Most of us prefer that our large dog travel in the cabin on international and domestic flights. After all, your pet dog is like your baby. So if you have to take your gentle giant with you on a flight for the first time, you’ll have questions about how to do it. Is flying with a large dog allowed? What are the government and airline rules?
Do airlines allow air travel with your favorite pet in a cabin of the plane? Let’s talk about that for a bit.
By rule, airlines do not allow a large dog in the cabin during a flight. In addition, most airlines require that for a dog to fly with you, your fur baby must be in a carrier that will fit underneath a plane seat. Hence, large-sized dogs do not meet such a requirement. So, where will your large dog be?
Flying With A Large Dog In Cargo Hold
Unless you have a large dog as an ESA (emotional support animal) or service animal, the airlines will put your gentle giant in the cargo hold. The airplane has a pressurized, temperature-controlled compartment where large dog breeds can settle comfortably.
While federal and state agencies impose restrictions on transporting live animals, each airline has its policy for carefully handling the animals they transport. The airline policies align with the Animal Welfare Act enforced by the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
It is essential to check with the airline for the rules or restrictions they enforce for traveling with large dogs. The following are two general provisions that most airlines abide by:
You must provide a health certificate when flying with a large dog. Have a licensed veterinarian examine your large dog breed within ten days before the flight and issue a certificate attesting to the animal’s good health. The same provision may apply to service or ESA dogs.
Checked-Baggage In Cargo Hold
Airlines allow flying with a large dog if checked in on the same flight to the same destination. Note that some airlines may charge an excess baggage fee for this service. In addition, the airline has specialists monitoring the movement of animals in the pressurized and temperature-regulated cargo hold.
Airlines That Allow Flying With A Large Dog
Certain airlines offer amenities to facilitate comfortable air travel with large dogs. Airlines on the list of large dog-friendly carriers include:
- American Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
- Air Canada
- Adria Airways (the national airline of Slovenia)
- Air France
- Austrian Air
- Aegean Airlines (Greek airline)
- Iberia (Spain)
- LATAM Airlines (Chilean airline holding company)
- Etihad Airways
- WestJet (Canadian airline)
- Turkish Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
- Qatar Airlines
If the airline you fly is not on this list they may still allow flying with a large dog but don’t necessarily have special accommodations. Please check with your airline to ensure you follow the airline requirements for safe travel.
7 Tips To Take Your Large Dog On A Plane When You Fly
Airlines permit large dogs to travel in a cargo hold in a crate. Most offer tips to ensure the dog’s journey is comfortable and stress-free. Let’s go over a few tips to help your journey go smoothly.
# 1. Activate Pressure And Temperature Controls In Cargo Hold
Airlines may have policies requiring manual activation of the pressurized, temperature-controlled cargo hold. However, it can be risky for your pet if the pilot is unaware that your dog is flying with you.
Slip a note or inform the airline staff that you are flying with a large dog in the cargo hold. You want to ensure that your dog in the cargo hold is comfortable.
#2. Pre-Departure Meal And Water
Of course, you don’t want your dog to go hungry during the flight. According to the Aviation Consumer Protection under the U.S. Department of Transportation, you can give your dog moderate water before and after the flight. Hold all solid food six hours before the flight. However, check with your airline because some allow pre-departure feeding four hours before the flight.
It will also help to freeze a portion of your dog’s water and place it in the crate. Fill the dish with a third to half part of water and freeze it overnight. Then, put the frozen water in the dog’s cage. The water will take about 15 minutes to thaw, and your dog will have water to drink during the flight.
#3. Book A Non-Stop and Off-Peak Flight
When flying with a large dog, avoid connecting flights and go for a direct or non-stop flight. With this plan, you can prevent multiple transfers when flying with a large dog.
Also, avoid the heavy traffic of a holiday or weekend flight. It will decrease stress for your dog when you skip a chaotic airport before boarding the cargo hold.
#4. Travel With The Right Crate
Airlines have different requirements for crate material and dimensions. And because they vary, your best next step is to call the airlines or check the airline website to inquire about these details.
In general, things to consider for your dog’s crate are:
- Your dog should be able to comfortably turn, sit, stand, and move about the crate. In addition, place a blanket on the crate’s floor to make your dog sleep comfortably during the flight.
- Secure Door. Whether it’s a keypad or key lock, the crate must have a safety lock to secure your dog.
- Label Space. Choose a crate with a space for a label because you need to stick a red or green sticker that says, “Warning: Live Animal.”
It will help if you allow your dog to get familiar with the crate days or weeks before the flight.
#5. Tag Your Dog, Tag The Crate
When flying with a large dog, place a tag on him with your name, address, and contact number and attach a similar label to the crate. Also, ensure you have a photo of your dog in the cage before boarding your flight, as this will help identify your dog with the crate.
#6. Give Your Dog a Bathroom Break Before The Flight
If you’re flying with a large dog for long hours, ensure your dog gets a bathroom break before the flight. Note that dogs can go for at least 6 hours between bathroom breaks. Hence, you can calculate the estimated next bathroom break to ensure your dog stays clean and comfortable in the crate during the flight.
#7. Departure Day Exercise
Giving your dog light exercise or walking before the flight can help it become accustomed to the airport and alleviate anxiety. Furthermore, this activity can allow it to tire out and more easily nap during the flight.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Flying With A Large Dog
Here are a few questions you may have regarding flying with a large dog.
What is the best way to fly with a large dog?
Most airlines require large dogs to fly in the plane’s cargo hold, which is typically equipped with temperature and pressure controls to ensure a comfortable journey for your pet.
Is flying with a large dog safe?
By following the airline rules and guidelines for flying with a large dog, your dog will travel safely and comfortably in the plane’s cargo hold.
How can I fly with my 70-pound dog?
You can fly with your 70-pound dog in a crate in the plane’s cargo hold. However, large dogs are not to be in the cabin with you. Each airline has rules to keep your dog safe and comfortable.
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Flying With A Large Dog – Conclusion
Airline cargo holds ensure your dog is comfortable, and the airline takes special care to maintain safety and comfort during their journey.
So flying with a large dog is possible and safe when necessary.
Happy travels, my friends.