Tips for Traveling by Air with Your Dog

Hi, I’m Penny. I’m a year-and-a-half-old miniature Australian shepherd, and I love to travel. As of this blog, I’ve been to 13 states, 2 countries, and splashed around in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans! I’m taking over my mom’s blog for the day (it’s awfully hard to type with paws).

I want to share with you my must-haves for traveling by air with a dog.

Fun fact: I’ve been flying since I was 3 ½ months old. Here I am in New York City for an exclusive screening of The Secret Life of Pets! Whoa, mom could hold me with one arm back then! What a cute wigglebutt I was!

Checklist for air travel with your dog

  1. Soft-sided pet carrier: If you’re small enough to fit under the seat, this airline-approved pet carrier is high-quality and comfortable. It also doubles as a crate in the hotel room.
  2. Collapsible dish: Mom keeps this collapsible dish on a carabiner hooked on her backpack or handbag.
  3. Dog food: Don’t forget to bring some kibble for your destination — it will prevent you from having to run out to buy more and reduce the risk of the store not having your brand. Tip: Take out the food baggie when you go through security. Consumables often get flagged by the TSA — Mom’s had her bag checked several times.
  4. Hands-free leash: This durable leash allows Mom to have her hands-free when we travel, which I know is a plus when we’re running through the airport with luggage, ID and boarding pass.
  5. Toys: Mom always brings a couple of my favorite toys to keep me occupied in my new destination: there’s always a ball, a chew toy, and a plush toy.
  6. Doggie waste bags: This one’s a no-brainer!

A note about New York (and other concrete jungles) — I was definitely confused about where to go potty. No landscaping rocks? No grass? Where the heck am I supposed to go?! Don’t worry, your dog will figure things out as I did. I finally ended up going on the sidewalk; I reverted back to my old habits as soon as I got home.

So, where all have I been? Arizona (duh, I live here!), California, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Florida, Connecticut, New York, and Mexico!

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

And what’s my favorite place? The ocean!! (Obviously.)

Ocean Beach Dog Beach, San Diego, CA

If your dog isn’t as used to flying as I am, there’s a couple of ways to prepare him or her.

My tips for getting your dog ready for air travel

  1. Make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations.
  2. Get a health certificate from your vet to show to the airline.
  3. Don’t give them any food 4-6 hours before travel.
  4. Give them a bathroom break before going into the airport (otherwise, it’s going to be a long day!).
  5. Review the schematics of your departure, layover, and arrival airports to see where the dog relief areas are. This is becoming more and more commonplace in U.S. airports!
  6. Bring puppy pads just in case there are no dog relief areas.
  7. Give them ice cubes instead of water (we want to keep them hydrated, but not overdo the water! The flight attendants are really nice about this!).
  8. Search Yelp or Google for dog-friendly dining, dog parks, and doggie day camps at your destination — Mom usually books hotels right by dog parks to make things easy on us!

That’s all for now! Here are a few pics from my travels… enjoy! If you’d like to see more, you can find me at @minipennyrose on Instagram.

Watertown, CT
Seattle, WA
Taylors Falls, MN
Williams, AZ

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