Air Travel with A Puppy: 10 Top Tips [2023]

November 9, 2023

Traveling with a puppy can be both an exciting adventure and a source of anxiety.

This is especially true when it comes to air travel.

Whether you're relocating, going on vacation, or bringing a new furry family member home, proper preparation is the key to a safe and comfortable journey for both you and your puppy.

In this guide, we'll explore the key considerations and tips for air travel with your canine companion.

1. **Research Airline Policies:**
- Before making any travel arrangements, thoroughly research the pet policies of the airline you plan to use. Different airlines have varying regulations regarding pet carriers, fees, and in-cabin or cargo options.

2. **Visit the Veterinarian:**
- Schedule a visit to the veterinarian well in advance of your trip. Your puppy should be up-to-date on vaccinations, and may be required to obtain a health certificate by the airline. Health certificates are typically only required for international travel.

3. **Choose the Right Carrier:**
- Invest in a sturdy and well-ventilated carrier that complies with the airline's regulations. The carrier should be large enough for your puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

4. **Familiarize Your Puppy with the carrier:**
- Gradually introduce your puppy to the carrier before the trip. Place treats, toys, and a familiar blanket inside to create a positive association.

5. **Book Direct Flights:**
- When possible, choose a direct flight to reduce travel time and reduce stress for your puppy. Layovers and connecting flights can be more challenging for both you and your furry friend.

6. **In-cabin or Cargo?:**
- Check with the airline to determine whether your puppy can travel in the cabin with you or if they need to be transported in the cargo hold. Small breeds, usually under 20 lbs, are often allowed in-cabin, while larger dogs may need to fly in cargo.

7. **Potty Breaks and Exercise:**
- Take your puppy for a walk and ensure they have a chance to relieve themselves before boarding. Some airports have designated pet relief areas.

8. **Pack Essentials:**
- Pack a travel kit for your puppy, including food, water, a spill-proof bowl, any necessary medications, and familiar toys. These essentials can help keep your puppy comfortable during the journey.

9. **Stay Calm and Comforting:**
- Your puppy may feel anxious during the flight, so remaining calm and comforting is crucial. Speak to them soothingly and reassure them with gentle petting when appropriate.

10. **Follow Arrival Procedures:**
- Once you reach your destination, follow the designated procedures for retrieving your puppy. Be prepared to offer them water and a bathroom break immediately.


Air travel with a puppy requires careful planning and consideration of both the airline's policies and your puppy's needs.

By researching and adhering to guidelines, choosing the right carrier, and keeping your puppy's comfort in mind, you can make the journey a positive experience for your furry friend.

With proper preparation and a caring approach, air travel can be a safe and enjoyable way to include your puppy in your travel adventures.