Is It Safe For Dogs to Fly


Is it safe for dogs to flyImagining an important trip without our furry little friend is almost impossible for most of us. The thought of leaving your dog behind is difficult, as dogs are very friendly and social animals that can certainly adapt to our vacation schedules. They love nothing more than being by our side all day long. But many pet parents have safety concerns and want to know – is it safe for dogs to fly? Beyond the fact that we also want our furry friends by our side, the thought of all the things that could possibly go wrong with your dog when you’re off on a cross-country trip is enough to give you serious pangs of anxiety. So, it looks like you’ll be traveling with your dog.

Traveling with your dog might mean placing him in a pet carrier and taking him on a road trip with you. Other moves or holiday trips will require you to fly with your dog. Some dogs are accustomed to flying because they are comfortable riding in cars in a more enclosed environment.

However, for some dogs, this experience is new. Recently, two dog deaths related to flying were reported in the news. This has raised concerns among pet owners, and has made it all the more important for them to ensure that their pets are safe and happy while flying, whether they are placed in the cabin or cargo area of the aircraft.

Before flying with your dog, a few considerations:

Airline Policies on Pet Safety Regulations

Before flying with your dog, you will need to find out which airlines allow pets on the plane, and what their specific policies are. Some airlines allow dogs only in the cargo area; others allow them only in the cabin, while some don’t allow dogs on flights at all. Here is a list of some commercial airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cargo and/or cabin areas:

  • Northwest
  • Continental
  • United
  • American
  • Spirit
  • Frontier
  • Delta

Note that flying with your dog will require a separate fee from your ticket price, ranging from $35 to $100 (on either one-way or round trip flights).

Professional Service

If you are unable to find a suitable airline to transport your pet, or the policies are too restrictive, try contacting professional pet transportation companies. Though these will cost you slightly more, they are extremely knowledgeable, meet all the flight regulations for transporting pets, and give you the peace of mind that your dog is in safe hands.  But don’t get scammed – check to see if they are accredited by the Better Business Burea  and look for client reviews.  Here are few:


Tranquilizers and Sedatives

People often think that using tranquilizers and sedatives will help keep their dogs calm during flights. However, many experts believe otherwise, and suggest that these medications are quite dangerous because they interfere with the ability of the pet to stay balanced. This increases the risk of injury to the pet when the carriers are moved. Tranquilizers and sedatives also cause cardiovascular and respiratory complications in medicated dogs.

Be sure to talk to a vet before considering getting your dog tranquilized or sedated for a flight.

Happy travels!


Photo:  Courtesy of kossy@FINEDAYS via Flickr (CC by 2.0)


WagBrag’s co-founder, Russ Boles, has a deep history in animal rescue and welfare. For the past 12 years, Russ has served in various roles with Atlanta-based animal advocacy organizations focused on rescue, training and education. In addition, Russ led a local rescue volunteer team into New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina, assisting in efforts to rescue and care for stranded animals. This experience changed his life, and animal rescue and advocacy will always be a part of everything he does.