Flying With Your Small Dog

Flying With Your Small Dog In Cargo



This mini wire haired Dachsie is flying along. 

Flying with your small dog is certainly is the most rapid way to move from Point A to Point B. But I’ve heard many times from people that they couldn’t possibly take their dog with them on a plane, that it’s not safe. I disagree!

I have flown with small dogs in cargo as well as in cabin for years, as I sometimes fly to shows with too many dogs to go in cabin. Airlines are very careful with dogs; they are the last one the plane, and the first to come off. But accidents of course can happen. The trick when you travel with a dog in cargo is:

1. Listen to all the airline’s requirements, re crate space and Travel Certificates, and follow them.

2. Make sure you have at least 1 hour for any transfers. I usually do about 1:30. Less time than that you really risk the dog not making it to the second plane.

3. Allow plenty of time for check in.

4. When you get to your gate, let the attendant you have a dog in cargo and that you need visual confirmation that your dog is on board.

5. When you walk on board let the first attendant at the door know that you need visual confirmation that your dog is on board. They are almost always very good about this.

If they forget and the airplane door closes without anyone telling you if your dog is on board, STAND UP. Trust me, you will get immediate attention.

I've only had to do this once. I refused to sit down until they gave me visual confirmation that my dog was on board. It was scary but it worked. Of course if they had said my dog was not on board, I would have gotten off the plane.

6. Do the same with each plane transfer you make.

7. I think travel in cargo is actually very calming for the dogs. It's dark, they are in their comfy crates, and there is plenty of white noise. Dogs don't worry like us silly humans.

Flying With Your Small Dog In Cabin



Silky Rocket here is an old hand at flying, and knows exactly what's coming when I bring out his carrier.

1. If you have a dog that is under 13 inches at the shoulder you should be able to fly with your small dog with you in-cabin. The small and medium Sherpa bags work well. Basically your dog needs to able to stand and turn around in it.

But recently I have discovered wheeled cabin bags that can convert to backpacks. They are triangular in shape and allow the dog to sit up fully when erect as well as stretch out nicely to sleep when laid flat.

2. Airlines generally don’t require Travel Health Certificates for dogs flying in cabin. But double check to make sure. And if you are traveling overseas with your dog, the arriving country will certainly want a Health Certificate if not stringent requirements as to rabies titers. Check the country’s website.

3. Obviously you want to arrive early to check in with your dog, whether he will be flying in-cabin or in-cargo. And security will want to check out the in-cabin bag while you carry your dog through the metal detector.

A small note here – through you pay a handsome extra fee to bring your dog in-cabin, the airplane considers him one of your carry-on bags. Unfair but true!

Most airlines will let people who need a bit of extra time to board early. It’s smart to take advantage of this. Once you are at your seat, settle your dog in and……

4. Leave him alone. The more you talk to your dog, pat him, reassure him, reassure yourself that he is alright, the more you actually telling your dog that there is something to worry about.

Enjoy your magazine and the view above the clouds. Your dog may be restless for a bit but when he can tell that you are unconcerned he will calmly fall asleep.

In-cabin or in-cargo, flying with your small dog can be safe and comfortable – if you know the right way to go about things.


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