regards sedatives as dangerous for small traveling pets. (Short-nosed dogs like pugs, French bulldogs, English toy spaniels, and Boston terriers absolutely should not have a sedative if they’re traveling as cargo.) Discuss the issue with your vet. Do not even consider dosing your dog yourself with a human sedative!!

Chloe has a SturdiProducts carrier, but the following steps should work for any good-quality carrier. I line the very bottom with an (unscented) weewee pad, then put in the carrier’s sheepskin floor pad. (Either the wee wee pad will catch leaks, or it will serve as a back-up if the DryFur pad on top gets soiled and has to be discarded.) On top of the sheepskin pad, I put a Dry Fur pad, and that’s the surface she’ll rest on during her travels. In with her goes a small comfort blanket or towel, a favorite soft toy and a bully stick. And then in goes Chloe, wearing her collar with ID and rabies tags.

In the end pocket of her carrier I put her harness and leash, a large Ziploc bag (to contain a soiled pad, if the worst happens), a collapsible travel bowl, a packet of treats, a roll of poop bags (for use during layovers), her health certificate and a copy of her shot record. Consider including a photo of your dog.

Remember to bring an empty water bottle with you, to be filled after you clear security.

Chloe rides to the airport in her carrier, because our timing is usually close by this point, and when we arrive at the airport parking lot I don’t want to be cramming her into her carrier while we’re getting bags onto the airport shuttle and stowing keys and car claim ticket. I’d rather get her in at home, in a familiar environment.

At the airport

At the airport, Chloe’s carrier rests by my feet while we pay for her and for extra bags (there’s always at least one, because she has a bag of her own to check). Only one ticket agent has ever asked to see her carrier; to date, no one has ever asked to see her health certificate (though she always has one — I don’t cut that particular corner). Consider asking for a middle seat, since they usually have the most under-seat room. [Update: Dozens of flights later, I know that the middle seat sometimes isn’t the best choice. Check out Dog Jaunt’s series of posts about which seats work best for an in-cabin dog.]

Recall that your dog in her carrier takes the place of your carry-on bag, so a solo traveler can only carry a dog and a “small personal item” — for me, a substantial but not heinous purse.

So now we’re down to my husband’s carry-on bag and small personal item, and my purse and Chloe in her carrier. It’s time to go through security. I recommend getting your computer into a bin, and your shoes and 3-1-1 bag and jacket into another, before you deal with your dog. Place your carrier on the belt behind your bins, unzip the opening, reach in and clip a leash on your dog’s collar and scoop her out into your arms. By now she may be reluctant to leave the carrier, so someone may have to hold it in place while you scoop. The leash is important, because you just don’t know how wigged out your dog might be at the airport, or if a sudden event in the security line might send her scrambling for “safety” and out of your arms.

The carrier will go on through the x-ray machine. You’ll walk through the metal detector holding your dog in your arms. In all likelihood, the alarm will go off (collar and leash, after all). Consider asking to be wanded, rather than taking off her collar and leash — the latter is faster, but you’ll have a whole new set of problems if your completely naked, wigged-out dog leaps out of your arms and takes off down the concourse. (TSA has no problem with the wanding option, so don’t be shy about asking. In fact, the TSA folks generally melt into a pile of goo when they see Chloe.)

After you get the all clear, put your dog back into her carrier right away, unclipping her leash only after she’s fully inside. At this point, the carrier will be her safe place, so she’ll shoot right back in. Then collect computer, shoes, jacket, etc.

Fill your water bottle at a water fountain.

There’s nothing special about waiting at the gate and boarding the plane with a dog, except that if the gate area is crowded, be thoughtful and put your dog’s carrier on the floor under your feet, not on the seat next to you.

On the plane

The next time your usual routine will change is when you take your seat on the plane. Keep in mind that your dog’s carrier will completely occupy the under-seat area, and take your book, bottle of water, neck pillow, etc. out of your small personal item and toss them onto your seat. Put your gutted SPI into the overhead compartment and push your dog’s carrier fully under the seat in front of you.

During the flight, and especially if you have understanding seat mates (deploy your adorable dog photo while you’re taxiing and climbing out), you can move your dog’s carrier out a bit and under your feet, or even onto your lap, but you cannot take your dog out of her carrier. At most, I will unzip the carrier just enough to stick my arm in to rest against Chloe. She’s snoozing, but I think she appreciates the gesture.

