Ultimate Guidelines to Flying with a Large Dog

flying with a large dog

Traveling with a large dog can be a smooth experience! Indeed, you’ve read correctly – achieving a stress-free journey is feasible if you adhere to the following advice.

Looking for a stress-free and cozy journey for yourself, your pet dog, and airport personnel? Curious about the preparations needed? Click here for more information!

Air Travel with a Dog: The Basics

Of course, know the basics first before even booking an air ticket. This will make things a lot easier throughout the process.

Ways on Flying with a Dog

Flying with a large dog is a great way to get some alone time with your favorite furry friend, but it can be tricky.

Here are some ways you can make the experience more pleasant for both of you:

Checked Bag

This is the easiest and most common way to fly with a dog. You just need to make sure that he can fit in any of the airline’s provided kennels.

If you have a small dog or one with a long nose, this may be difficult, but it can still be done.


Another option for flying with your pet is cargo space on airplanes. This means that you get to bring him along in an overhead bin, just like you would any other piece of luggage!

Usually, these bins are much bigger than regular overhead bins and will accommodate even large dogs quite easily.

Just make sure that there’s room for your carry on luggage too!


Finally, if none of those options sound great to you (and they will not), consider bringing him on as a carry-on bag instead.

This will be subject to different TSA rules regarding liquids and other materials.

Choosing the Right Crate/Carrier

When flying with a large dog, there are a few things to consider when choosing a crate or carrier.


The size of the crate should be considered first. The ideal size for a small dog is about 20″ x 30″.

For medium dogs, that measurement can be as little as 19″ x 28″, or as much as 18″ x 32″. Large dogs will need larger crates (for example, 24″ x 36″).


Next, consider how you plan on opening and closing the door. You may want to use a latch instead of a spring-loaded door hinge if you can’t stand over the top of your dog’s crate during transportation.

If you do want a spring-loaded door hinge, make sure it does not interfere with the placement of other cargo in your plane’s cabin.

Of course, you do not want to have to sit next to your dog while he is in his crate!


Finally, consider what kind of labels will go on your dog’s crate. Some airlines require them; others do not enforce this requirement at all.

Flying with Emotional Support and Service Dogs/Service Animals

If you have an emotional support dog or service dog, you may be wondering if it is safe to fly with them. The short answer is it depends.

Flying with emotional support animals and service animals is a straightforward process.

Most airlines have a form that you can submit to them, detailing your dog’s special needs, and they will permit you to travel with your dog.

However, there are some things you should know before taking your dog on a flight.

The Civil Air Patrol has a list of what kinds of animals are allowed on board including emotional support dogs, but there are a few things to keep in mind when traveling with your dog in the sky.

First: your large emotional support dog must be always under your control while he is in the cabin and during takeoff and landing so that they do not disrupt other passengers’ experience.

If you need to leave your seat for any reason, you must inform an airline employee before doing so.

Second: during takeoff and landing, if there is a fire emergency or security alert, service dogs will need to be removed from the plane as quickly as possible without making any noise or causing a scene. This will help an expert evaluate their condition.

Third: if anyone complains about the presence of trained service dogs on board, notify an airline employee immediately so that they can follow up with that passenger’s complaint and address their concerns directly.

Cost of Travelling with a Large Dog by Air

If you are traveling with a large dog, you might find that the cost of the airfare can vary quite a bit depending on several factors.


The cost of traveling with your dog by plane is based on the airline you choose. Most major airlines charge a fee for taking your furry friend as checked baggage, and some charge for cargo or cabin space as well.

It is important to know exactly what you are being charged for before you book your flight.


If you are planning to fly somewhere that allows large dogs in the cabin, such as American Airlines, US Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, or Alaska Airlines, the cost of traveling with your large dog will be much lower than if your destination does not allow large dogs in the cabin (such as Europe).

Checking baggage vs. cargo or cabin

If you are planning to check your pet as baggage (which is usually less expensive), make sure that he will fit into the size requirements of his carrier and airline.

Also, your carrier may have additional fees associated with using it as checked baggage.

If it is going to be used as cargo or cabin space instead, it is important to make sure it will fit into the carrier without any issues fitting through.

Let’s get down to business on the tips now!

Tips on How to Fly with a Large Dog

Air travel is an amazing way to get around. It is the easiest way to travel if you have a large dog, and it can be very relaxing and enjoyable. There are still other considerations to consider though.

Pros and Cons of Air Travel

We all know that flying with a large dog can be a pain, but there are things you can do to make it more pleasant.


Make sure your dog is well-behaved and housebroken. This will help keep the plane from being ruined by an accident and will allow you time to enjoy your flight.

Have your dog’s claws clipped or filed down to avoid damage to the plane’s interior.

Pack plenty of treats in case he gets hungry during the flight (do not leave him alone!).

If possible, get a crate for them so they can rest comfortably while traveling in the plane without disturbing other passengers around them or causing any accidents or injuries due to their size and weight differences.


Make sure you are prepared for delays due to weather or other delays such as mechanical issues (especially if you are flying in cold weather).

You will need extra space in your carry-on bag so that your pup can lie down comfortably on his own without hurting himself or making too much noise.

Appropriate Carrier for a Big Dog

Big dogs are a lot of fun to fly with, but it can be tough to keep them safe and comfortable when you are in the air.

Here’s how to make sure your big dog has a great time on your next trip:

1. Choose the right carrier. Most airlines require cats and large dogs up to ten pounds to travel in kennels. Usually, this is just what you need if your dog is small.

