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Can I Take My Pet on a Plane?

A travel kennel.
A pug-nosed breed will not be allowed to be checked baggage, as the dog could suffer breathing issues.
It's a good idea to get a pet's nails clipped before going on a plane.
A health certificate from a vet is typically required to take a pet on a plane.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 July 2014
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The good news is that the majority of commercial airlines will allow you to take a pet on a plane, either as checked baggage in the cargo hold or as accompanied baggage in the cabin. The bad news is that your pet may not have the same fond memories of flying to Hawaii or Paris as you do. Some animal experts actively discourage travelers from taking a pet with them unless they have absolutely no other alternatives. There can be no doubt that an airplane flight will be stressful for your pet, but there are ways to make the trip more comfortable.

If you plan to take a pet on a plane, you'll probably need to obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian first. This document verifies that the animal has been examined recently and is in sufficiently good health to fly. You should also get the animal's nails clipped, to prevent any mid-flight snags. You should not travel on a plane with a sick or unweaned pet under any circumstances, and elderly pets may not be able to withstand the climate changes as well as younger pets.

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There are also certain breeds of dogs that cannot travel in airplane cargo holds. If you have a dog classified as a pug-nosed breed, most airlines will not allow it to be stored as checked baggage. These dogs may develop serious breathing problems during the flight because of their facial structure. If you want to take this type of pet on a plane, you'll most likely have to place it in a small travel kennel and stow it under your seat. Airlines do have regulations on the size and construction of travel kennels, so check with your carrier before bringing any small pet on board.

Another important aspect to consider when bringing a pet on a plane is feeding and watering. Many animal experts suggest withholding solid food from your pet at least 4-6 hours before the flight. This should prevent or minimize the effects of motion sickness many pets experience. Some pet owners freeze water in their pet's water bowl and allow it to melt slowly throughout the flight. Airline employees may be responsible for providing food and water for any animal, but the pet's owner should make the process as easy as possible by attaching the food and water bowls to a location accessible from the outside.

Whenever possible, plan a non-stop flight to avoid the possibility of losing your pet during a transfer. Also, consider booking your flight during the week instead of the more crowded weekend period. If you bring a small pet on a plane and keep it under your seat, remember that you won't be allowed to open the cage while the plane is in flight. Try to avoid traveling with a pet during extreme weather conditions, since the cargo area may not be climate controlled.

After your flight has landed, your pet should be fed and watered as soon as possible. Different airlines have different policies when it comes to liability claims, so be sure you understand your rights and obligations before boarding the flight.

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Discuss this Article

anon315425
Post 14

I have two foxes. Are there restrictions on exotic animals?

anon209578
Post 13

I want to bring a cricket in a small cage. Can I just count it as baggage?

anon189276
Post 12

how much will it be?

anon165907
Post 11

I'm not sure where the post regarding two pets in a carrier applies. It certainly does not apply to dogs for Air Canada, as it has strict rules of only one animal in an airline-accepted carry on unit for travel in the cabin.

anon163821
Post 10

I have a guinea pig who is very precious to me. We are going to move to Europe from the U.S. Will I be able to bring her? Should I take her as carry on? How expensive will it be?

anon158302
Post 9

Can I take my two cats with me to Cyprus and how much will cost me? What is the rule in Cyprus, do they allow me to take them with me, or will they do a health check again?

anon97466
Post 6

I am getting a little dog this week or next week and me my mom and my sisters are going to New York and i don't know if i can take my dog on the plane?

anon93765
Post 5

I'm worried about taking my dog on the plane as i do not want to lose him and i do not want anything to happen to him, can i be sure that they will look after him and not lose him?

anon90547
Post 4

you have to pay per flight for your pet. These prices depend on the airline. It counts as a carry on when you bring your pet in cabin with you.

Small pets only are allowed in cabin and you can fit up to two in a carrier as long and there is enough room for them to move around.

anon72106
Post 2

could you take it as a bag and not pay for it?

mng98
Post 1

Even though now I know *most* of the rules and regulations, I want to know *how many animals can I take*? Thank you for your time. =]

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