During the course of the flight, I will drop several of her favorite treats into her carrier, and I will give her ice cubes in her collapsible bowl or in the palm of my hand. I want her to have enough water not to be dehydrated, but not so much that she has to pee. (The bottle of water is in case she seems thirsty between beverage services. Also, I’ve used a bottle of water to wash salt off Chloe’s paws during one winter layover in Denver.)

If you have a layover

If at all possible, take a direct flight. If you just can’t, schedule a substantial layover — at least an hour, and preferably an hour and a half or more — so that you and your dog can exit the airport, find a pet relief area, and re-enter through security to find your departure gate.

Remember to empty your water bottle before re-entering! I can’t tell you how vexing it is to be on a tight schedule with a dog, and see your SPI being taken off the belt for a hand check. You know right away what they’re checking for, and it means going back out to the terminal, dumping out your water bottle, getting back in the security line….

Re-fill your water bottle once you’ve cleared security.

When you arrive at your destination

If you are traveling with a companion, one of you can collect your bags and the other can take your dog out for a well-deserved comfort stop and a good drink of water. If I’m traveling by myself, I consider the distance to that airport’s pet relief area (or the closest patch of grass) and assess how pressing Chloe’s need is. It is more convenient to give her a quick walk before collecting my luggage, but sometimes that’s just not practical.

64 comments

  • AM

    I just wanted to say how very helpful your advice was on our recent plane trip! It is such fun to be able to bring our dog traveling with us!

  • Isn’t it fun?! I wouldn’t call it easy, even after doing it for a while, but I also wouldn’t call it hard — and the rewards are huge. I love having Chloe with us, and I’m thrilled to death that you’re traveling with your pup. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Megan

    thank you so much for this step-by-step guide on flying with a pet!! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for as I prepare for my first flight with baby kitty Lucy!

  • Thanks so much for your comment, Megan! I really appreciate it — I remember how bewildered I was the first time I flew with a pet (our massive cat Otto), and I’m glad to make the process easier for someone else.

  • Kate L

    We are taking our 2 small dogs in-cabin with us in about a month. The only problem is we are military and we are moving overseas on an assignment, so we can’t leave things at home. I understand my dog’s carrier is my carry-on and I’m only allowed a purse or a laptop. Do you think I could have a laptop-backpack? I just can’t figure out how I’m supposed to hand-carry all the documents, my personal things that are normally in my purse, AND my laptop….everything I’ve read says not to put a purse or a laptop in checked luggage- so they really don’t leave a lot of options lol. Any advice?

  • Hi, Kate — How exciting!! I think it’ll work fine — your pups will be in carriers under your feet, but you can each put another small “personal item” up in the bin. That personal item is supposed to be purse-sized, but given that you are actually using your under-seat space for one of your “bags,” unlike most people, I feel that your purse-sized item could be a darned big purse — yes, even daypack-sized. I’d slip my laptop in that daypack, along with my other personal items, and stow that above me. As I’ve mentioned in another post, I also wear a travel vest with lots of pockets (check out the Scott E Vest, for example), to carry my documents and phone and wallet and water bottle and iPad and etc. — all the stuff I’d like to be able to reach during flight.
    Every good wish to you guys with your move and your new assignment, and safe travels!

  • Marianne

    I will be flying alone from CT to FL in March with my 11 month old JRT with whom I will have spent approx. 1 month getting to know. Any chance you could accompany me? Just kidding. This article really helped get the lay of the land. In fact I am seriously considering sending my (usually) carry-on suitcase ahead with my husband and just managing my dog, the carrier and my backpack (with laptop). We don’t have any grass at our airport so that alone is of some concern, but, hey, that’s what poop bags are for, right? Our pet relief area is outside the airport terminal, which sounds like once through security, we had better rely on pee pads. Think I will start my dog in his carrier when I first get him, so he’s OK with it and also on pee pads in the lady’s room. The vest you mentioned sounds interesting as well. Keep the ideas coming. Your site is the best resource for flying with our dogs.

  • Maureen and Lola

    Gosh, this was a wealth of information. I was sweating over the 2 carry on’s (dog & laptop), and was wondering if I would ultimately have to choose – lol; Lola is 3 lbs. and quiet – After security, I could put her under my jacket and no one would know; she would be very comfortable; I know this is not a good idea or even possible – but in another world… maybe!

