HOW TO GET YOUR PUP TO FLY! / by Alister Lee

I don’t know if you are like me, but it seems like everyone is on vacation every time I scroll through my Instagram feed. This gives me the worst travel itch! I just want to spend time at a beach watching the beautiful sunset with my loved ones, including my furry baby.

I like to be super prepared and know exactly what to expect when I travel, especially when dealing with airports and different country regulations. I Googled and researched like crazy how I could bring my pup, Roo, with me on vacation…and boy did it stress me out. In the end it was worth it, and now I present my most helpful tips that will keep you and your pup stress-free!


Make sure you do your research! Each airline has its own regulations in regards to carriers, fees, and health requirements. Also, depending on where you are flying to, the city or country might have its own set of requirements. For example, Southwest charges $95 each way per pet carrier. A lot of airlines accept pets on a first come, first served basis until the plane capacity is reached. After you booked your own ticket, you can call Customer Service and tell them you are bringing a dog with you in-cabin. Once they confirm that the flight you are on hasn’t reached its pet capacity, they will ask you some basic questions regarding your pet’s breed, age, and if their vaccinations are current. They’ll also ask for the dimensions of your pet carrier and if it is a soft or hard carrier. Just make sure you are prepared for all of these questions before purchasing a ticket for your pet.


Remember to do your research on the specific airline regarding carrier dimensions. Both soft and hard carriers are accepted and must have enough room for pets to stand up and move around with ease. One of my friends recommended that I use a roller pet carrier. Since you might be carrying a lot of your own personal belongings, a pet roller carrier might be super helpful and they also fit under the seat comfortably. Chewy and Amazon both have great quality and affordable carriers.


Once you get to the airport, a lot of airlines require you to check in at the kiosk. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have before flying with your dog. Dealing with airport security is already stressful. You will be asked to hold your pet and walk through the screening device while your carrier is being x-rayed. You can check in wet and dry pet food as well as packing them in your carry on. You can check what you can bring with this TSA website. Some airports have pet relief areas after security, like in Vancouver, Canada. When I get to the boarding gate, I like to let the agent at the desk know that I am traveling with a pet. They’ll ask for your boarding pass and then give you a tag for your pet carrier. One important thing to note is that if you are bringing your pet internationally, make sure you have your pet’s health certificate and vaccinations current. You do not want to be in a situation where your pet gets quarantined. Here is a great resource by Bring Fido where they list all the requirements by country! 


Once you board and get to your seat, a flight attendant usually comes and reminds you of their airline regulations. A lot of airlines will require you to stow your carrier under the seat in front of you during takeoff and landing. They also require your pet to be in the carrier at all times. If your dog has a blanket or a sock that it is used to, it helps to place these things in the carrier to soothe anxiety. Bringing a collapsible bowl for water is also helpful in case your pup gets thirsty.


Bring extra everything! It helps to bring extra poop bags, extra pee pads, extra wet wipes…extra everything! In case of accidents, bring baking soda. You never know when you might need it. If you are worried about your pup being restless during the plane ride, you can help them get out that extra energy before the flight so that they’ll sleep the whole ride! If your pup has never been in a carrier for an extended amount of time, you can do some practice runs in the car to help them become comfortable. I keep all of Roo’s medical information and health certificates in a ziplock bag and stow it in her carrier. Also, just to be safe, find a vet in the destination you are traveling to.

I hope this is helpful for you when you go on your next vacation with your pup! Afterall, less stress equals a better vacation! What are some tips and tricks you picked up from your experience flying with your pup?