How to Carry a Dog in a Plane

Going on a trip, it is easier for a while to entrust looking after the dog to friends or someone close to you. But what if there is no one to ask for help, or is it planned to move to another city or even another country for permanent residence? The only sure way is to take your doggie friend with you. Animals can be transported on trains, but can dogs be transported on an airplane? Let’s try to figure it out.


Conditions of dog transportation

When planning to go on a trip with an animal, you should carefully study the rules for transporting dogs on an airplane in advance:

  • It is necessary to notify that a dog will be on board 36 hours or more before departure; 
  • When booking a ticket, the airline employee must inform the breed of the animal, its weight (with and without containers), height, dimensions of the container for transportation; 
  • Before departure, the dog must be examined by a veterinarian at the airport (this procedure lasts about 45 minutes, therefore it is better to arrive at the airport in advance, at least 2 hours in advance); 
  • The most important vaccination is against rabies; without it, the dog will not be allowed on the plane at all. The animal must be vaccinated at least 1 month and a maximum of 12 months before the flight; 
  • A capable citizen over the age of 18 has the right to accompany the animal; 
  • It is possible to sit in the aircraft cabin with a dog only in remote places (for example, near a toilet); 
  • It is forbidden to place a container with a dog on the aisle; 
  • It is forbidden to place a container with a dog near someone else’s child and someone else’s animal; 
  • The owner who travels with the dog must have a veterinary first-aid kit (it is better to consult a doctor about its contents); 
  • It is not allowed to take the dog out of the container during the flight; 
  • It is forbidden to feed animals during the flight, but you can drink water if the transportation of dogs on the plane lasts more than 5 hours; 
  • A special sticker with information about the animal and its owner is attached to the container with the dog (all these data must be checked before departure); 
  • Due to surges in atmospheric pressure, it is forbidden to sedate the dog; 
  • During the flight, the dog must be wearing a muzzle, leash, and collar (some companies require only a leash and collar); 
  • It is not recommended to feed the dog later than 4 hours before departure; 
  • Take your dog for a walk before flying.

Which dogs are not allowed on the plane?

Traveling by air is a serious business. And of course, not every dog is allowed to fly unhindered. So, it is forbidden to fly with sick animals. This refers to serious infectious diseases: rabies, plague, leptospirosis, microsporidia, and trichophytosis, infectious hepatitis, parvovirus enteritis.

Also, the air carrier company has the right to prohibit the owner from flying with a brachycephalic dog (Pug, Boxer, Shar Pei, Pekingese, etc.). Such animals with a shortened muzzle on the plane may have breathing and heart problems due to the non-standard structure of the skull.

Heavy dogs whose body weight, together with the weight of the shipping container, exceeds 50 kg will be denied. A large dog will not be able to accompany the owner during the flight.

It is unlikely that a dog with a dirty coat and an unpleasant smell, as well as an animal that behaves extremely restlessly in a shipping container, is not allowed on the flight (even small dogs and puppies cannot be carried on hand).

Several airlines do not allow puppies under 3 months old on board, which, due to their age, have not yet had time to receive important vaccines. They may not be allowed on the plane with a pregnant bitch, so that the animal does not whelp during the summer. It is also possible to ban the transportation of an elderly dog ​​(over 10-12 years old) with poor health, as well as an animal of any age with diseases of the heart and blood vessels, respiratory and nervous systems. Finally, it should be mentioned that no more than 5 dogs can be transported with you at the same time, regardless of the size of the animals.

Transportation of dogs in the cabin and the baggage compartment of the aircraft

Depending on the size of the animal, the airline representatives can offer transportation of the dog both in the cabin and in the luggage compartment. Animals whose weight with a shipping container does not exceed 8 kg are allowed to travel in the cabin in a container near the owner (a carrier with a dog is installed near the owner’s feet). In this case, you can simultaneously transport two adult dogs or three puppies, if their total weight with containers is not more than 8 kg.