  • Hi, Maureen — Lola does sound tiny AND quiet, but you really don’t have to go to that extreme. Heck, given what a small carrier she’d fit in, you’d likely have room for your laptop under the seat next to her. Otherwise, however, you could put her under the seat, pull out your laptop to use en route, and put your carry-on over your head.

    Just thinking about how easy a 3-lb. dog would be makes me sigh (though, of course, I would never, never think disloyal thoughts about my 13-lb. Chloe).

  • Emily

    You’re blog has given me so much hope. I’m a person who is lost now that I’m petless (Melody the cat crossed the Rainbow Bridge on the Ides of March, 2011, I love you Melsie, Mama’s coming). But, now my husband and I must travel internationally and I want a pet I can take with me. We thought it was impossible, but your blog gives me hope I might one day hav e a furry baby again.

  • Oh, Emily, my dear lady — Absolutely, yes, you can travel abroad with your new small dog. I’m so sorry for your loss, and so glad that the blog has given you the encouragement you need to think about adding a new love to your life.

  • Maureen and Lola

    Hello Mary-Alice, just wanted to update you on our little adventure. Lola’s debut on Southwest was a success. Not a peep out of her the whole flight. When we went to deplane, I lifted the carrier up from the seat and unzipped just enough so she could stick her head out. And then came the oohh’s and ahhh’s from some of the nearby passengers, which of course we love. Most could not believe there was a dog right near them all that time. And thank you Southwest. No extra commotion checking dog tags, papers, size.. anything. Thank you for all your advice; keep it up. Maureen

  • I am so happy to hear that, Maureen!! Thanks for the report — I think it really helps other readers to hear from people who AREN’T me about the process and how it works.

  • dianne

    This information is great! I am so pleased to have found your site!

    I’ll admit that I am very nervous to fly with my puppy (for the first time). He likes his carrier when he can enter and leave freely. When I shut the door, I worry that he is going to bark/cry himself into a heart attack! I have been following suggestions for getting a pet used to a kennel, but it just does not seem to be working so far. We are flying internationally in three weeks!

  • Oh, Dianne, how stressed you must be! Keep trying the classic things — take him fun places in the carrier, pour treats down on him while he’s in it, feed him his meals in it — and consider adding in some calming sprays (D.A.P. is one, TravelCalm from EarthHeart is another), or drops in his water (some people swear by Rescue Remedy). Some people feel that a Thundershirt has done their nervous dog a world of good. And if you’re at your wits’ end, talk to your vet about a mild tranquilizer. They’re not generally recommended, but they may be necessary in your pup’s case, and a good vet will help you choose a medicine and a dosage that works for your dog. Fingers crossed for you!!

  • Michelle

    I see you have been with Chloe thru Charles de Gaulle. Do you know if you are in transit there (changing from flight in from Madagascar; going out to US) are you considered in transit from perspective of requirement for papers? My daughter has cat and has been living there. Has all papers required by US, but now (at last hour) is hearing from a clinic in Mad. that she has also to meet EU requirements..which she will unlikely be able to do at last minute…any thoughts?

  • Hello, Michelle — I’m so sorry for the delay in responding! I consulted with the vet tech who organizes international health certificates at my vet’s office, and she confirmed what I suspected: If you do not leave the airport, you do not need a health certificate for a transit country. The tricky part arises if you’re somehow delayed in that country — you’ll need to stay at the airport instead of leaving and spending the night in Paris, for example.

  • Bri

    Thanks so much for this information. I am preparing to take my dog home to the States after living in Korea for two years. It’s exciting to be able to bring her with but I’ve never flown with an animal and was apprehensive about it. You’ve answered so many of my questions {especially about potty time!}

  • Nan

    Your site is wonderful! So much great information!

    We have an opportunity to go to Puerta Vallarta this spring and of course want our Mini-Schnauzer to accompany us. She’s about 15 lbs., about 15″ tall, and about 16-1/2″ long. We’ve been concerned she may be a little too big for cabin travel. I’ve read about the Sleepy Pod Air traveler and it seems a possibility. (Airline would be Alaska/Horizon.)

    Would appreciate any input you can offer.

