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Pet Travel - Traveling by air with your pets

Most airlines allow pets. Plan your trip well in advance and check with your airlines pet travel regulations. Carry-on pets may not be allowed on transatlantic flights depending on the airline and destination. The number of pets that may be carried in each cabin is often limited. Make your reservations well in advance. Most airlines have the following requirements and regulations:
  • A current (10 days) health certificate is required when shipping your pet as air cargo
  • The use of pet tranquilizers at high altitudes is unpredictable. If you plan to sedate your pet, you must have written consent from the pet's veterinarian
  • Some airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin with you if their carrier can fit under the seat check with your airline. The pet carrier counts toward the carry-on baggage allowance.
  • Acceptable carrier sizes vary depending on the type of aircraft. Your confirmation e-mail usually indicates your aircraft type. If unknown, carriers up to 17 inches long x 16 inches wide x 8 inches tall are accepted on all standard aircraft. Check with your airline for standard requirements. Make sure that your carrier is suitable for under-seat airline cabin use.
  • Obtain your pet carrier in advance and familiarize your pet with it by placing it inside for short durations.
  • Clearly mark your pet carrier with you contact information and include any special care requirements. Temporary tags can be used to indicate contact information along with where you are staying during your trip. Indicate that the carrier contains a "Live Animal" in large letters.
    You can purchase a dog airline accessory kit that includes water and food cups, I.D. stickers, and absorbent pad.
  • Airlines will only ship your pets as cargo if the temperatures are not extremely cold or hot. Make sure that your crate is airline approved. You can determine the size that you need by comparing your breed to the sample breeds listed on this link.
  • There may be restrictions on international destinations. Check the corresponding embassy or consulate
  • Some destinations, like Hawaii, have certain restrictions. To prevent rabies from entering Hawaii, the law requires that dogs, cats and carnivores complete a mandatory rabies quarantine
  • Try to book a non-stop flight in order to reduce travel time.
  • Air travel on an almost empty stomach is recommended depending on the flight duration consult with your veterinarian.
  • As an alternative, smaller animals (birds, hamsters, gerbils, fish, etc) can be shipped by air express. Consult your local pet store or carrier for shipping containers and instructions.


You can find specific pet travel rules and regulations for the top 10 airlines in the United States and Canada here:
Read more pet travel articles
Pet Travel - Planning to travel with your pets
Pet Travel - What to bring when traveling with your pets
Pet Travel - Traveling by car with your pets
Pet Travel - Traveling by air with your pets
Pet Travel - Staying at pet friendly hotels
Pet Travel - Things to do during the trip


The majority of the pet travel products mentioned in this article can be purchased online at Drs. Foster & Smith - The Trusted Name in Pet Supplies!

Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.



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