Will you travel or move to another city/country as a dog parent? Then, you should aim for comfortable air travel for your furry friend. Given the air travel anxiety for dogs, you may panic or stress about the situation, which is understandable.

Preparing your dog for a flight is not as tricky as you fear. Fortunately, you can access pet-friendly airlines, and we will cover tips for flying with your dog. We will delve into the potential stressors of air travel for dogs such as calming down techniques, training and essential equipment. You will learn more actionable advices to make your journey a positive experience after completing the article.

If you want more specific information about flying with your canine companion, don’t forget to check out other informational posts;

Recognizing the Stressors

You should put yourself into your dog’s paws and imagine being in a plane. It is loud, noisy, confined, and the air pressure is constantly changing. Moreover, their hearing is much better than ours; they need more space to feel safe, and can feel more disoriented than we do. They have the right to feel anxious about these stressors, which they can not understand why they experience.

Signs of Stress in Dogs During Flights

To ensure your dog’s physical and mental well-being during flights, you should be able to recognize the signs of stress they show. Air travel anxiety for dogs may cause these common behavioral and physical indicators:

  • They may excessively bark, whine, pant, drool, tremble, or shiver.
  • Their body may show their discomfort with the tail limp or flat ears.
  • If they are in a crate, they may scratch it to escape.
  • They may constantly keep their eyes closed.
  • You can observe their eyes are teary.
  • They may refuse to sleep.
  • They may vomit or have diarrhea.
  • They may lose their appetite.

Tips for a Stress-Free Flight with Your Dog

It is essential to be ready to face and overcome these challenges with proper preparation. Here are what you can do to ease the experience for your dog:

  • Gradually introduce them to the travel crate or carrier before the journey.
  • Place familiar items such as toys or blankets in the crate to provide a sense of security.
  • Use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs designed for dogs.
  • Reward your dog for calm behavior with treats, affection, or praise.
  • Consult with your vet before the flight to get recommendations for calming medications.
  • Stick to a routine regarding your dog’s regular feeding and bathroom schedule.
  • Familiarize your dog with security procedures such as being handled and gently restrained.
  • Familiarize your dog with the sounds they will hear during the flight.
  • Aim for direct flights to minimize the overall travel time.
  • Avoid extreme weather conditions at both departure and arrival locations.
  • If you plan a long flight, practice short trips beforehand.
Dog in the aircraft cabin near the window during the flight, concept of traveling and moving with pets, small black dog sitting in a pet carrier bag, travel or relocation with dog by airplane

Calming Techniques and Products

You may consider using calming techniques and products to help your dog reduce anxiety during flights. Let’s explore some:

  • Pheromone sprays
  • Music therapy
  • Thundershirts and anxiety wraps
  • Anti-anxiety dog toys
  • Calming collars
  • Natural remedies such as lavender
  • Anxiety supplements such as melatonin
  • Prescription medications (if advised by a vet)

If you need information about calming techniques and products, you can check the ultimate guide for natural sedatives for dog’s anxiety tips and tricks.

Preparing Your Dog for a Flight

Here’s a step-by-step guide for preparing your dog for a flight:

  1. Consult with your vet for advice.
  2. Choose the right dog travel carriers for airplanes.
  3. The paperwork should be ready for the destination country.
  4. Crate-train your dog.
  5. Get your dog used to travel gear.
  6. Visit the airport with your dog in advance.
  7. Pack a travel kit for your dog, including food, water, medications, and a leash.
  8. Avoid feeding your dog right before the flight.
  9. Reward your dog’s calm behavior.
  10. Stay calm and confident. This is one of the most important points because they can feel the stress or fear.

In-Cabin vs. Cargo Hold: What’s Best for Dogs?

These two alternatives have their pros and cons. The decision can depend on various factors. We will provide a comparison to help you make an informed choice:

Traveling in the Cabin

A sense of security and comfort with youLimited space, especially for larger dogs
Consistent, temperature-controlled, and comfortable environmentDisturbances such as noises and smells
Observing their condition constantly
Traveling in the Cabin pros and cons

Traveling in the Cargo Hold

More spaceTemperature fluctuations
Fewer disturbances Not being able to observe their condition
A sense of privacyRisk of mishandling during loading and unloading
Traveling in the Cargo Hold pros and cons

In-Cabin Travel Requirements

In-cabin travel for dogs involves specific requirements and regulations imposed by airlines such as:

  • Carrier size and type: The carrier typically should fit under the seat in front of you.
  • Health documentation: Check with the airline you will use for the timeframe of your dog’s health documentation.
  • Weight and size restrictions: Be sure about the airline policy regarding weight and size restrictions.
  • Age and breed restrictions: Check the airline policy regarding the age and breed restrictions.
  • Reservation and notification: Airlines have limited spots available for in-cabin pets. So, ensure their reservation in advance. Generally, every airline has 1-2 cabin pet maximum.
  • In-cabin behavior: Ensure your dog remains the carrier during the flight unless it is a service animal.
  • Additional fees: Airlines charge a fee for in-cabin pet travel. So, ensure you include it in your budget.
Travelling with pet. Dog on plane board near window. Airline pet transportation service

Cargo Hold Travel Requirement

Pet owners must know these requirements and take the necessary steps to prepare their dogs for cargo hold travel. Here are the key considerations:

  • Ensure the care is IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved.
  • Attach a label to the crate with your contact information.
  • Your dog should be microchipped with your current contact information. You can continue reading registering your dog’s microchip if you need more information.
  • Check with the airline policy regarding age, breed, weight, and size restrictions.
  • Notify the airline that you will have your dog in the cargo hold.


In conclusion, flying with your pet can be a safe and stress-free experience with careful preparation and consideration of your dog’s needs. Key takeaways include:

You should consider your dog’s temperament, health, and specific requirements when planning air travel. While deciding how you transport your dog, you should evaluate whether in-cabin or cargo-hold travel is more suitable for your dog’s size, breed, and comfort level.

Research the specific policies of the chosen airline regarding in-cabin or cargo-hold travel for pets. Gradually acclimate your dog to the travel crate to make it a positive and comfortable space.

Schedule a pre-flight visit with your veterinarian and ensure all necessary health certificates and vaccinations are up-to-date. Explore calming techniques such as pheromone sprays, music therapy, and anxiety wraps to help alleviate stress during the journey.

Use positive reinforcement and familiar items to create a sense of security for your dog. Always consult your veterinarian before the journey to address specific health concerns or obtain personalized advice.

Happy travels!

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