  • Hi, Nan! Like Chloe, your pup is pushing the envelope, but I think it’s doable. I’d get the large SturdiBag — the Air is a marvelous bag, but too short for your pup (it’s a little too short, in fact, for Chloe, who’s about 12″ tall at the shoulders). The SturdiBag is officially too large for Alaska/Horizon, but it will certainly compress to 10″ tall, as you can show them in the airport, and in all likelihood your pup can too for the brief period she really needs to be completely under the seat (during takeoff and landing). Let us know how it goes!

  • Kari

    Thank you for the information. I’m wondering if I’m allowed to walk my dog on a leash at the airport before and after the flight? I will be using IAH and PDX airports. I can’t find any information on this anywhere…

    Thank you!

  • Hi, Kari! Typically, the answer is no, unless, of course, your dog is a service dog. There are some rare exceptions, none of which come to mind right now. I’d call the airports and ask (and I will myself, tomorrow), but I wouldn’t hold my breath….

  • Kari

    Thank you, I couldn’t find it in the airport policy. I did travel out of Houston Hobby with Jasmine and I had a stroller for her and then her pet carrier. She is about 18lbs cavalieer, so she gets heavy. I walked her around at the gate on her leash and nobody said anything until I was barding the plane and the gate agent was a little crabby, and told me she was suppose to be on her leash….I took her stroller with her in it down the jet way and then put her in her bag and checked the stroller at gate check. She did great! I’m traveling alone and am going to try and only use the pet carrier and stroll her on my carry on bag…I am going to let her off her leash at the gate and hold her and see if anyone says anything and I will let you know…She can move around in her bag, but it’s a little snug….

  • Kari

    I thought I should drop a line about my trip from Houston IAH to Portland PDX airports. Everything went well, I flew Continental I checked in and I paid $125.00 each way for my little Jasmine to go under the seat. She did very well both ways. I left her in her bag in the Houston Airport. When I was coming home after going through security in PDX the TSA agent asked me if she could see her walk on her leash because she was so cute. I asked her if that was ok for her to be on her leash and she told me as long as she dosn’t pee or poop in the airport she is fine on her leash. So I let her walk to the gate and she sat on a chair next to me and on my lap waiting for the airplane. Everyone loved to see her and pet her. When it was time to get on the plane, she went in her bag and we had a great flight!

    On my way to Portland, I actually took her out of her bag a couple of times to hold her, the flight attendants were very nice and just said as soon as she’s finished getting her drink she needed to get back in her bag.

    I didn’t take her out of her bag on the way home because I knew she would not want to go back in her bag and I want her to learn that she needs to stay in her bag on the flight…

    Also note, that Continental now United told me when I made the reservation for her I asked about medical papers, vac records and they told me that their was a new law and that in the US, there are no papers required that they need to see. Also, she said that when the pet is a carry on, you get a total of 3 carry on’s…your pet, a regular carry on plus a personal item.

    Just an fyi…now that Continental is United, I guess I will have to check United’s pet policy:)

    Have a great day!

  • Wow, Kari, great news! The travel gods surely did smile on you — letting you walk her at Houston, not scolding you for having her out on the plane, and telling you a totally wrong thing about the carry-on allowance 😉 The United web site still says “An in-cabin pet may be carried in lieu of a carry-on bag and is subject to a $125.00 service charge each way,” so no one else should get their hopes up. I love hearing stories like yours — obviously you’re a careful traveler (I like your approach, getting her in the habit of being in the carrier), and good people and good things happened to you. Love it.

  • Tanna

    How early should i arrive at the airport? The people from frontier said two hours with my dog, but do i really need to arrive that early?

  • Hi, Tanna! It takes maybe five minutes longer to “check in” an in-cabin dog and, say, tops, another five minutes longer to negotiate security with her — I’d add about 15 minutes to the time you normally arrive early at the airport.

  • Amy

    I LOVE your blog! I can’t believe my good fortune in coming across it & I think I’ve read almost (if not all) of it regarding traveling with pets on planes! I have to wear an ear patch myself & take Xanax because I just cannot handle motion at all! After not having traveling since the late 90’s I was pleased when we went on a trip to Vegas in March and I had zero problems going there or back. Whew! That being said – I’m still a little nervous of flying with our papillon/chi mix this August to Virginia. She’s 10″ high at the shoulders, probably 14″ long (?) and about 12 lbs, so I’m thinking of the large studibag, although I like that the Bergan Comfort bag has the separate zipper so you can reach your hand in for a pat. 🙂

    Outside of that decision, I’m still looking for information on how to transport treats and dog food. It sounds like treats can be in a ziploc bag for carryon? And if you want to take carrots it sounds like they can’t be peeled according to TSA – do people just break them into pieces on the plane then?

