How Do Dogs Survive On a Plane? TRAVEL Considerations

With airline travel once again becoming commonplace after Covid-19, people are on the move with their dogs.

Flying with your dog sometimes involves having your dog with you, but other times involves putting your dog in a crate in the cargo hold.

How do dogs survive on a plane? Is it really best to have them with you, or is it better to give them some anti-anxiety oil and ship them in the cargo section?

Read on if air travel is in your future and you want to know how dogs survive on airplanes.

Read our related article on How to Travel With Your Dog Internationally for more information!

how do dogs survive on a plane?

How do Dogs Survive on a Plane?
While dogs do not have freedom to roam on an airliner, some enjoy the experience.

As it turns out, dogs survive really well on planes.

About 2 million pets travel on airlines annually, according to Forbes, and between 2010 and 2020, there have been about 250 pet deaths during commercial air travel.

The Washington Post reports that the worst airline to put your pet on is United Airlines, but the vast majority of pets travel safely in an airliner, even those owned by United.

The more pressing question may be whether or not air travel is good for your dog, in particular.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of traveling with your dog on a plane.

Read our related article, How Do Dogs Travel in Cargo? for more information on air travel with your pet!

What to consider about air travel

Advantages Of Taking Dog On A Plane
Large breeds are not a good fit for the cabin, but small dogs can travel there.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to take your dog with you on a plane:

  • You are moving to a part of the country distant from yours
  • You are going on vacation
  • You are checking out an area for possible relocation
  • You want your dog as a support animal

Whatever the reason, there are a few things you should keep in mind before bringing your dog on a plane.

how your dog does with anxiety or motion sickness

First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure that your dog is comfortable with flying.

Many people want to bring their dogs as a support animal to help them with the anxiety of air travel.

But if your dog gets anxious or stressed out easily, it might not be the best idea to bring her on a plane.

Dogs that get car sick might also have trouble adjusting to the movement of a plane.

Your veterinarian will be able to advise on medication to give to your dog during air travel, or if CBD oil is a good alternative.

make sure your dog is vaccinated

In addition, you’ll need to make sure that your dog is properly vaccinated. If you are traveling out of the country, you may need a pet passport.

And be prepared for your dog to be quarantined for a period if that is what the new country requires.

is the cabin really best for your dog?

Bringing your dog with you onto the cabin may not be the right decision for either you or your dog.

Before answering that question be sure to consider the following things:

  • Your airline’s rules on the matter
  • Whether your dog will fit comfortably in the cabin
  • If your dog becomes aggressive in stressful situations
  • If your dog is prone to barking around strangers

Finally, make sure you book a flight that allows animals in the cabin. Not all flights allow pets, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time.

The size of your dog will determine whether or not you may take him with you in the cabin.

Even if the restrictions differ from airline to airline, your dog can only fly as a “carry-on”–in other words, if they fit in a carrier beneath the seat ahead of you.

Obviously, if your dog is aggressive and barks a lot, this will not only make the trip unpleasant for you, but for everyone around you.

consider others

Remember that you may be alone on a plane for of people who do not care for dogs.

You need to be sure that your dog is comfortable around strangers and will not trigger others’ fears of being attacked.

The process of taking a dog on a plane can be a bit daunting, but with a little bit of preparation, it can be a smooth trip for both you and your furry friend.

Just remember to keep your dog’s safety and comfort in mind at all times.

What about the cargohold?

Disadvantages of Taking Dog On Plane
Disadvantages of Taking Dog On Plane

If you have a large breed dog, she will be carried inside the baggage compartment with the luggage and freight.

The term “shipping” also refers to air travel for pets.

Airlines state that they make an effort to keep canines comfortable in the freight hold, but it’s a difficult experience for your pet and being separated from you.

Items may shift about or fall during the flight, which can be loud and frightening.

On the other hand, people have put a lot of time and consideration into making it as comfortable as possible for your dog to fly in cargo.

Read our article about airline approved dog crates to get an idea.

You can also get advice from your vet about whether or not a sedative would be good for your to make the trip more comfortable.

Before you make a reservation

Traveling by plane can be stressful. Even the most frequent traveler has doubts at one point or another.

From searching for your gate to wondering if your flight will be canceled, you always have a few concerns.

Your dog can experience comparable stress. They will feel the air pressure changing while in the cargo hold as the plane ascends and descends, as well as other things.

So, before you make a reservation, consider if air travel is really for your dog and if there is another way to transport him and you to your destination.

Final Thoughts

Flying with your dog has both advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making a decision.

Weigh the pros and cons to determine if air travel is right for your canine companion. No matter what you decide, remember to put your dog’s safety first.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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