Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Tips for Airline Travel with a Small Dog #PetBloggerMonth

Rocco and me, getting reading to hit the skies
September is International Pet Blogger Month, and so there's no better time to talk about how our pet blog has taken us places -- both in the U.S. and abroad.

Our To Dog With Love blog was created more than four years ago, and the reason we started this blog was to answer the many questions we were receiving about pet travel and dog agility. In celebration of Pet Blogger Month, we're celebrating our humble beginnings by bringing you our top 5 tips for airline travel with your small dog in cabin.

If you also want to learn more about getting started in agility, here are a few posts to check out:
How to Get Started in Dog Agility
Tips for Puppy Foundation Agility Training

When I started To Dog With Love, I had already traveled to Italy once with my Havanese and to many U.S. destinations. Since then, we've been back to Italy and traveled across the U.S. for pet blogger related events and just for fun!

We still get LOTS of questions about air travel, so here you go…

Our top 5 tips for airline travel with your small dog in cabin

  1. Get your pup comfortable with his airline carrier. Be sure to purchase your carrier at least several weeks before you travel so you can give your pup some time to get accustomed to it. Play bag games by giving your dog treats for getting in the carrier and making a fun game of it! Carry your dog around the house in the carrier, go for short car rides in the carrier and make the bag a cozy place to be for your pup.
  2. Call your preferred airline ahead of time to reserve your dog's place. Even though your pup will be traveling in a pet carrier under the seat in front of you, most airlines limit the amount of pets per flight. Book your flight early and call the airline to ensure there's space on your flight for your dog.
  3. Familiarize yourself with your airline's pet policies, including carrier size.  When you call to reserve your pet's space on the flight, ask about costs, maximum carrier size allowed and any other policies they may have. Typically you'll be required to pay for your pet's travel when you get to the airport. Expect to pay about $125 each way… costs vary according to airline. Soft-side carriers are convenient to give your pet a little extra room before fitting them under the seat, but you'll still want to check maximum size requirements.
  4. Ask your airline and vet about required health certificates. At a minimum, we always travel with vaccination records, but to some destinations, you may be required to have special health forms. When traveling with your pet internationally, you'll need to plan ahead to get all the forms filled out in advance and certified by the USDA if you're traveling from the U.S.
  5. Once you get to the airport, check in with your pet at the airline counter.  When you get to the airport, find an airline official near any counter and ask where you should check in with your pet. This is likely where you'll pay for your pet's travel and receive a tag to put on your pet's carrier to show that you've checked in. Your airline may also weigh your dog in his carrier, so if there's a weight limit, be prepared! You should also be prepared to take your pet out of his carrier before you go through the x-ray at security. The carrier will go through the x-ray and you'll walk through holding your pet. After walking through, you'll likely be asked to wait a moment while the security officials swab your hands with a small cloth to check for any foreign substances. 
For more travel tips, check out a few of our other posts:

Happy Travels!

This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. I am being compensated to support International Pet Blogger Month with an educational post, but To Dog With Love only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.


  1. Gosh some of you are such globe trotters. We sadly have never been anywhere exciting and certainly not on a plane. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. I sure wish I could still fit under the seat as that is the only way to fly. We don't want to have to do cargo again, that was scary.

  3. Delta has the worst track record with regard to transporting pets. More dogs have died during flight, lost at the airport, or had other issues than any other airline. I would never fly one of my dogs or cats on Delta. I'm sorry, but I've read too many articles about the problems with this airline when it comes their care of animals. I'm sorry, but I felt compelled to comment.

  4. We are trying to figure out how to move Pierre back to his mom and dad. They just transferred near Seattle. It would be a heck of a drive, but if he can't ride with us in the plane cabin, it's what we will have to do. UGH!

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