Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dogs Travel by Airplane - Dogs that travel in the main cabin

Vacation time and travels are here and so I would like to offer a small excerpt from our book "Keep Your Paws on the Road".The book is soon to be published, and offers lots of valuable information on traveling with dogs.


Travel by Airplane - Dogs that travel in the main cabin

While every airline has different regulations, generally speaking, pets who weigh less than 20 pounds – pet carrier weight included – can travel in the cabin if the airline permits it. Your soft or hard case pet carrier must securely fit under the seat in front of you and is counted as one of your carry-ons. When you look to purchase your pet carrier, be sure to verify that it is airline approved, as there are lots of choices, but not all pet carriers meet the IATA requirement. You can go to our website and check out our recommended products in the travel essentials section. If your pet meets your airline’s criteria for traveling in the cabin, this is probably the best option for him.

Spending time in the pet carrier

Keep in mind that your dog must remain in the carrier for the entire flight. Your dog may whine or bark when confined in the carrier, especially when he can see you and is unsure why is his inside. We highly recommend that you get your dog used to the carrier weeks ahead of travel. You can use his bed and some toys and have him spend time in the crate while you watch TV or cook dinner. Use short periods of time to get him accustomed to the carrier.

After the initial crate training, make sure to have him spent time in it, while you carry him around. A good way to practice is to take him to restaurants or into stores with you. Practice with him staying in the crate for several hours at a time, since that will be the case during your flight time.

You can put a worn t-shirt in the bag with him, so he has your familiar smells with him to be comfortable.

Before you go on your flight, limit his food and fluid intake, so he will not need to go potty and won’t get motion-sick. You can talk to your veterinarian and see if the vet recommends a sedative for your dog to calm him during the travel time. If you have practiced being in the carrier prior to the flight, your dog should be fine.

Make sure you have his pet passport, and other documentation required. Have the dog collar with his ID tag on the dog and his leash handy, in case you want or need to take him out.

Security Checkpoint

After you have checked in for your flight, you and your dog will need to go through the airport security checkpoints.

You have two options to take your dog through the screening process. You can take him out of the carrier, and have the empty pet carrier go through the X-Ray belt, while you walk through the body scanner with your dog on-leash. Or leave your dog in the pet carrier and walk through the body scanner with him in it. If you leave him in the bag, TSA officials may ask to inspect the bag after you have been scanned.

To simplify the process, we recommend you have only few other carry-on items with you, so you have your hands free to handle the dog and the carrier.


When you get to your seat on the aircraft, you can store the pet carrier under the seat right away, or keep the dog with the carrier on your lap until the flight attendants clear the cabin for take-off.

During the flight, you may want to interact with your dog. You can have the carrier on your lab during the flight, but your dog must remain contained in the carrier at all times. If you are tempted to open the carrier to give your dog a treat or pet him, do so carefully and only open the bag a little bit. You can give your dog a small ice cube, but again, don’t overdo it. The more you interact, the more likely he is wanting to come out. Just keep things calm and let Fido sleep in this carrier.

Connecting flights

If your flight is long and has several legs, you will have time in between your flights for Fido to come out of the crate in the airport area. If he has been confined for some time, the first order of business will be to give him an opportunity to relieve himself. Many airports have dog walking areas. However, going to the dog area usually requires for you to leave the secure gate area and to go back through security later. This may not be feasible if you have only little time between connections.

We find it is very beneficial to piddle pad train your dog, when you travel by airplane, since it allows you to stay within the secured area with your dog. 

We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from our book. Check back for more information on traveling with your pets.

Thank you,

Modern Canine Services  is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon.

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