    We’ll be staying in the area a few days, then driving home (across many states). I’d prefer to bring our own bag of pet food so that question then becomes is it okay to just put that bag of food in your checked baggage? (Like a 5 lb bag of course, nothing huge).

    We want to do as little as possible to set off any alarm bells of course so any advice is greatly appreciated! (Just praying she doesn’t whine so we might try the Comfort Zone or similar products).
    Thank you so much!!

  • Amy, please forgive my delay in replying! Let’s see — your girl should fit beautifully in the large SturdiBag, and one of its best features is that it has a zippered hatch in its “roof” that you can reach through. If you’re only planning a flight or two with her, the Bergan is a good cost-conscious choice, but if you plan to make this a habit (hope so!), I’d invest in the SturdiBag. It’s better-made. Re treats: I carry ours in a little ziploc bag in my pocket. I don’t see any problem with packing pre-peeled carrot pieces at all — lucky you for having a dog that likes them! Re dog food: Yes, it’s just fine to pack a bag of your dog’s food, either in your carry-on (which might be safest, in case your checked bag is lost for a day or two — or you might carry on a small bag of food, to tide you over, and pack the bulk of it in your checked bag). Crossing state lines with dog food is no problem; crossing country borders requires research. Hope that helps — let me know if other things are on your mind, and I’ll try harder to answer timely! And have fun!!!

  • Amy

    Thanks, Mary-Alice! I did purchase the SturdiBag and am quite happy with it. Annie went right in and laid down. Whew – that’s one hurdle! So hopefully she’ll trust Mommy enough when we go on the plane to just relax knowing my feet are right by her (normally she chews her way out of anything mesh if left alone, so we’re still practicing having the bag zipped up a little bit at a time). And thanks for the tips on the dog food and treats. That helps a lot as I just wasn’t sure how it was looked at by TSA if not in original packaging. We’ll be sure to have some in carryon, some in checked. Blessings on your travels!

  • mary toohey

    thank you so much for all the wonderful tips. I have an `11 lb yorkie who does not like the carrier. He likes to be a free spirit even at the groomers. he barks so she lets him walk around. we are going for a month and didn’t want to leave him with anyone, we never kennel him, but the flight is 4 hrs if allgoes well. I will try your tips and thank you so much.

  • Bill

    About taking your dog through TSA. Nowadays they DO have a problem with the Wanding Option–with the advent of the new machines they no longer do it. On our first trip with our dog in the cabin I carried her, as you suggest, collared, harnessed, and leashed through the machine. Her metal bits set it off as you expected but the option wasnt a wanding. It was a full scale, cheerful, pat down. She enjoyed it a lot, I put up with it. I should have taken off her collar, harness, leash and put them through the xray belt and then carried her through. Im not sure how I would have held my hands up though.
    Otherwise the PDX to DCA flight on AK Air went fine. It helped having your advice. She slept in Sleepypod (they should give you a commission) for 3+ hrs and was ok in our laps for the rest. And it helped having a 1st class upgrade. There’s no pet area at DCA; we dodged two lanes of cars & cabs outside of bag claim to find a patch of unpaved ground where she was pleased to label the grass and meet a couple of others like us–she decorated the sidewalk immediately on getting out the door and I was glad I had a bag and could find a receptacle that wasnt for recyclables.

  • Thanks so much for the comment and info, Bill! I too have backed off leaving Chloe’s leash attached — she now just goes through security with her collar, which, even though it has tags on it, doesn’t set off the alarms. I haven’t had that puppy pat-down happen yet — thank goodness Chloe, like your pup, is willing to be patted down. I can imagine that some dogs, already revved up by the airport experience, would dislike the option.