But if your dog is bigger than ten pounds, you will want a larger carrier, one that can hold up to 100 pounds!

2. Pack it well. Make sure your dog’s carrier has plenty of room for food and water bowls, toys and treats, blankets for cuddling during takeoff and landing, and anything else you might need during the flight (including extra leashes!).

See to it that there is no way for your pet to get into trouble. Check that he will not be able to open his door so he cannot escape or put himself at risk of injury in an emergency evacuation!

3. Plan ahead! Check out the airline website or call them directly before booking your flight so they know what size dog you have before they give you their boarding fee!

Also, be sure to ask about any restrictions by the airlines.

Research the Travel Requirements

Research the travel requirements when traveling with a large dog by plane. Here are a few things to consider before your flight:

Find out if your airline allows large dogs on their planes.

Check what size of the crates fit on your specific airline’s planes.

Find out where the crate will be stored during the flight and when it can be taken out of storage upon arrival at your destination.

Research the size requirements of the airline that you will be taking your dog on.

Different carriers may have different sizes available and even if they do, they may not all be able to accommodate your dog’s size.

Make sure the crate is big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably without having to stretch or reach over bars or other obstacles.

Otherwise, this may cause injury or discomfort for your dog or inconvenience for you during flight times (such as sitting in an aisle seat).

Some airlines require that all dogs be always on a leash when they are on board an aircraft.

Others will allow you to put them in the cabin but only if their carrier meets certain requirements regarding size and weight.

Communication with the Airlines

Communicating with the airlines can be a challenge especially if you are bringing with you a large-size dog.

Remember that the airlines are not responsible for your pet and cannot guarantee his safety.

The most important thing is to make sure your pet’s carrier is approved for use in an airplane and that it fits into the overhead bin.

Ensure that he has an ID tag with his name, breed, and contact information.

This will help ensure he will be identified if he gets lost during a flight. Check with your airline about whether they allow pets on board their planes.

If you are flying from one airport to another or within the same country, you might be able to bring your pet on board as cargo.

However, this requires additional preparation so it is best to check ahead if this option would work for you.

The last thing you want is for your furry friend to become injured during a flight or worse!

If there is any way possible that your pet can travel safely by car, bus, or train instead of a plane, then do so!

Consult the Vet for the Flight

One of the best things you can do for your dog is to consult with a veterinarian before traveling. It is always important to keep them safe and healthy when traveling.

But if you have not been able to contact your vet, then you must make certain that he is up to date on medications and vaccinations before your trip.

Your vet can provide information about what kind of vaccine is needed, how often it needs to be updated, and what kind of symptoms might happen if it is not updated regularly.

This way, you know exactly what kind of care your pup should have while he is away from home, which means less stress on both of you!

You must be prepared for the vet consultation. Here’s how to make it happen:

1) Book your flight as soon as possible. If you book too late, there might not be enough time for the vet visit before boarding.

2) Contact your vet about vaccines for your dog at least two weeks before leaving on your trip. This will give them enough time to create the vaccine and send it to you in advance.

3) Bring a copy of a recent rabies vaccination certificate with you on the flight if possible (or at least the airline knows about this). If not, have someone else who can provide proof when asked by airport staff or security personnel.

4) Make certain that your pet is well-behaved and calm during the boarding process so that it will not cause any issues while traveling through security checkpoints or during the take-off and landing phases of flight operations.

Preparation of Your Dog is the Key

It is important to prepare for the journey. You need to think about what you will bring with you and what you will leave behind. The biggest thing is to make sure your dog is comfortable and safe.

Before you leave for your trip, your dog should have been vaccinated. That way, you know that he will be protected against disease while in transit.

If he is not used to being on an airplane, then it can cause him anxiety and stress. Give him plenty of time at home before going on the trip so that he prepares himself mentally and physically for what lies ahead.

FAQs on Flying with a Large Dog

If you are planning to travel with your big pet, might as well consider the following frequently asked questions.

How do you take your big dog on a plane?

The best way to take a large dog on a plane is to make sure that it is in an airline-approved carrier, preferably one that cannot be removed from the cabin. Just refer for more details and tips above.

Can you ride an airplane with a big dog?

Absolutely! If you have a well-behaved dog, it is perfectly safe to bring him along on an airplane.

The best thing to do is visit your airline’s website or call customer service and ask what they recommend as far as pet policy goes (they will probably want to know how big your dog is).

Why flying with a large dog internationally should be considered?

Flying with a large dog internationally should be considered if you know he is in good physical health and has been vaccinated.

Depending on the airline, your dog may need to fly in the cargo section of your plane, or it may require being put in a kennel. This can add unnecessary stress and expense to your trip.

Can I buy a seat for my large dog on an airplane?

Airlines have made it easier and more affordable to travel with pets by allowing you to reserve a pet carrier as a part of your ticket.

This is also called “kenneling” in the industry, which refers to the process of letting someone else take care of your dog when you’re not able to attend.

Is flying with a large dog in cabin is easy?

It’s easy to fly with a large dog in a cabin. You just need to be prepared for some extra space requirements, especially if you have an especially large dog.


It is not just about taking your dog with you on vacations or trips. Making sure he has a safe and happy journey, no matter where he is going is a must.

While many factors may affect your ability, as one of the pet owners or pet parents, to fly with your pet, hopefully now you are prepared and ready to give it a try. You will be so glad you did!

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