If the total weight of the animal and the container is over 8 kg, then the dog can be transported on the plane only in the baggage hold. It is also allowed to carry potentially dangerous dogs there: fighting, guard, guard, and aggressive dogs of any breed.

Aircraft dog carrier

Now let’s talk about what a container or cage should be for transporting dogs:

  • Containers for transportation in the luggage compartment must be made of high quality and durable plastic. In the salon, you can transport a dog in a closed soft carrying bag; 
  • The inner walls of the container must not have sharp corners and protrusions so that the animal cannot get hurt; 
  • Doors and walls of the container should not have openings larger than 25×25 mm so that the animal does not have the opportunity to pull its paw, tail, or nose into such cells; 
  • The door of the container should be iron and reliable, with good locks, so that the animal, even when trying to escape, could not open its transportation “house”; 
  • The bottom of the cage in which the dog will be transported must be waterproof; 
  • The bottom of the carrying container must be covered with a cloth and an absorbent diaper; 
  • Good ventilation is an important requirement for a dog transport container; 
  • The travel cage must be comfortable for the animal. Being in it, the dog should easily get up and lie down, sit; 
  • From February 2019, the dimensions of the carrier for dogs should not exceed 44x30x26 cm (length, width, height), provided that the animal is transported in the cabin of the aircraft. If the parameters of the container for transportation are higher, then the flight will be carried out in the cargo hold.

Required documents for transporting an animal

The flight with the dog on the plane is possible only if you have documents. So, for unimpeded transportation in Russia and the CIS, you will need a duly issued veterinary passport (indicating the breed of the animal, its age, color, nickname, sex, owner’s data, notes on vaccines made, and anthelmintic and anti-flea and anti-tick treatments are required). In addition to the veterinary passport, a state certificate number 1 will be required, indicating the data of the dog (name, sex, age, etc.), as well as information about the upcoming route and the results of the examination of the animal. Such a document can be obtained at the state veterinary clinic, having arrived there with the dog and its veterinary passport. Important: the state certificate should not be received earlier than 5 days before departure, otherwise it will be considered invalid.

When planning to go on an overseas flight, we strongly recommend that the owner familiarize himself with the legislation of the country in advance to clarify whether it is possible to bring pets there at all, what kind of dogs can be on the plane, whether the dog should be microchipped, how old the dog should be, what vaccinations should be done and what documents may be required.

How much does dog traveling cost?

It is allowed to carry service dogs and guide dogs in the aircraft cabin free of charge and without a shipping container (if supporting documents are available). For an ordinary domestic dog, you will need to pay as for non-standard baggage (a special plane ticket for a dog is not required).

Preparing your dog for air travel

When figuring out how to transport a dog on an airplane, the owner should be aware of the preparation for this no doubt exciting event. Let’s find out what needs to be done sometime before the flight:

  • Train the dog to the container in which the transportation will be carried out. Ideally, the dog should absolutely fearlessly enter the cage (carrying bag, container, etc.) at the command of the owner; 
  • Visit the airport with your dog. It is advisable to do this if the animal rarely visits crowded places and is flying for the first time. A crowd of worried people and loud announcements of the dispatcher can provoke panic in an unprepared dog; 
  • Prepare a veterinary first aid kit. As we mentioned above, it is better to consult a doctor about its composition. By the way, just in case, it is better to arm yourself with the veterinarian’s phone number in case the animal does not feel well after the flight; 
  • Stock up on absorbent diapers and wet wipes. On the plane, the dog can easily satisfy its natural needs, it can also vomit. The owner will have to clean up; 
  • Water and a bowl. If the flight is short (1-4 hours, the animal can endure thirst). But on a trip abroad, you must definitely take the animal to drink.

Finally, immediately on the day of departure, you need to feed the dog satisfyingly, but moderately, an hour and a half before leaving the house, and then walk with it. It is important to check all the documents, to clarify whether all of the necessary items have been taken, to calm down and a couple of hours before the departure time go to the airport.

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