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Can Dogs Fly on Planes? A Complete Vet-Approved Guide

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog in airport carrier

Can Dogs Fly on Planes? A Complete Vet-Approved Guide


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Whether it’s summer vacation or a trip to the mountains to ski in the middle of winter, most pet parents want to take their canine pals with them when they go somewhere. However, some pet owners worry about taking their dogs on planes or wonder if they’re even allowed to do so in today’s highly chaotic world.

The answer is yes; dogs are allowed to fly on planes. Is it safe, you might wonder? How does that work? We’ll answer those questions and more in the blog below, so stay tuned.

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Which Dog Breeds Are Allowed to Fly?

There are some dog breeds and cat breeds that are prohibited from flying at all. They include flat-faced breeds such as Boston Terriers and the French Bulldog. Brachycephalic dog breeds are prone to heavy breathing, which can become a problem at higher altitudes.

It’s best to contact the commercial airline you’re considering to see which dog breeds they allow to fly through their airline and if any restrictions exist.

dachshund dog in pet carrier
Image By: Masarik, Shutterstock

Where Are Dogs Allowed to Sit on Planes?

There are three ways that a dog can travel on an airplane. The first is as checked luggage in the cabin. The second is as excess luggage, which means your pet will be in the cargo hold beneath the plane. The third is as manifest cargo for larger animals. Service animals are allowed to accompany their owners in the cabin.

Which way your pet gets to travel depends on a few factors. These include the age and breed of your dog, the airline company you want to fly through, the type of aircraft, whether you’ll be traveling on the same flight as your dog, and your destination.

Either way, no matter how you decide to travel with your pet, make sure to purchase a sturdy, durable, comfortable carrier for your dog. You want your furry friend to be happy, healthy, and comfortable during the trip. Briggs & Riley has a great guide that goes into more detail about what to look for in a travel carrier.

It’s best to talk to the airline you’re thinking of booking tickets through to see their pet policies and which options are open to you before you purchase your ticket for the best results.

Image By: RyanTaylor, Shutterstock

What Are the Weight Limits for Flying with Dogs?

Some airlines put a weight limit on the animals they allow to fly, usually capping that weight limit at 20 pounds. However, these limits are generally for dogs and cats flying in the plane’s cabin.

If your dog is larger than 20 pounds, you might have more of a problem with the airline letting you keep the dog in the cabin with you. Some airlines will, but you have to call and check first.

Are There Extra Fees and Paperwork?

Many people don’t realize that you must check in with the airline, pay extra fees, and do extra paperwork to bring your pet onto a plane. Pet fees usually range between $100 to $125, but that varies from airline to airline.

The biggest hassle is that you can’t check in online if you’re taking a pet on the plane with you. You have to get a tag for the pet carrier, which must be done in person. Don’t think you can wait until the last minute, then book a ticket to take your pet on the plane. You need to allow plenty of time for check-in and let the airline know your ticket includes a pet ahead of time.

couple with a dog getting a pet insurance
Image By: Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

While dogs can fly on planes, it’s not as simple as just checking your dog in and settling into your cabin seat. There are limits, requirements, and restrictions, and some airlines don’t allow dogs, especially in the cabin area.

It’s best to contact the airline you want to fly through to see if they allow dogs, what the restrictions are, and how much it’s going to cost you to let your canine pal fly with you. Luckily, quite a few airlines are pet friendly, and you should be able to find one with a bit of research and patience.

Featured Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

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