Most of us don’t have our own personal planes, in which case, flying with a dog can be a very stressful time for both you and your pooch. With all of the rules and regulations, you may contemplate turning that 3-hour plane ride into a 3-day car ride. Luckily, we’re on your side, and we’re here to make your trip to the terminal a success. The last thing you want is an anxious pup in the middle of an airport and no idea how to get your furry friend on the plane with you. We’ve carried out extensive research on everything you’ll need to make your next flight a success. From regulation dog bags, to flying regulations and more!

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Airline Requirements

When it comes to airlines, never assume anything. They can change their policies at anytime, and all airlines have their own unique pet policy. Fortunately, we’ll help you find the right airline for your doggy needs. Check out our information below, and of course, check with the airline before flying with a dog. Our information is based off of airline requirements as of July 2019. Keep in mind, if you have a service animal, many restrictions don’t apply. Additionally, there are restrictions on where animals can fly. For instance, most airlines don’t allow dogs to fly as a carry-on to and from Hawaii or Australia. 

American Airlines Pet Carry-on Requirements

American Airlines allows small dogs and cats to ride on the plane with their owners for $125 per flight, with a round trip costing $250. When flying with a dog on American Airlines, your dog will need to stay inside of their carrier. In addition, your pooch must be able to stand up and completely turn around inside their carrier in order to get on the plane with you. The maximum size for any dog carrier is 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high. Soft side carriers can be larger as long as they’re water repellent and padded. As well as meeting the size requirements, your carrier should also be considered “escape proof”. Keep in mind that your dog will count as your 1 carry-on bag.

Also, all pets must be at least 8 weeks old, and be able to stay in the crate and under the seat in front of you for the duration of the flight. Unfortunately, there are some breed restrictions on your furry friends. American Airlines doesn’t accept snub-nosed dogs or any mix such as boston terrier, shih tzu, pugs, and boxers. We recommend checking with the airline to ensure your pup will be good to go on your flight. Additionally, make sure to notify the airline of your furry friends arrival at least 48 hours in advance.

United Pet Carry-On Requirements

United Airlines’ pet restrictions are very similar to those at American Airlines. Your furry friend will count as your one carry-on, and you’ll receive a $125 fee each way for them. There is an additional $125 fee for each stopover that exceeds 4 hours, and stops that exceed 24 hours outside of the U.S.

Your carrier must be able to completely fit under the seat in front of you. This means that the maximum dimensions for a hard-sided kennel is 17.5″ long x 12″ wide x 7.5″ high. If you have a soft-sided crate the maximum is 18″ long x 11″ wide x 11″ high. 

All dogs must be at least 4 months old, and need to remain in the carrier under the seat at all times. Pets are not however permitted in United’s premium cabins on the Boeing 757, 767, 777, and 787. Before traveling with your pooch, make sure to call the airline to reserve your dog a spot; only 4 pets are allowed on most flights.

Southwest Pet Carry-On Requirements

Southwest’s pet policy is very similar to other airlines; however, their pet fee is a bit less expensive. They charge $95 each way for your pooch (rather than $125). Additionally. you don’t have to call the airline 48 hours in advance, just make sure you notify them of your pet the day of your flight. Of course, if you wait until the last minute, there is a chance they’ll have their limit of pets. Unfortunately, pets aren’t allowed on any international flights. 

If you’re going to be flying with a dog on Southwest, there are some regulations and requirements to be aware of. First of all, Southwest actually allows you to put your pooch in an official Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier. This ensures that your carrier meets all requirements every time. If you choose to use your own; the dimensions have to be 18.5″ long x 8.5″ high x 13.5″ wide, or smaller. As always, they must be leak-proof and well ventilated. 

Also, if two dogs can comfortably fit in a carrier that small, they are allowed to share the carrier. However, they must fit completely inside the carrier and be able to stand up and move around easily. Keep in mind, Southwest only allows for 6 pets per flight, so be sure to reserve Fido’s spot! Also, your pups must be at least 8 weeks old to fly with you. 

Delta Pet Carry-On Requirements

As usual, your pet will count as your carry-on luggage when traveling with Delta. You will be charged a one-way fee for bringing your pet on board. Depending on where you’re traveling, the prices vary and include: 

  • U.S./Canada/Puerto Rico: $125
  • U.S. Virgin Islands/International: $200
  • Brazil: $75

As you can see, Delta does allow international carry-on travel for pets. However, there are restrictions on certain countries. That being said, you can’t travel anywhere and everywhere with Fido. Also, Delta doesn’t allow carry-on travel to Hawaii. In addition, there are age requirements for pets which are different for domestic and international flights. For example, your pet must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic flights and 16 weeks if traveling to the U.S. from other countries. For European Union travel, your pet must be at least 15 weeks old. 

