Tips On Preparing Your Dog For Plane Travel


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El Paso Animal Shelter
April 03, 2023

When it comes to traveling with your dog, the most challenging way to do it is by plane. With many things to consider and a multitude of things to do to prepare for your pup’s flight, it can be pretty involved if you don’t know where to start. Getting ready to fly high with your dog doesn’t have to be stressful!

Training For Take-Off

When flying, your dog will more than likely need to stay in a crate for the duration of the flight. If your dog isn’t used to being in a crate, begin crate training as soon as possible before your trip. Make sure you have a hard-sided plastic travel kennel that is the correct size for your dog. If your flight is long, practice by leaving your dog in his crate longer and longer each time until you know he can comfortably handle the duration of the flight.

Avoid giving your dog a water bowl inside his crate during the trip. Instead, opt for a water bottle that is similar to those you’d put in a rabbit cage. Take the time to teach your dog how to drink from this bottle. Training your dog to use this type of water bottle will allow him to stay hydrated during the flight without allowing him to drink too much. Using a bottle instead of a bowl will also cut out the chance of the bowl being spilled.

Choosing An Airline

When choosing an airline, always make sure to do your research. Make sure to find one that suits you and your dog’s needs. Call the airline ahead of time to find out if there are any breed or size restrictions, and if they have any restrictions on travel crates. 

Double-check with the airline if there are any requirements for medical records for your dog. While it’s not always the case for flights within the U.S., you are always required to provide a certificate of health from your vet when you are traveling internationally.

The Big Day!

On the day of your flight, there are a few things you want to make sure you do to be certain your dog will be as relaxed and comfortable as he can be. The first thing you should do is to make sure he has gotten plenty of exercise and time to run and play; expending as much energy as possible will keep your pup from being restless and antsy during the flight.

To avoid any accidents, or vomiting during your trip, steer clear of feeding your dog within six hours of the flight. However, do not withhold food from small breeds, or young puppies. Doing this can add to the risk of low blood sugar. Allow puppies and small breeds to nibble on food or snacks throughout the trip. Be sure that your dog gets the opportunity to relieve themselves immediately before heading inside the airport and boarding onto the plane. Pee-pads, doggy diapers, and male belly wraps are also great ideas just in case an accident does occur. If you have a layover and must switch planes mid-trip, look for “pet relief stations” for quick potty breaks and a chance to let your dog stretch his legs.

Whatever you do, especially if you know a short-nose breed of dog, do not give your dog any sort of tranquilizers before your flight. Doing this can increase the risk associated with respiratory and heart issues.

Going on trips with your dog can be fun and exciting, without being stressful. By doing a thorough research and proper training and preparing your dog for flight, you can count on sharing this great experience with your best four-legged friend in as smooth a way as any.

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