How To Travel With Your Dog On A Plane







traveling with your dog on a plane


Last week we had to fly down to Florida so we decided to bring our maltichon pup, Charlie, with us.  He hasn’t flown since he was about 10 weeks old, so I was really nervous to bring him on the plane.  He’s now 5 years old, quite spoiled if I might add, and has a bit of separation anxiety.  Bringing him on planes make me a nervous wreck but I knew that we may have to travel with him quite a bit this year, so this was a great trial run.  I have a lot of dog loving friends and readers, so I was hoping that this might help you the next time you decide on taking your beloved pup on a plane!

  1. Policy and Fees – First, be sure to look up if your airline allows pets in-cabin. We flew Southwest and read about their policies HERE.  They have a limit on pets that can be carried on each plane, so be sure to reserve a spot for your dog before arriving to the airport.  There is a $95 pet fee each way with Southwest.
  2. Checking In – Give yourself plenty of time to get checked in at the kiosk.  You will need to check in with your pet carrier and to check a bag since they consider the pet carrier your carry on item.
  3. Pet Carrier – Choosing the right pet carrier is really important. Be sure to check with your airline to see what their specifications are on pet carriers.  For Southwest, they require carriers to be no more than 18.5 inches long, 8.5 inches high, and 13.5 inches wide so that it (and the pet) can fit underneath the seat in front of you.  It needs to be well ventilated and leak-proof as well. For Charlie, I bought one that I found on amazon and it worked really well! You can see it HERE! We bought the gray color in the medium size.
  4. Restroom Breaks – Be sure to take your dog to use the restroom just before you get to the airport.  There are no areas for him/her to relieve itself, so this is crucial on long flights.
  5. Food & Water – Try not to don’t give your pet a lot to drink or eat before a flight.  Time it out so it gets a little bit here and there.  You don’t want to make it so the pup is dehydrated, but you also don’t want it to hold its bladder too long or even have to relieve itself in its carrier.  Also, be sure to bring snacks!  Charlie did really well with having some of my cheez-it’s that I had in my bag.  He saw this as a fun treat and he loved getting distracted for a while. I will remember to bring his doggy treats for the next time!  With Charlie, he panted a lot so his mouth got really dry.  The flight attendants don’t come around super often, so it never hurts to have a little pop up dog bowl like this one and a water bottle with you on the flight. Just remember to pace the water giving!
  6. Where To Sit – I would suggest siting near the back of the plane and sitting by the window just in case your dog isn’t a happy camper and you have to tend to it a little more than expected.  Charlie was definitely one of those dogs, so we made sure to not bother anyone around us.  Sitting in the back and by the window limits the amount of people we may bother.
  7. Be Kind and Relax – Be sweet to the people around you and your flight attendant.  They will require that you leave your dog in its carrier underneath the seat (unfortunately! ugh!) and will not be able to sit on your lap.  They have to do their job and some flight attendants are more strict/aggressive than others on this rule. So, just try try to relax and have a drink. Seriously.  Dogs can sense your anxiety and it won’t help their anxiety for you to be upset.  The best thing I did on the flight back to Ft Myers was to enjoy a few vodka cranberries. My back was killing me from bending over trying to tend to Charlie for hours and it was seriously a much needed drink to just calm down and relax.


I hope these tips help you on your next trip!! I wish you the best of luck with bringing your pet along with you. Some dogs are better than others, so don’t fret it too much! Just take these tips with you and you’ll be just fine! 🙂

Do you have any trips coming up where you plan on bringing your pet? Do you have any advice for me on my next trip? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section!!