Travel: How to prepare your dog for flight 

Booked a trip and planning on taking the pup? Make sure you prepare them for the flight. You can travel around the world with your dog by your side, with training and planning your doggo can be your new travel buddy. Dogs of all shapes and sizes can fly with different airlines to pet-friendly destinations all around the world. Learn how to prepare your dog for flight.

ESA, Carry-On, or Cargo Hold

There are three main ways you can take your dog on a plane. If your dog is an emotional support or service animal, they do not have to travel in a carrier; it’s optional. ESAs and service animals can sit in their owner’s laps or in the space in front of their seats during the flight. There is no pet fee for an emotional support or service animal.

Small dogs that aren’t emotional support animals can travel as a carry-on. They need to stay in their airline-approved carrier throughout the flight under the seat in front of their owners, and there is a pet fee. Dogs that are too big to fit under the seat can travel in a kennel, in the cargo hold with a pet travel fee. Some airlines do not fly dogs in the cargo hold for pet safety reasons.

Obedience Training

Pets traveling on planes need to be well-behaved. Legally service dogs need formal training to perform tasks for their owners and have to pass assessments and receive certifications. Emotional support animals and other dogs flying do not need specific training but should be under the owner’s control at all times, calm, quiet, and friendly towards people and other animals. Even if your dog is traveling as a carry-on, you will have to take them out of their bag during TSA.

Carrier Training

Your dog should be happy to spend time in their airline-approved crate, feeling safe and secure. Dogs should not bark or whine during the flight. Make sure your dog feels comfortable in their carrier and has their favorite blanket and toys. You can give them a non-scented chew to keep them occupied during the flight.

Photo by 420 with Bedein on Unsplash


One of the best ways to prepare your dog for flight is to exercise them before heading to the airport. By the time you get to the airport, your dog should be worn-out and tired, ready to take a nap. Ideally, your dog can sleep during the flight. Emotional support animals and service animals can walk on a leash throughout the airport, but carry-on and cargo hold dogs need to stay in their carrier.

Before booking a flight with your pup, make sure you prepare them for flight. Emotional support and service dogs can fly with their owners, without a pet fee, sitting in their lap or in the space in front of their seat (learn more about Delta’s pet policy). Small dogs can fly in an airline approved carrier as a carry-on, with a pet fee. Larger dogs can fly on certain airlines in a kennel, in the cargo hold with a pet travel fee. Dogs flying need to be well-behaved, calm, and friendly in the airport and on the plane.


This is a collaborative post.

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