So, you have a strong taste for adventure and are bitten by the travel bug often OR maybe you want to visit your grandma who lives across the country, whatever the reason, many dog parents want to take their pups with them on their trips. I am a nervous flyer and if you are anything like me, having my dogs with me just brings a sense of comfort and familiarity. However, if you are flying, there are many policies/fees/information you should know about before your dog can become your travel buddy. This article will cover everything you need to know about flying with your dog and the specific dog breeds that can fly in cabin.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible depending on your dog’s breed, age, size, weight, and even anatomy (yes, it’s true, snub-nosed dogs are banned on some airplanes due to their heightened sensitivity to certain air changes).
Understanding Your Airline’s Pet Policies
Flying with your pup could be a breeze, or it could be a turbulence-filled nightmare. The difference? Yep, you guessed it. The airline’s pet policy. Before you pack your pet carrier, decipher your airline’s rules and guidelines as some airlines roll out the red carpet for your dog, while others might relegate them to the cargo hold.
Here are some popular airlines just for reference. Make sure to do your research before buying tickets. Here are some major airlines information for reference:
- American Airlines: No strangers to the needs of pet owners, American Airlines welcomes small pets in the airplane cabin. However, this is possible only if your pet dog meets the weight limit and has the appropriate health certificate. You can read all about their pet policy here.
- United Airlines: United Airlines has a reputation for being a pet-friendly airline. With only a few exceptions, they accept small pets and even larger dogs for domestic and international flights but have specific restrictions for snub-nosed breeds, which are at a higher risk in high altitudes. If interested, check out their pet travel policy here.
- Delta Air Lines: If you are a frequent flyer of Delta Air Lines, you’re in luck. They also allow small dogs to stay with you in the cabin (under your seat in a kennel. Make sure to read their policies as they do have certain age requirements as well.
- Alaska Airlines: According to their website, small dogs are allowed in the passenger cabin $100 USD each way.
- Hawaiian Airlines: If soaking in all the beautiful island views of Hawaii are in your plans, check out their pet policy here. Hawaii is the only U.S state that is rabies free so they have very strict policies in that area. Make sure to read them thoroughly.
Remember, each airline has its own rules and guidelines. Make sure to contact customer service or read their airline’s pet policy before you buy your tickets.
Now we are on to the good stuff. Keep reading to discover the best dog breeds for air travel.
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Can’t take your dog with you in cabin due to their size? Don’t want them to have to fly in cargo? Dog boarding can be an option if you decide to leave your precious pup at home. Read our guide to boarding your dog here.
Selecting the Right Breed for Air Travel
Choosing a dog who can comfortably accompany you on your air travel adventures can be a challenge. Hence, here are some small dog breeds that can fly in cabin:
Dog Breeds that Can Fly in Cabin
- Yorkshire Terriers are extremely small in size and are generally well-behaved, making them ideal companions for most flights. Their weight limit accompanies the airline seat standards quite well, making them an easy dog to bring alongside your travels.
- Pomeranians are lively fluffy pups that would make a food flying companion because of their small size and weight. Many Pomeranians will have no trouble fitting in a well-ventilated pet carrier.
- These fluffy white dogs are small enough to fit comfortably inside a pet carrier under the airline seat. The breed is known for being quiet and well-behaved, ideal traits for a long trip.
- If you are a dedicated poodle lover (like my family- my parents have 4 and my sister has 2) then a toy poodle will be great choice for a dog that can fly in cabin with you. My mom’s dogs weigh less than 5 pounds so she is able to take them many places without many people noticing them. She often peruses around Lowes with them in hand, no problem. Toy Poodles will clear any airline weight and size restrictions. Poodles are also a highly intelligent breed.
- Papillions usually weigh 10 pounds or less and can easily fit a dog carrier in-cabin.
- They are known for their friendly and adaptable nature. They tend to be well-behaved and can adjust to the confined space of an airplane cabin, reducing the likelihood of disruptive behavior during the flight.
- Due to their small size, Maltese dogs are easy to carry and transport. They won’t weigh you down or cause logistical challenges when moving through the airport, and their small stature makes them an ideal choice for in-cabin travel.
- Their relatively quiet nature can be a blessing during a flight, as it reduces the likelihood of noise complaints from fellow passengers and helps maintain a peaceful cabin atmosphere.
Westies and Daschunds
- These dogs may be able to fly in cabin with you depending on their size. These dogs can be anywhere from 10 pounds to 23 pounds depending on the specific dog. Just be cautious and look up the specific airline’s weight limit before taking these pups with you.
Choosing one of these agile and highly trainable dogs will likely result in a peaceful and enjoyable flight. However, each dog is unique, and their behavior can vary. If it’s your first time flying with your pup, ensure you prepare them well for the journey.
Remember to take into account any specific requirements from different airlines. It’s crucial to consider your pet dog’s weight and the size of the pet carrier. It must meet the regulations of the airline and fit under the airplane seat.
Lastly, remember that even the best dog breeds for air travel can experience distress due to high altitudes and loud noises from the aircraft. It’s crucial to consult with your vet and get a health certificate before the flight. This ensures your beloved pet is fit enough for such travel.
Keep in mind, choosing dog breeds that can fly in cabin involves a careful consideration of factors such as breed size, health risks, airline regulations, and the individual temperament of your pet. By considering these aspects, dog owners can ensure a safe and comfortable flying experience with their small pets.