  • Cheryl

    Hi! Just thought I would jump in, regarding DCA and a pet relief area. DCA is my home airport; there actually are a couple of designated pet relief areas here. We are taking our dachshund/yorkie mix on her first flight this Christmas and did a dry run with her yesterday, which included locating pet relief. The areas we located are outside security. I’m not certain how clear or specific the signage is if you are arriving and looking for pet relief, however, for Terminals C and B, if you follow the signs to the Metro/pedestrian bridges on the concourse level, the pet relief areas are opposite the Metro entrances. In fact, if you get onto the 2nd people mover heading out to the parking garages, you have gone too far. Conversely, if you departing from DCA, the pet relief areas are between the two people movers you access from the parking garage.

    The two relief areas for B and C are decent size, mostly concrete, with patches of grass and some bushes. Waste disposal is available. The Metro runs almost directly over this area, so if you have a nervous dog, be aware of the loud, frequent noise.

    I understand there are two pet relief areas available for Terminal A, as well, but have no personal knowledge of location or features.

    Thank you so much for all of the information your site provides. I am admittedly nervous about this new experience of flying with our dog in-cabin, but excellent sites like yours have really allowed me to do good homework and get her (and her anxious mama!) prepped to fly 🙂

  • Carmen

    Thanks so much for all the info!! My husband and I are traveling for the first time with our 14-lb Cavalier King Charles Spaniel today (OKC to LAX) and I am so nervous! He is very calm and good, I am mostly concerned about the airline not letting him on board (I know he is at the upper limit on the size of dog that can fly in cabin). Your blog is so helpful!

  • Hello, Carmen! I hope it went okay — I fully expect that it did, since your pup is Chloe’s size, and the calm and good part is nine-tenths of the battle!

  • Carmen

    We are successfully in Cali now, though there was a dicey moment at the check in counter where the lady was not convinced that Jack could stand comfortably in his carrier. She let us through though, and he was the picture perfect passenger. Now, we just need to win over the check in employees for the flight back and we will be good to go! Thanks for all your help!

  • Carmen

    We made it back! The lady at the American Airlines counter at LAX didn’t even look at Jack’s carrier, just took our money and sent us on our way. 🙂

  • Laura

    Findlay (westie, 18lbs) and I flew across country for the second year to spend our holidays with family, very successfully indeed. We are beginning to feel like pro travelers!

    Is it truly the case that in-cabin pets do not need a health certificate? Once again, no one asked for or checked our paperwork. It would be nice to save that bit of money and trip to the vet if it’s really not necessary.

    Also, I’m learning that the small amount of metal on his collar does not set off the metal detector as we passed through security several times without having to remove it. Small but nice thing to not have to worry about a naked dog escaping your grasp and running through the airport!

  • Hi, Laura! Hardly any U.S. airlines still require health certificates for in-cabin pets — Alaska and perhaps United are the only ones left. It is a big cost savings. I would carry with you, though, your pup’s current shot record, in case you suddenly have to board him. And hooray about his collar! Chloe’s clasp is plastic, and the little metal loop that holds her tags doesn’t set off the detector, so we too bring her through with collar on.

  • Esther

    This blog has been a God send as I prep for my first trip with my Franklin.

    I took your advice and got him a large sturdibag which he has taken to nicely (thanks to his never ending food motivation) but when i try to move or pick up his bag with him in it he freaks out, stands upand starts shaking. I try to calm him but he wont have it. Any suggestions on how to get him to adjust? Does any dog like to be moved around in their bag?

    Thanks for the endless advice!

  • Oh, Esther, it can be hard. I would take it REALLY gradually, and shower him with really high-quality treats, like bits of cheese or chicken. You might also consider a Thundershirt for him while he’s in the carrier — Chloe’s does seem to make her more tranquil (her issue is unexplained hotel noises). Consider a pheromone spray like D.A.P., or the D.A.P. collar. But above all, cheerful, confident, loving tones from you; BABY steps towards progress; and awesome treats. Fingers crossed….

  • Esther

    Thanks again for the advice. We have about a month before the flight so hopfully I can get him used to the movement (Of course our flights fly in and out of the furthest gates in the terminals!). Hopfully extra treats do the trick!!
    I knew it would be a challenge to travel for the 1st time with a dog of advanced age, just hope he trusts me and adjust so he can have a good time with me!

  • Mary

    Getting ready to fly with my 2 yr old morkie -mix of maltese and yorkie. She does bark and is getting better. Wonder if anyone has ever had to place a muzzle on their dog she will probably whine more than bark. All the suggestions are wonderful!! Thanks for the bog! Also, has anyone used a sedative for their dog prescribed by their Vet? Thanks!

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