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Essential Packing List for Flying with Your Dog

Are you planning a flight with your dog? Sometimes, it is necessary to fly with your dog, be it because you need it as a companion, or because you just cant leave it behind. Adequate planning is required sor a successful journey. There is a lot to think about, from carriers to airline policies, This guide will help you navigate these complexities of air travel with your dog. Let's check out some essentials you'll need for a stress-free trip.


Essential Packing List for Flying with Your Dog Infographic

Essential Packing List for Flying with Your Dog Infographic


Best Dog Carriers for Air Travel: Comfort Meets Safety

When flying with your dog, selecting an airline-approved pet carrier is crucial. When shopping, most carriers will indicate their airline approval status. Look for carriers that are not only comfortable but also meet airline safety standards. Choose a brand for its durability and compliance with airline regulations. Ensure the carrier has adequate ventilation and is spacious enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

How to Choose the Right Size Carrier for Your Dog

Choosing the right size carrier is essential for your dog's comfort during the flight. Measure your dog's length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and their height from the ground to the top of the shoulders. Add a few inches to these measurements to ensure they can move comfortably. If your dog is between sizes, always opt for the larger option to ensure they have enough space.

Essential Vaccinations Before Flying Internationally with Dogs

Before you fly international, make sure that your dog is uptodate with vaccinations. The rabies vaccine is mandatory for most international travel, and it must be administered at least 21 days before departure.Confirm with your vet. Check with your destination country for any additional vaccination requirements to avoid entry issues or quarantine.

Top Dog Breeds and Their Specific Flight Requirements

In most countries including the US, some dog breeds have specific requirements when it comes to flying. Brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs may have restrictions due to breathing difficulties at high altitudes. Always check with the airline if there are breed-specific regulations you should be aware of before booking your flight.

Navigating Airport Security with Your Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide

To go through airport security with a dog, you'll need to remove your dog from their carrier, the carrier will be X-rayed while you walk your dog through the metal detector. Prepare for a possible pat-down for both you and your pet. Of course you need to have your dog on a leash.

The Ultimate Checklist for Dog-Friendly Airlines

When booking your flight, research airlines that are known for being dog-friendly. Some airlines offer better amenities for pets, such as climate-controlled cargo holds and in-cabin travel options. Make a checklist of airlines' pet policies to compare and choose the best option for your dog's size, breed, and health.

Cute Dog in a carrier ready to board a plane
Preparing Your Dog for Their First Flight Experience

Prepare your dog for their first flight by acclimating them to their carrier well before the travel date. Include comfortable bedding and familiar toys to make the carrier feel like a safe space. Short car rides in the carrier can also help your dog get used to being confined for a period.

Must-Have Items for Your Dog's In-Flight Comfort Kit

Pack a comfort kit for your dog that includes water, travel-friendly dog food, a favorite toy, and a chewable item to help relieve pressure in their ears during takeoff and landing. Also, include a small blanket or a piece of clothing with your scent to comfort them.

Understanding Airline Pet Policies for Stress-Free Travel

Understanding your airline's pet policy is crucial. This includes size and weight limits for carriers, additional fees, and documentation requirements. Contact the airline directly with any questions to ensure compliance and avoid surprises on travel day.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Hydrated and Fed on Flights

Keep your dog hydrated and fed during the flight by packing a collapsible water bowl and a small amount of food. Feed your dog a light meal a few hours before the flight to prevent nausea. Offer water regularly but avoid overfeeding during the flight to prevent discomfort.

Selecting the Perfect Seat When Flying with Dogs

When flying with your dog in the cabin, select a seat that has enough space under the seat in front of you to accommodate the carrier. Aisle seats can offer easier access if you need to attend to your dog, but a window seat might prevent your dog from being disturbed by foot traffic.

Managing Anxiety and Stress in Dogs During Air Travel

To manage anxiety and stress in your dog during air travel, consider natural calming supplements or consult your vet for a prescription if your dog's anxiety is severe. Familiar scents and comfort items can also help soothe your dog.

The Importance of a Pre-Flight Veterinary Check-Up

Schedule a pre-flight veterinary check-up to ensure your dog is healthy and fit for travel. Discuss sedation options if necessary, and obtain any required health certificates or documentation for your journey.

Packing Smart: Lightweight and Essential Items for Your Dog

Pack smart by choosing lightweight and essential items for your dog. This includes collapsible bowls, a portable waste bag dispenser, and a compact first-aid kit. Keeping your dog's luggage minimal will help manage your overall travel load.

How to Handle Layovers and Transits with Your Dog

During layovers, use the time to check on your dog, provide water, and let them use pet-relief areas if available. Keep your dog's leash handy for quick bathroom breaks and to maintain control in busy airport environments.

Seasonal Considerations When Flying with Dogs

Consider the season when planning your flight. Avoid flying in extreme temperatures, especially if your dog needs to travel in the cargo hold. Choose morning or evening flights during summer to avoid the heat.