Your dog will need to remain inside of a kennel while on your flight, and the kennel must sit under the seat in front of you. Every kennel must be leak-proof and have ventilation on at least two sides. The dimension requirements for the kennel vary depending on which aircraft you’re flying on. To find out the kennel requirements, you will need to contact Delta. Also, 2 pets between the age of 10 weeks and 6 months of the same breed and size may be allowed to travel in one kennel. They must be small enough to fit and will be charged as one pet. 

Like most airlines, Delta has a limit on the amount of pets per flight, which depends on the aircraft and usually does not exceed 4. To reserve a spot for your pet, you will need to call Delta in advance. Giving your airline a call is always a smart idea, so you can double check all of the requirements for flying with a dog. 

Everything You'll Need for Flying With a Dog

Overland Dog Gear Week Away Bag

Whether you’re going to your dog park for the day or taking a lengthy vacation, the Overland Dog Gear Week Away Bag will help you stay organized. The bag is lightweight yet durable and able to hold just about anything your pup needs during a trip. It includes two collapsible dishwasher safe water and food dishes, as well as a mat to keep the area clean.

You’ll immediately find that this bag will keep you organized no matter how crazy your travels get. There are a variety of secure pouches, pockets, and zippers that allow for plenty of storage, and up to thirty cups of dog food. The bag also comes with two lined pouches that easily carry food, water, or treats to keep your pup occupied. If you’re flying with a dog, you’ll be happy to hear that the bag easily attaches to suitcases to make traveling easy. Plus, it even meets airline carry-on requirements.

Sherpa On Wheels Pet Carrier

After learning about airline requirements, you know that you will need a pet carrier when flying with a dog. Finding the right carrier for traveling with your dog can be hard, especially when each airline has their own unique requirements. Fortunately, the Sherpa On Wheels Pet Carrier is airline approved. The pet carrier is backed by the Guaranteed On-Board Program, which works with airlines to find carriers that follow the rules and regulations. 

Not only is this pet carrier approved by major airlines, but it also has a super functional design! It features 360 degree rotating wheels, which makes walking around the airport with your pup easy. Instead of having to lug the carrier around in your arms, you can simply pull it by the handle and glide through the airport. 

Specifically, the Sherpa On Wheels Pet Carrier is 20 x 12.2 x 10.5”, making it ideal for traveling with a small pup. Plus, it’s made with durable nylon, has two zipper entry ways, and includes a “pet onboard” flag! Overall, this pet carrier has just about everything you want for traveling with Fido. If you want to learn more about this carrier, head on over to our Sherpa On Wheels Airline Approved Pet Carrier Review.


Pet Relief Motion Sickness Relief

Just like humans, some dogs get motion sick on planes and in cars. This spray helps to relieve motion sickness in pups in a natural way. Rather than running to the vet and paying for a prescription, you can try out this natural formula from Pet Relief. Luckily, this formula is made without any harsh chemicals.

To apply it, simply spray it onto your hands and then rubbing it directly on their ears, back, and belly. We recommend trying out this product a week before your flight to see how your pooch reacts to it for smaller trips (such as a ride in the car). If your pup struggles with dizziness and nausea during car rides or on flights, this is a great, all-natural product to try out! Not to mention, it’s much more inexpensive than medications from your vet. 

Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar

Many dogs experience anxiety during flights due to new sounds, smells, and of course, the motion may upset them. To reduce your pup’s anxiety, we highly recommend trying out an Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar before long flights. The collar is activated by heat while your dog wears it, which then allows it to release odorless pheromones. Essentially, the pheromones used in the Adaptil collar will comfort your dog and reduce anxiety. Typically, it can help to prevent stress induced behavior, such as excessive chewing, barking, urinating indoors, or general anxiety. 

However, if the root of your dog’s issues is not anxiety, the Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar won’t do much to help. Dogs with medical conditions that cause urination, excited puppies, and dogs with aggression problems won’t be phased by this collar. You should seek either trainers or medical attention for these problems. 

Ultimately, the Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar is an easy solution to your dog’s anxiety. You won’t have to apply sprays or oils to your pup, which can sometimes be a hassle. Simply place the collar on your dog and the collar will do the work for you. To see an in depth article on this product, take a look at our Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar Review. 

Pet Health Passport

Some airlines require proof of your dog’s vaccines before you get on the flight. A Pet Health Passport is a great way to keep track of this information, as well as other important information. This passport has plenty of space for all of your dog’s information in case of any emergency that may happen on the flight. The pack is 86 pages, measuring 5″ x 8″. We recommend keeping this passport in your car, and of course, with your dog’s carrier.

As you can see below, you can list your vet’s name, groomer, and any allergies that your dog may have. Of course, this is all great information to give to your dog sitters as well. You can leave the passport out for them in case they need to call a vet, neighbor, or anyone else for your pooch!

paw passport
dog passport