The first time I flew with my small dog, I did a lot of research about how to prepare for the flight.
I wanted to write everything down since I don’t fly with my dog often and would probably need to review the information in the future.
I hope it helps you prepare to fly with your dog too.
How to Prepare to Fly With Your Small Dog
1) Check your airline’s pet rules
Check with the airline to see if they allow pets in the cabin and if there are any size or breed restrictions.
Some airlines only allow small dogs in the cabin, while others may have more relaxed rules.
2) Book your pet’s “seat”
Make a reservation for your dog if your airline allows.
Most airlines limit the number of pets allowed in the cabin on each flight.
3) Get an airline approved pet carrier
Check your airline or carrier requirements because they can vary.
Also look up the particular plane model you will be flying because each airline has different dimensions for the space under the seat (and aisle, middle, and window seats do not have the same space.
The dog carrier should be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, but large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
If you can, get a carrier with at least a few small pockets because it will could as your personal items that fits under the seat.
The rest of the stuff you bring will have to fit in a carry on suitcase and go into the overhead bin.
My favorite airline approved dog carrier is the SleepyPod Air.
4) Get your dog used to the carrier
Prepare your dog for the flight by getting them used to being in their carrier and making sure they are comfortable and relaxed in it.
My Dachshund Gretel hopped in the carrier as soon as I took it out of the box but that’s probably because she is crate trained and used to being inside a small space.
Not every dog will feel comfortable in a carrier bag right away.
5) Pack for the flight
Pack all of the necessary items for your dog, including food, water, a leash, and any necessary medications.
6) Visit the vet if needed
Check your airline to see if your dog needs a health certificate to fly.
Some airlines may require you to present this documentation at check-in.
The best place to check for this information is your airline’s website but you can also get a decent idea from this airline health certificate requirement chart.
If so, schedule an appointment with your vet within a week of your flight departure.
That’ also a good time to make sure your dog is up to date on all of their vaccinations.
7) Research airport potty stations
Whether you are on a direct flight or have a layover, your dog will probably need to use the bathroom before you leave the airport.
Research your destination airport, and any airports where you will have a layover, to see if they have a dog potty station, or “pet relief area” and, if so, where it’s located.
Some will be located outside, beyond the security gates, but many will be inside the airport building.
Flying with your small dog may seem scary if you have never done it before.
I know I was really nervous the first time.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.