How to Fly Large Dogs

How to Fly with Large Dogs: A Complete Guide

Flying with large dogs can be a challenging experience for pet owners. From choosing the right airline to preparing your dog for the journey, there are many factors to consider. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to ensure a safe and comfortable flight for your furry friend.

Choosing the Right Airline

Before booking your flight, it’s important to research the pet policies of different airlines. Not all airlines allow large dogs in the cabin, so you’ll need to find one that can accommodate your pet’s size. Some airlines have specific requirements for pet carriers and may also have restrictions based on the breed of your dog.

When choosing an airline, consider factors such as the length of the flight, the size of the aircraft, and the overall pet-friendliness of the airline. Look for airlines that have a good track record of transporting pets and provide amenities such as climate-controlled cargo areas for safe and comfortable travel.

How to Fly Large Dogs


Preparing Your Dog for the Flight

It’s important to prepare your dog for the upcoming flight to minimize stress and anxiety. Start by getting your dog accustomed to the travel carrier that they will be flying in. Gradually introduce your dog to the carrier by placing treats and toys inside, allowing them to explore and get comfortable with the space.

Visit the veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy and up to date on vaccinations. Your vet can also provide you with a health certificate, which may be required by the airline. This certificate is a record of your pet’s good health and will need to be presented before boarding the flight.

How to Fly Large Dogs


Choosing the Right Travel Carrier

Invest in a travel carrier that is spacious enough for your large dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Make sure the carrier is well-ventilated and secure to prevent any escape attempts. Look for carriers that are approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to ensure compliance with airline regulations.

Consider adding familiar bedding or clothing with your scent to the carrier to provide comfort and reassurance to your dog during the flight. Additionally, attach a water bottle to the carrier to keep your pet hydrated throughout the journey.

Booking Your Flight

Once you’ve chosen the right airline and prepared your dog for the flight, it’s time to book your tickets. Notify the airline in advance that you will be traveling with a large dog to ensure that there is space available for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold. Some airlines have limited slots for pet travel, so early booking is crucial.

When selecting your seat, opt for a location with extra legroom to accommodate your dog’s carrier comfortably. This will also provide you with easier access to your pet during the flight and allow you to attend to their needs as necessary.

Travel Day Preparation

On the day of the flight, ensure that your dog has had plenty of exercise and has used the bathroom before heading to the airport. Avoid feeding your dog a large meal prior to the flight to prevent motion sickness and discomfort during travel. Pack some of your dog’s favorite toys and treats to keep them entertained and calm during the journey.

Arrive at the airport well in advance to allow time for check-in procedures and security checks. Keep your dog’s leash on until it’s time to place them in the carrier, and ensure they are wearing proper identification tags with your contact information in case they get separated from you at any point during the journey.

During the Flight

Once on board, ensure that your dog’s carrier is securely stowed and positioned in a way that allows for proper airflow. Comfort your dog with soothing words and gentle petting to help them relax during takeoff and landing. If your dog is traveling in the cargo hold, inform the flight attendants so they can monitor the temperature and pressure in the area where your pet is situated.

Refrain from opening your dog’s carrier during the flight, as this can cause anxiety and could potentially lead to escape. Instead, check on your dog discreetly through the carrier’s ventilation holes and attend to their needs without fully opening the door.

Post-Flight Care

After landing, find a quiet area to reunite with your dog and allow them to stretch and relieve themselves if necessary. Monitor your dog for any signs of stress or discomfort and provide them with water and a small meal to help them recover from the journey.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, take the time to acclimate your dog to the new environment and ensure they have a safe and comfortable space to rest. Pay attention to any behavioral changes and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s well-being after the flight.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Fly Large Dogs

Can Large Dogs Fly In The Cabin Of A Plane?

Yes, large dogs can fly in the cabin of a plane as long as they meet the airline’s size and weight requirements.

How Do I Prepare My Large Dog For Air Travel?

To prepare your large dog for air travel, crate train them, acclimate them to their carrier, and provide comfort items.

What Are The Size Restrictions For Flying Large Dogs?

The size restrictions for flying large dogs vary by airline, so it’s important to check with the airline for their specific requirements.

Can Large Dogs Travel In Cargo?

Yes, large dogs can travel in the cargo hold of a plane, but it’s important to ensure their safety and comfort.


Flying with a large dog requires careful planning and preparation, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth and stress-free experience for both you and your pet. By selecting the right airline, preparing your dog for the journey, and following the necessary steps for travel, you can ensure that your furry companion has a safe and comfortable flight.

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