Legal Documentation and IDs Needed for Flying with Dogs

Ensure you have all necessary legal documentation and IDs for flying with your dog. This includes health certificates, proof of vaccinations, and any specific paperwork required by the airline or destination country.

Choosing the Right Time of Day to Fly with Your Dog

Choose flights that align with your dog's routine, if possible. Early morning or late evening flights can be less stressful and cooler, making the travel experience more comfortable for your pet.

Training Your Dog to Behave Appropriately on Planes

Train your dog to behave appropriately on planes by familiarizing them with the noises and confined spaces associated with air travel. Practice commands like "sit" and "stay" to ensure they remain calm and controlled during the flight.

Post-Flight Care: Ensuring Your Dog’s Comfort After Landing

After landing, give your dog a chance to stretch, hydrate, and relieve themselves. Check for any signs of stress or discomfort and provide a quiet space for them to rest and recover from the journey.

Benefits of Direct Flights vs. Connecting Flights for Dogs

Opting for direct flights can reduce the stress and duration of travel for your dog. Avoiding layovers minimizes the risk of delays and the additional handling that comes with transferring flights.

Selecting the Perfect Carry-On and Checked Luggage for You

When traveling with your cat, selecting the appropriate carry-on and checked luggage is essential. Choose the Loomis Travel Carry-On for its robust construction and seamless functionality, or opt for the Loomis Travel Wheeled Checked Luggage if you're seeking a durable yet cost-effective solution. Loomis Travel Luggage combines luxury, practicality, and convenience, making it an ideal choice for your travel needs.


Expandable Lightweight Carry-On and checkin luggage with Ultra-Sturdy Telescopic Handle


Checklist: Dog Travel Essentials for Air Travel

  • Your very own luggage from Loomis Travel!
  • Airline-approved pet carrier
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Familiar toys
  • Small blanket or clothing with your scent
  • Current vaccination records
  • Health certificates
  • Pre-flight veterinary check-up
  • First-aid kit
  • Travel-friendly dog food
  • Collapsible water bowl
  • Chewable item for ear pressure
  • Portable water bottle
  • Proof of vaccinations (e.g., rabies)
  • Identification tags
  • Required legal documents for travel
  • Treats for positive reinforcement
  • Calming supplements or prescribed medication
  • Favorite toy
  • Comfort item with owner's scent
  • Lightweight blanket
  • Leash
  • Portable waste bag dispenser
  • Extra food and water
  • Cooling mat (for summer)
  • Warm cover (for winter)
  • Quiet space for rest
  • Extra water for hydration
  • Comfort items for reassurance
FAQs: Flying with Your Dog

Carrier and Size

  • Q: How do I choose the right size carrier for my dog? A: Measure your dog's length and height, then add a few inches to each measurement to ensure they can comfortably move around in the carrier.
  • Q: What are the best dog carriers for air travel? A: Look for durable, airline-approved carriers that provide comfort and safety.

Health and Documentation

  • Q: What vaccinations does my dog need before flying internationally? A: Your dog must be up-to-date with all required vaccinations, including rabies, administered at least 21 days before departure.
  • Q: What legal documentation is needed for flying with my dog? A: You'll need health certificates, proof of vaccinations, and any specific paperwork required by the airline or destination country.

Airline Policies and Preparation

  • Q: How can I find dog-friendly airlines and understand their pet policies? A: Research and compare airlines' pet policies, including carrier size limits and fees, and contact the airline directly with any questions.
  • Q: How should I prepare my dog for their first flight experience? A: Acclimate your dog to their carrier well in advance, include familiar items, and take short car rides to simulate the travel experience.

In-Flight Needs

  • Q: What items should I include in my dog's in-flight comfort kit? A: Pack a collapsible water bowl, travel-friendly dog food, a favorite toy, and a chewable item to help with ear pressure.
  • Q: How do I keep my dog hydrated and fed on flights? A: Offer water regularly using a collapsible bowl and feed your dog a light meal a few hours before the flight.

Travel Experience

  • Q: How do I navigate airport security with my dog? A: Remove your dog from their carrier for X-ray screening, walk them through the metal detector, and be prepared for a possible pat-down.
  • Q: What should I do to manage my dog's anxiety and stress during air travel? A: Consider natural calming supplements, familiar scents, and comfort items, or consult your vet for prescription options if necessary.

Post-Flight and Miscellaneous

  • Q: What post-flight care should I provide to ensure my dog's comfort after landing? A: Give your dog a chance to stretch, hydrate, and relieve themselves, and provide a quiet space for them to rest.
  • Q: Are direct flights or connecting flights better for traveling with dogs? A: Direct flights are generally less stressful for dogs as they reduce the overall travel time and avoid the need for additional handling during layovers.

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About the Author

Dr. Dickson W., is an Atlanta-based research scientist, passionate traveler and CEO of Loomis Travel, the direct to customer luggage company you can trust featured below.