Flying with Your Dog: Understanding United Airlines’ Pet Policy for Dogs

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated March 15, 2023
Understanding United Airlines' Pet Policy for flying with dogs.

Traveling with your pet can be a stressful experience. You want to make sure your pup is comfortable and safe, and that you are following all the necessary guidelines. When it comes to flying with dogs, one of the biggest questions you might have is what is the pet policy for the airline you plan on flying. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the pet policy for United Airlines. We’ll be discussing what types of dogs are allowed on United Airlines, the fees you’ll need to pay, and tips on getting your pup ready for their flight.

While you’re researching, be sure to check out our articles on American Airlines’ pet policy and Delta Airlines’ pet policy.

What Types of Dogs are Allowed on United Airlines?

When it comes to flying with your pup, United Airlines pet policy allows a few different types of dogs. These include service animals and pets. United Airlines only allows dogs and cats in the main cabin, which means that if you have a larger dog, they won’t be able to ride in the cargo hold. You will need to make other arrangements like going through a pet ground transportation company or a two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals are animals that provide comfort and support for individuals who are dealing with emotional and psychological issues. Unfortunately, United Airlines (and most airlines for that matter) have banned dogs as emotional support animals. This means that you will have to bring them on board as a regular pet.

Service Animals

Service animals are animals that are trained to provide assistance to individuals with disabilities. These animals are allowed to fly in the cabin for free and do not require any special documentation.

Other Pets

United Airlines also allows other pets to fly in the cabin with their owners. These can include cats only. However, these pets must be kept in a carrier that can fit underneath the seat in front of you.

Fees for Taking Dogs on United Airlines

When it comes to taking your pup on a flight, there are a few different fees that you may need to pay. These include size and weight restrictions, carrier fees, and other applicable fees.

Size and Weight Restrictions

The size of the carrier that you use to transport your pup must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. All carriers must be no larger than 19 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 9 inches tall. In addition, the total weight of the pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds. Furthermore, they don’t allow snub-nosed breeds like French Bulldogs or Boston Terriers. They pose health risks that could be dangerous for them to fly. If you have a snub-nosed breed, then you won’t be able to fly with United Airlines.

Carrier Fees

You may also need to pay a carrier fee when flying with your pup. This fee is based on the size of the carrier and the total weight of the pet and the carrier, but usually it will be $125 one-way.

Other Fees

In addition to the carrier fee, there may be other applicable fees when flying with your pup. These fees will vary depending on the airline and the destination, so be sure to double check with the airline before booking your flight.

Preparing Your Dog for Flight

When it comes to flying with your pup, there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to make sure they are ready for their flight. These include health and vaccination requirements, documentation requirements, and tips for keeping your dog calm during the flight.

Health and Vaccination Requirements

Before you fly with your pup, make sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations. In addition, you should make sure that they are healthy and free of any illnesses that could be contagious.

Below is a list of required vaccinations for dogs in order for them to travel:

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

The list below are recommended vaccinations dogs should have:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Influenza
  • Leptospira bacteria

Documentation Requirements

Depending on the type of pet you are flying with, you may need to bring certain types of documentation. Typically, this means you will have to go to your veterinarian before your pet can board the plane. You should go to a veterinarian registered with the USDA and they will issue a signed health certificate, called a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). This should be done at least 10-14 days before your travel plans.

Tips for Keeping Dogs Calm During Flight

Flying can be a stressful experience for both you and your pup. To help keep your pup calm during the flight, you can consider giving them a calming aid, such as a calming vest or a calming supplement. In addition, you can try to keep your pup comfortable by bringing along a few of their favorite toys and treats. According to airline policy, you may not take your cherished doggo out of its crate, but if there is a life-threatening emergency, then make sure your dog is safe.

Bottom Line

Flying with your dog in the cabin can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding the pet policy for United Airlines on domestic flights, the fees you may need to pay, and how to prepare your pup for their flight, you can make sure that your pup is safe and comfortable during their journey.