How to Ship Your Dog By Plane

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated: March 15, 2023 / Published: March 3, 2023
Ship your dog by plane.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to fly your dog. While it might seem like a daunting task, traveling with your pet by plane is actually quite doable with the proper preparation. But how do you ship your dog by plane?

In this post, we’ll discuss the process of shipping a dog by plane, including how to prepare your pup for air travel and what you need to do when sending your pup unaccompanied. We’ll also discuss the requirements for service animals, as well as what to expect during the check-in process. By following the guidelines outlined here, you can ensure your pup has a comfortable and safe flight.

Preparing Your Dog for Air Travel

When shipping your pup by plane, there are several important steps you must take before you can even start the process. Here are some things to consider:

Check Your Airline’s Restrictions

Every airline has different requirements for transporting animals, so it’s important to research the specific policies for the carrier you’ll be using. Check the airline’s website for their pet policies, and make sure you understand their rules and regulations before booking.

Have Your Pet Examined by a Veterinarian

Health requirements for animal transportation is the number one thing you should have ready on you when flying with your dog. Make an appointment to visit your pet’s veterinarian, who should be registered with the USDA.

Veterinarians will provide you with a CVI (Certificate of Veterinary Inspection). The health certificate must be completed with the veterinarian 10 days before travel in order for them to be up-to-date. You will be asked at the gate for this health certificate and the immunization paperwork.

All pets have to have the required vaccinations in order to be allowed to travel to another state or country. There is a list of vaccines your pet should be immunized with no more than 21 days before travel.

Vaccinations for Dogs

The list of required vaccinations for dogs:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

The list of recommended vaccinations for dogs:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Influenza
  • Leptospira bacteria

Most states require the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and an up-to-date list of vaccines, but sometimes there may be states that require more paperwork. You can find a list of states’ Department of Agriculture pages on the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture website. You can also find a list of requirements for animal transportation from each state on the USDA’s page for interstate pet travel.

Get Your Dog Comfortable With Their Carrier

If your pup isn’t used to being in a carrier (also called kennel), it’s important to get them used to it before the flight. During the flight, your pet must be inside the carrier. If your dog isn’t comfortable in the carrier, their anxiety levels could increase during the flight and make the experience more stressful for them. Start by allowing your pup to explore the carrier while they’re still inside the house, and gradually increase the amount of time they spend in the carrier before the flight.

Here Are Some Pet Carrier Tips to Follow:

  • Your pet should be able to stand up, turn around in the crate and ensure they do not touch the top.
  • The crate should have secure locking with pins that extend past the extrusions above and below the door. The pins should be hardware instead of plastic fasteners.
  • The crate should be ventilated on all sides.
  • The crate should have your pet’s name and your contact information.
  • Water and food bowls need to be attached to the door and accessible from outside the crate.

Sending Your Dog Unaccompanied

If you’re thinking of sending your pup unaccompanied, unfortunately most airlines do not allow that. A few, like American, Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines do allow domestic cargo hold pet shipping. For international flights, most if not all allow pets in the cargo hold and unaccompanied.

What to Expect When Traveling With Your Dog

If you’re traveling with your pup, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to air travel. Here’s what you should know:

Understand the Requirements for Service Animals

If you’re traveling with a service animal, make sure you understand the requirements for the airline you’ll be using. Some airlines require that the service animal be registered with the Department of Transportation and you may need to provide proof of registration.

What to Expect During the Check-In Process

When you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to check in with the airline and provide them with the necessary paperwork. Make sure you have the pet’s health certificate and a letter of authorization from the sender. You may also need to provide proof of vaccination.

Bottom Line

Traveling with a dog by plane can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the steps outlined here, you can ensure your pup has a comfortable and safe flight. You can make process of shipping a dog by plane much simpler with the right preparation.