By Chloe Mulliner, on August 10, 2017

8 Top pet travel FAQs, answered

Note: With COVID-19, it’s important to stay safe and practice social distancing. We hope you find the following content entertaining, inspiring, or useful for a future trip. Always research official websites for up-to-date information on closures and new health and safety policies as businesses and destinations reopen.

You don’t care what anyone says, Fido and Fluffy are a big part of your life. They’re family, and there’s no way you’d make a big move or go on vacation without them along for the adventure.

But just because you’ve got a four-legged crew, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck grounded, only taking road trips or moving to a place within driving distance. As long as you follow the correct procedures, you can take your pets to the sky!

We know you’ve got a lot of questions surrounding how to travel with your pet, and we’ve got the answers. Whether you’re flying to one of the nation’s most pet-friendly cities, such as San Diego, or venturing across the pond with your pup, we’ve tackled your top pet travel FAQs.

What do I need to do to travel with my dog?
One of the top tips for traveling with pets of any kind is to first consult with your veterinarian for the best plan of action. Some vets may suggest thunder jackets, calming collars, or even medication to help reduce the stress on your pet. Also, your pets may need to get up to date on vaccines and check-ups.


Next, do some research to determine the regulations regarding traveling with Spot or Mr. Whiskers. If you’re traveling within the U.S., schedule a visit with your veterinarian 10 days before your flight to receive a health certificate, which you’ll need to show at the airport. Some airlines may have additional requirements, so contact them in advance to ensure you arrive with the correct paperwork in hand.

As for traveling internationally, the rules differ depending on your destination. Some countries require different kinds of paperwork or even additional vaccines in order to allow your furry friend along for the adventure.

Can dogs and cats fly on airplanes?
Yes. Many airlines allow you to carry on or check your four-legged ones, but there are some restrictions you’ll want to consider.

white cat in carrier

One major restriction is that most airlines won’t allow snub-nosed breeds, such as bulldogs, boxers, and pugs, to fly on their planes because of the associated health risks. The same goes for snub-nosed kits, including Persian and Himalayan cats.

Also, depending on the specific flight and airline, your fur ball must be a certain age to be eligible to take flight. Oftentimes, animals must be at least 6-8 weeks.

Additionally, weather plays a role in whether you can fly with Rex and Mittens. Some airlines won’t permit it if the outside temperatures are below or above a certain degree. This is because extreme temperatures could harm your pet when they’re in holding areas or on the plane waiting to depart.

What are my airplane travel options for dogs?
Carry-on, check, or ship.

schnauzer in carrier

If you’re carrying on your pup, he must travel in a pet kennel under your seat. However, flights to certain destinations may not permit pets in the cabin, while others only allow them for flights of short durations.

Meanwhile, if you decide to check Rover with your luggage, you’ll need to contact the airline in advance and provide the appropriate paperwork. Keep in mind, you must be flying on the same plane in order to retrieve him at the other end.

Shipping your pet with airplane cargo is another option, but contact your preferred airline for additional information and whether they offer it.

How big of a dog or cat can fly in a cabin?
If Fido or Fluffy is flying in the cabin with you, they must comfortably fit in a carrier that meets the specific airline’s requirements. Though the size limitations vary airline to airline, your pet must be small enough to fit under the passenger seat in front of you. Also, for your pet’s comfort, ensure they can comfortably stand, move around, and sit with ease while in the carrier.

golden on leash with harness

How much does it cost to fly with your dog or cat?
Fees fluctuate between airlines, but it could cost anywhere between $75 and more than $200, depending on whether you plan to check, carry-on, or ship your fur family.

What airlines are pet friendly?
There are quite a few airlines that offer pet-friendly travel options, some of which include: American Airlines, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Austrian, Iberia, jetBlue, United, and Virgin America.

Which airlines allow big dogs to fly?
Though most flights have weight and size limitations for carry-on pets in the cabin, some offer more relaxed rules for larger dogs that are checked as cargo. Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and Delta are just a few of the airlines that permit bigger dogs on board.

border collie at airport

What countries have quarantine for dogs?
All dogs flying to Guam and Hawaii are required to undergo a quarantine period, regardless of their vaccines.

Outside of the U.S., each country has its own quarantine laws, which are associated with whether the country of origin and destination are determined rabies-free, rabies-controlled, or high-rabies. Those traveling from high-rabies areas to rabies-free or rabies-controlled countries will likely face a holding period or additional requirements than those traveling between lower-risk regions.

What are your top pet travel tips?