Preparing Your Pet for The Flight
Ensuring your dog is well-prepared for air travel is crucial for a smooth journey. Here’s a list of some essential steps to undertake before the big travel day.
- To ensure your pup is fit for travel, most airlines will require a health certificate signed by a qualified vet.
- The certificate usually documents that your pet is up-to-date with their vaccinations, free of contagious diseases, and generally healthy enough for flight.
- It’s best to schedule a vet appointment at least a week before your travel date.
- You should choose a pet carrier that fits under the airplane seat and that your pet can comfortably stand, turn around, and lie down in.
- According to airline’s pet policy, the carrier should be secure, ventilated, and have a waterproof bottom.
- For the pet’s comfort and security, it’s recommended to get them used to the carrier a few weeks before the flight. You can do this by letting them sleep or spend time in the carrier at home, so they become familiar with it.
Understanding the Weight Limit
- Weight restrictions vary across airlines and depend on whether your pet will be flying in the cabin or the cargo hold.
- Always check your airline’s specific requirements beforehand to avoid any inconvenience at the ticket counter.
- Remember, the weight of the pet carrier will also be considered, so this isn’t just about your dog’s weight.
Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals
- You may be allowed to travel with your service dogs or emotional support animals in the cabin, under normal circumstances.
- But, it’s important to check the airline’s pet policy and potentially provide proof of your pet’s status and training to customer service before the flight.
The Right Diet
- To avoid your pet getting sick during the flight, it’s often recommended to not feed them for a few hours before the flight.
- However, small amounts of water are encouraged to keep them from getting dehydrated.
Remember to play with your pet and give them plenty of exercise before the flight. This helps them burn off extra energy and will hopefully result in them resting during the trip.
Read this post on some ideas to tire out your dog if you need some ideas. Make sure to also pack a few of their favorite toys for comfort, and naturally, don’t forget about their favorite treats!
With these smart preparations, you’re all set for a happy and hassle-free journey with your pup in tow!
Considerations for International and Domestic Flights
Traveling with your pet can vary greatly based on whether you’re embarking on a domestic or international journey. Each comes with its own rules, regulations, and challenges, which are highlighted below:
- Domestic travel within the United States, for instance, can be a smoother process. This is largely because the rules tend to be more standardized across states.
- However, you should still check with your specific airline for any unique rules or restrictions they may have.
- It is also important to plan your flight schedule to avoid extreme weather conditions, which can occur in the cargo area.
- International travel comes with its own set of rules, which can vary by country. Checking the specific requirements for your destination is critical.
- Be prepared to provide proof of vaccinations and health certificates upon landing.
- Be aware that certain countries may have quarantine requirements for incoming pets.
- Some airlines do not allow pets in the cabin on international flights, so you should always check these specific conditions.
- The EU has specific regulations for traveling with pets, including mandatory microchipping and rabies vaccinations.
- Also, specific breeds, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, have restrictions in certain EU countries.
- Traveling to Puerto Rico with pets involves acquiring a health certificate issued by a vet and endorsed by the USDA.
- If traveling from a different country, it will be required, in most cases, that your pet has proof of a current rabies vaccination.
- New Zealand has stringent pet import regulations which include a mandatory quarantine period, which you must be prepared for.
Remember, the most important thing when traveling internationally with your pet is research. Understanding and meeting the entry requirements, researching the best pet-friendly airlines, and learning about possible health risks in your destination will be key for a successful trip with your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Breeds that Can Fly in Cabin
What are some dog breeds that can fly in cabin?
Small breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier, Bichon Frise, Toy Poodle, Pomeranian, and Papillons are considered excellent choices for air travel. They are usually within the weight restrictions set by airlines and can comfortably fit in an airline-approved pet carrier.
Can larger dogs fly in the cabin?
In most cases, airlines determine whether a dog can fly in the cabin based on the size of the dog and the carrier. Oftentimes, medium or larger dog breeds will need to travel in the cargo hold due to their size and the potential for respiratory problems at high altitudes.
What preparations are needed for a dog to fly?
Before your pet’s flight, ensure you have an up-to-date health certificate from your vet. Next, choose an airline-approved pet carrier that fits under your airplane seat. Also, take note of weight limits set by airlines for carry-on pets.
Are there differences in pet travel policies between domestic and international flights?
Yes, international flights often have stricter regulations compared to domestic flights, requiring additional health documentation or specific carrier types. It’s crucial to research your airline’s pet policies for both domestic and international flights beforehand.
What are the possible health risks for dogs during air travel?
High altitudes can pose a risk to dogs, especially breeds with short snouts (brachycephalic breeds) or pre-existing health conditions. There is a higher risk of respiratory distress and overheating, which is why small, non-snub-nosed breeds are recommended for air travel.
Flying with your does not need to be a daunting task. With the right breed and preparation, flying with your small dog can be smooth sailing. The key pointers to remember from this article are:
- Know your airline’s pet policies: Each airline, be it American Airlines, United Airlines, or Delta Air Lines, has its regulations regarding pet travel. Do your research to avoid last-minute inconveniences.
- Prepare your pet for the flight: Acquiring a health certificate and selecting an appropriate pet carrier in line with the airlines’ weight limit are crucial steps.
- Distinguish between international and domestic flights: Be aware of specific requirements by airlines for different destinations. Note the differences between regulations in Puerto Rico, the United States, the European Union, and New Zealand.