Winnie Mae

Airlines and Therapy Dogs

We are going to be traveling in airlines soon. My dog is a year old and she is small enough to travel in the cabin with us, but I really don't want her to travel in-cargo and I really don't want to pay $250 every time we fly (round trip).
I want her to be a therapy dog as soon as she settles down a bit, grows up you know. She's really good with people, she's like a magnet with kids. I can see her making some little hospitalized-girl's day.
I know some airlines allow certified therapy dogs to travel in-cabin for FREE providing they have a letter from a hospital/nursing home/etc. in the area inviting the dog to come in for a visit.
So, my question…which airlines allow this? Do they at all? How hard is the Therapy dog test?

Answers very much appreciated! Thanks guys!

Asked by Winnie Mae on Oct 5th 2009 Tagged therapy, training, airlines, travel, air, cargo in Air Travel
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Best Answer


Pay the fee. It's like buying a ticket for your dog. You bought a ticket for yourself, after all.

The only dogs that fly for free are service dogs and emotional support dogs. An emotional support dog is NOT a service animal -- it's similar to a therapy dog, but it is needed for the individual handling it. ESDs do NOT have the same access rights as SDs. The airlines and Greyhound give them special consideration, but by federal law they are not required to. The only federal rights that ESDs have is being allowed in no-pet housing. These are the dogs that are required to have a letter prescribing them by a doctor -- usually a mental health professional.

Please, DO NOT go out and get a letter just so your dog flies for free. It's cheating those of us who have a very real mental health conditional and a legitimate need to have our companion with us.

answered on Oct 6th.

Other Answers



Sorry, I think you are confusing therapy dogs with service dogs. Therapy dogs have no rights other than visiting those facilities which invite them. Service dogs do have more rights but must be legally providing a service such as alerting to a medical condition, or the like. See the Service and Therapy dog section on the dogster forums for more information.

B.J., CGC answered on 10/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


B.J. is correct. A service dog may fly with it's human, free, anytime. I know a woman who trained her dog to detect when her sugar is low, so she is certified as a Diabetic Aide to her human. A Therapy dog has no special privilages.

Snickers answered on 10/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer