How do you ship a dog on a plane and what does it cost | CitizenShipper

The rules for transporting pets by air vary from one airline to the next. Still, there is some common ground to be had. In this article, we’ll try to answer all your questions about how you can ship a dog on a plane. We’ll cover the preparations, the paperwork, the airline fees, and the health hazards involved. 

How do you ship a dog or a puppy by plane?

While no two animals are exactly the same, federal and commercial regulations determine if they can travel by air. Here are the conditions your dog must meet:

  • At least 8 weeks old
  • No debilitating injuries or illnesses 
  • No serious behavioural issues
  • Not of a brachycephalic breed

If your pet meets these requirements, the next step is collecting all the necessary documentation. This usually includes the following:

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  • Certificate of veterinary inspection
  • Vaccination certifications
  • Import permit or pet passport (for international travel)

These must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within a time period prescribed by your airline. Depending on the destination, additional documents may be required.

Also, your pup will need to be inside a proper carrier crate to be allowed on a flight. These vary by make, material, size, and preference. Ultimately, your airline should provide a list of acceptable crates.

The cost of shipping a dog on a plane

Assuming you meet the requirements listed above, let’s look into the cost of pet air transport. In most cases, a fee for pet transportation is tacked onto the price of your ticket. These vary by airline and by destination — from about $75 to several hundred dollars

There are several exceptions, though. For example, service animals usually fly for free, as do emotional support animals. If your dog’s in one of these categories, you might be able to bring them on at no extra charge.

The costs involved also vary depending on how you want your dog to fly. Smaller breeds (under 15 lbs, fits under a seat) can be brought into the cabin as carry-on luggage. Larger breeds can only fly inside the cargo compartment, with your luggage. The latter option is cheaper but less safe — dogs face certain health hazards on a flight.

How to keep dog safe on Air Plane?

By now, most owners and breeders know the difficulties associated with safely transporting pets by air. The health of the animal is everyone’s top priority, so let’s recap some of the potential problems:

  • Temperatures can vary widely in air travel, putting animals at risk of heatstroke.
  • Shifts in air pressure spell trouble for pets with breathing difficulties/heart conditions.
  • Short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs are especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation.
  • Dogs with anxiety issues can find air travel containment extremely difficult.
  • Sedating the animals sometimes helps, but brings its own host of potential problems.
  • Airlines are aware of these issues, 

This is why we strongly recommend consulting with your vet before planning to ship a dog on a plane. Once you get the all-clear, you can board the plane with them. Optionally, you could always hire a professional air nanny to handle the trip for you.

Alternatives to pet air transport 

Considering the prices, the paperwork, and the risks, you might be wondering what other options there are. 

One obvious alternative to shipping a dog on a plane is ground-based transportation. Online marketplaces offer access to affordable, reliable pet transporters. You list a shipment, they send their quotes. You browse through their reviews until you find the right person to entrust with the responsibility of driving your furry friend.


Now we hope you have all the details to know on how to ship a dog on a plane? Since pets are very close to all of us, always ensure your dog or puppy is healthy and doesn’t not panic much when you are not around. Whenever you are using a service, do read the reviews as they speak volumes of how previous pet owners are satisfied with the service or not. 

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