How do you fly with a big dog? The Ultimate Guide

The Basics of Flying with a Large Dog

Flying with your furry friend isn’t as traditional as flying with a child. Understanding the right way to fly with a pet, especially large dogs, requires planning. It’s not something you want to figure out on the fly (pardon the pun) or wait until the day-of to figure out. Look into the airline you are flying with and figure out if they accommodate large dogs and what their policies are. Some airlines provide crates, but most require that you bring your own.

If you do not have a crate, you need to give yourself enough time to find and purchase a comfortable crate as well as train him or her not to panic when they are inside their crate. Ideally, your dog is properly crate trained. But, if not, they should at least have some familiarity with spending time in their crate. Even if you just buy the crate a week in advance and put your dog in it with treats for a few hours a day, that will help tremendously on the day you depart.

Is it possible to fly with a large dog in a cabin?

The short answer here is no, you cannot fly with your large dog in the cabin during your flight. Most airlines have a requirement that to travel in the cabin, dogs must be able to fit inside a carrier that is stored underneath a plane seat.

Unfortunately, this means that any medium sized to large sized dogs like Huskies or Labradors are automatically ruled out. Besides smaller dogs being allowed to travel in the cabin, there are a few exceptions.

A trained or certified support or service dog, accompanied by legitimate documentation, is occasionally allowed to travel with their owners in the cabin. Flights can be a stressful time for most people, and for those who require service dogs, it can be even more so.

Hence why airlines might make exceptions for larger service dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, to be allowed in the cabin during a flight. However, this is up to the discretion of the airline and as such, it is vital that you continuously check the rules and regulations.

Always check before booking your flight, as information can change rapidly.

Three Ways Dogs Fly On Planes

  • As Carry-Ons: Many smaller dog breeds and puppies are allowed to travel in carry-on luggage. Unfortunately, if you have a large adult dog breed, you will need to make other plans! Dogs usually need to be 20 lbs or less to fly with you inside the plane.
  • As Checked Bags: The majority of airlines allow crated dogs to fly as checked bags. This means you will bring your dog’s crate to check-in like your other baggage, and he or she will be weighing and transported like the rest of the plane’s bags.
  • As Cargo: Depending on the size of your canine and the airline you fly with, some may require that large dogs fly as cargo. This is not really something you need to worry about as you and your dog will still end up in the same place.
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