traveling with a puppy in cabin

Tips for Flying with a Puppy in Cabin

All your bags are packed, and you’re ready to go…right? What if you’re planning on bringing your pooch along with? By now you’ll have taken all the necessary steps to ensure your pup has the correct health paperwork, and you’ve looked into pet passport options if you’re heading overseas. If you’ve ever traveled before, you’ve got your ideal packing list covered – from outfits to accessories and toiletries galore. And even if you’ve never traveled, your own personal needs are pretty easy to figure out. Traveling with pets is a little different though. Depending on the length of your trip and how your dog will be transported, you’re going to need to bring some items specifically for them. Whether your dog is flying in the cabin with you or riding as cargo, they will require some specific items to make their travel a little more comfortable. We’ve put together some tips for flying with a puppy in cabin and a packing list to keep Fido happy and comfortable during your travels.


flying with a dog

You’ve got some options for transporting your dog via airplane. They can be checked as cargo, or, depending on their age and size, they can ride in the cabin with you. Be sure to check with your airline’s requirements to determine how your pup will travel.

There are plenty of reasons someone may decide to fly with a dog. Someone may have decided to bring their dog on an extended vacation, perhaps they’re moving long distance and chose to fly instead of drive, or maybe they’ve found a new puppy across the states and the best way to bring them home is to fly out to pick them up. No matter the reason, flying with a puppy in cabin is not only common, but also is a pretty typical way to transport a dog as long as they meet age and size requirements. Here are some tips for flying with a puppy in cabin to help ease the stress for both the pup and their person!


  • Be sure your pup or dog meets size requirements. Airlines have strict regulations regarding bringing your pet in the cabin. They are almost always required to stay in their kennel, under the seat in front of you. If they’re too big, it can be really uncomfortable for them. Make sure you have a soft shell carrier that is the correct dimensions to fit. Some airports may not allow your dog out of their carrier once you are through security – just check with your airport beforehand so you’ll be prepared.
  • Bring a bag for your dog. Similar to a diaper bag for a baby, it should contain treats, toys, food and water, wipes or poo bags, and any medicine and health paperwork. An extra blanket or two is also a great idea – some planes can get chilly or have under seat air conditioning.
  • Check well in advance regarding fees and requirements. Every airline is different, so the cost to bring your pet onboard may vary, along with their size, age and health paperwork requirements. It’s not a bad idea to carry health papers whether your airline requires them or not.
  • Line the carrier. No matter how well potty trained your dog is (or maybe not at all), having an absorbent pad or two at the bottom of the carrier is a good idea to soak up any accidents. Put a nice pad or blanket for them to sleep on over the puppy pad and they’ll be comfy the whole trip.
  • Plan potty stops. Many airports actually have potty stops, or places for your pets to relieve themselves right in the airport. It’s typically a piece of fake turf with baggies to clean up after them.
  • Get the wiggles out. If possible, exercise your pup before your flight. A good run at the dog park, or a nice long walk can help tucker them out and keep them calm.
  • Plan food and water schedule before and during the flight. If you have a morning flight, skip breakfast and hold back water about 2 hours before it’s time to go. Keep in mind that flying on a plane is very dry – if your flight is short in duration (an hour or two) your dog will probably be alright with minimal water. If it’s a long flight though, they’ll likely need access to water a few times.
  • Consider your pooch’s temperament. It won’t matter if your dog is young or old. Sometimes whining, barking and anxiety go hand in hand. If your dog is the worrying type, check with your veterinarian for sedatives or calming medication to make their flight a little more comfortable.
  • Board early to get settled. Flying with a puppy in cabin costs an extra fee so be sure you take advantage of the early boarding option. Get up there with the families and let the gate attendant know you’d like to get your puppy in and settled.


packing list for dogs

Bringing your dog’s toys, food and papers with to the airport is important when organizing your packing list.

Vacation Packing List for Your Dog

  • Collar and leash – or harness, or whatever means you’ll need to hang on to your pup while getting from point A to point B.
  • Vaccination records and health papers – undoubtedly the most important part of the list, in order to fly or cross borders, these papers are imperative for puppy travel!
  • ID – It’s wise to have tags, or some attachable means of identification for your pooch while away from home. In the event they get away from you or get lost, it’ll help them find their way home!
  • Meds and medical needs – it’s not a bad idea to put together a dog first aid kit, complete with their meds and topical first aid treatments.
  • Blankets and covers – If you’re a stickler for cleanliness, bringing along a few throws just for the dog isn’t a bad idea – especially if you plan on renting a vehicle.
  • Crate and safety restraints – If car travel is on your itinerary, be sure you bring the appropriate restraints and tie downs to either keep your loose dog safe, or keep your crate secured while in motion.
  • Toys and treats – New places can be stressful! Be sure to pack their favorite toys, snacks and treats to keep them occupied during transit, and to keep furnishings at your destination safe from chews.
  • Food and water – While it’s wise to bring enough water (and a container for them to drink out of) to keep your pet hydrated during travel, it’s also important to plan for food options. Travel is hard enough on our furry friends, we don’t want to add to the stress by switching up their food options while on vacation. Learn whether or not their brand of food is available where you’ll be headed – if not, be sure to pack enough, plus a few extra days worth in case your plans change.
  • Pet friendly lodging and options – If you know you’re bringing your pet, make sure you’ve checked with your hotel or resort to make sure your pup is welcome!


Traveling in comfort is an important way to start off any trip, so making sure your pet is happy and snuggled in is just as important. We hope wherever you’re going with your pup, you have fun together! Need to get your own travel documents or passport squared away? You can start with a certified copy of your birth certificate with VitalChek.


  1. This was so helpful! I’m on my way to pick up my new puppy and fly back with her. Thank you so much for this helpful information!

    1. Hello Amy. We’re glad to hear that you found the article informative. Enjoy your new puppy!

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