What paperwork do I need to fly with my dog? A Comprehensive Guide

Therapy Dogs

The Department has developed guidance for handlers and facilities using therapy dogs. Anyone using such dogs should see the resources below to ensure that their dogs are properly licensed and registered, and that handlers and institutions are following appropriate health and training guidelines.

I need to make an extended trip away from home and I have made arrangements for my small dog to join me. I’ll be flying to my destination. What do I need to consider?

Successful airline travel with a dog begins long before the day of travel. It requires planning and preparation in order to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both you and your dog.

Do your homework with the airlines. Confirm that your dog can travel in the airplane cabin under the seat in front of you. Determine what paperwork you must have in preparation for travel including vaccination records and a health certificate for travel. Identify with your airline the precise weight requirements and dimensions under the airline seat, as this will dictate the size of your transport carrier.

Acquire your dog’s travel carrier well in advance of your trip. Consider a soft-sided travel carrier as it is more “forgiving” for fitting under the airline seat space. Teach your dog that the carrier is a great everyday place to hang out. Always have the carrier open and available in your home in order to make it as inviting as possible. Feeding your dog in the carrier can help to create a positive association. Practice entry and exit from the carrier to make it as routine a process as possible – this will be important during security screening.

Once your dog’s flight reservation is made, schedule a visit with your veterinarian close to the date of travel. Most airlines require a valid health certificate for travel completed by your veterinarian in order for your dog to fly with you. Be sure all relevant vaccinations are up to date and be sure to have your dog’s rabies vaccination certificate handy when traveling.

Are there details I should attend to when booking my flight?

Some airlines restrict how many pets may travel in the cabin or on a particular flight, and they may have certain flights on which no pets can fly in the cabin. Book your travel early to ensure a spot for your dog. When choosing your seat, be aware that you will not be able to sit in an exit row or against a bulkhead as there must be a seat in front of you for the carrier. Try to travel non-stop if possible, as layovers and transfers only add to what will be a long day for both you and your dog.

Flying With Your Dog in Cabin (NON ESA) | My Experience Bringing My Corgi on a Plane in a Carrier