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How to Fly with Large Dogs: Tips and Tricks


How to Fly with Large Dogs: Tips and Tricks

Embarking on air travel with a substantial canine companion may seem like a formidable endeavor, but fret not. With prudent planning and meticulous preparations, you can ensure that your furry friend undertakes a secure and pleasant journey.

In this piece, we shall delve into the intricacies of flying with large dogs, exploring dos and don’ts, while also offering ingenious tips and tactics to facilitate a seamless experience.

Conduct Comprehensive Research

The paramount initial step when considering air travel with a hefty hound is thorough research. Not all airlines welcome large dogs onboard, and even those that do might impose varying stipulations.

Take these factors into account while conducting your research:

  • Dimensional and Weight Constraints: Most airlines enforce strict size and weight restrictions for pets traveling in the cargo hold. It behooves you to peruse the airline’s website to ascertain whether your canine meets the prerequisites.
  • Crate Specifications: Specific airline requirements govern the crates used for pet transportation. Your chosen crate must be robust and sturdy, while providing ample space for your dog to stand, turn, and recline comfortably.
  • Fees and Charges: Anticipate that airlines typically levy fees for pet transportation. The charges may fluctuate, contingent on the airline and the dimensions and mass of your canine companion.

Prepare Your Pooch

Having selected a suitable airline, it is now time to prepare your dog for the impending voyage.

Here are some measures you can undertake to prime your pup:

  • Acclimatize Your Dog to the Crate: If your canine is unaccustomed to confinement within a crate, initiate a gradual acclimatization process at home. Allow your dog to venture in and out of the crate at will, and consider enticing them with cherished toys and delectable treats to make the enclosure inviting.
  • Engage in Pre-Flight Exercise: Prior to heading to the airport, treat your dog to an extensive walk or a spirited game of fetch to expend their energy. This shall aid in promoting a calm demeanor during the flight.
  • Mind the Mealtime: Refrain from feeding your canine within 4-6 hours of departure. This precautionary measure shall mitigate the risk of discomfort or illness during the journey.
  • Hydration is Key: Prioritize hydration by ensuring your dog receives an ample water supply before and after the flight. Consider carrying a water bottle onboard to offer refreshment during the journey.

Check-In and Boarding Procedures

Upon arriving at the airport, proceed to the airline’s cargo desk to check in your cherished canine. Furnish the necessary crate and vaccination records as required.

Subsequently, you shall board the plane without your four-legged companion, as you won’t be able to accompany them to the cargo hold. Bid them farewell before commencing your own boarding process.

In-Flight Considerations

During the flight, your canine companion shall be housed in the temperature-controlled cargo hold, ensuring their comfort. However, it is pertinent to acknowledge that the cargo hold environment may prove noisy, causing stress to your furry friend.

To alleviate potential anxiety, consider administering a calming supplement or medication prior to the flight. Moreover, you may provide a familiar blanket or cherished toy to offer solace during the journey.

Post-Landing Protocol

Upon arriving at your destination, claim your canine companion at the airline’s cargo desk. Accompany your dog outdoors to facilitate their natural needs.

Ensuring adequate food and water intake is crucial, so be certain to offer sustenance to your dog. Afterward, you can relish your trip alongside your beloved furry companion!


Embarking on air travel with a large dog need not be an intimidating ordeal. Armed with the insights and strategies presented in this discourse, you can facilitate a secure and gratifying journey for your cherished canine.

Additional Pointers

  • If your voyage entails a service dog, it might be possible to have them accompany you within the cabin. However, it is imperative to confirm with the airline in advance, as their policies might vary.
  • For dogs unaccustomed to travel, consider prior crate training to foster a sense of ease and comfort during the flight.
  • During long-haul flights, contemplate carrying a portable crate to afford your dog additional space for movement.
  • Adequate sustenance and entertainment are vital during the flight, so pack ample food, water, and engaging toys.
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