Instructions for Traveling with a Big Dog • Pet Express

2023-01-10 02:49:48 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Taking your dog with you on your exciting journey is a given. While those with smaller dogs can easily bring them on board as carry-on luggage, those with larger dogs will likely have to check their pet in as cargo.  

It's common to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of flying with your dog because you have no idea what you'll need or where to begin. After all, there's paperwork to fill out, a pet carrier to pick out to make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible in transit, and other considerations to make.  

To make traveling with your large dog as simple and stress-free as possible, we've put together this article with all the information you'll need to board a plane, whether domestically or internationally.  

After all, if you have the opportunity to visit a far-flung destination that welcomes canine visitors, there's no reason why your dog shouldn't tag along for the ride.

Can a big dog fly in the cabin with me?

Unfortunately, you cannot bring your large dog into the cabin with you on your flight. Dogs are allowed in the cabin on most flights if they are in a carrier small enough to fit under a passenger's seat.  

For this reason, large breeds like Huskies and Labradors are out of the running. There are some stipulations, such as the fact that dogs under a certain size can ride in the cabin.  

Sometimes, passengers with properly documented service dogs or those in training for such roles are permitted to bring their dogs into the cabin with them. Air travel can be nerve-wracking for anyone, but passengers who rely on service animals may experience even more anxiety.  

Since larger service dogs, like Golden Retrievers, have special needs, some airlines may make an exception for them to travel in the cabin. However, this is at the airline's discretion, so it's important to check the rules and regulations frequently.  

It's important to double-check details before reserving a flight because schedules and prices are subject to change without

What to expect when taking a big dog on an international flight

It is possible to bring a large dog on an international flight. There are some additional preparations that must be made for international pet travel in addition to those that are necessary when transporting a large dog domestically.  

The local authority in the country you're visiting can provide you with the most up-to-date information to help you and your large dog prepare for an international trip.  

How to fly with a big dog and what to expect

If you're planning on taking your large dog on a flight, you should follow these simple guidelines. It is imperative that you keep your dog free from any infectious pests or parasites. Depending on the airline, larger dogs will need to be transported as cargo.  

Contact the airline directly if you have any further questions about the specific requirements for checking in and transporting your dog. In addition, your dog needs to be well-behaved, clean, and relaxed throughout the flight.  

Tips for traveling with your dog in general

We have compiled a list of general guidelines to follow when flying with your dog of any size to help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with doing so.

Get your dog checked out by the vet.  

When taking your dog on a flight, always make sure he or she is healthy enough to do so. Veterinarians are able to examine your dog and provide you with valuable breed-specific information and advice. Your large dog's personality and medical background will be considered as they give you recommendations.  

Your vet will help you get the necessary vaccinations, which may be needed for international travel.  

It's best to skip dog food for the last four hours before leaving.

Most airlines advise waiting at least four hours after feeding your dog before flying with it. If you want to prevent motion sickness and the need to use the restroom for your large dog during your flight, don't feed him or her four hours before takeoff.  

Before checking your big dog into the airplane, make sure you've taken him or her to the bathroom to relieve himself or herself.  

Dogs are much happier when they are exhausted.

It may be possible to get your large dog to sleep through the flight if you give it plenty of exercise before leaving for the airport.  

Putting your dog to sleep is cruel.  

Most airlines won't let you bring your dog on a flight if it has been sedated, which may come as a surprise to some. A dog's breathing pattern should not be altered by sedation before, during, or after a trip because of the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment.  

Talk to your vet about crate training your large dog if they suffer from separation anxiety or other issues that might prevent you from flying with your dog without medicating it first if you have legitimate concerns about flying with your dog in its natural state.  

Place something on the bottom of the crate.

A layer of newspapers or puppy training pads placed at the bottom of the carrier can help absorb any liquid that might be spilled during flight. Your pet may make a mess during the flight, and there won't be a chance to clean it up until you land. Pet Express has a number of options for transporting your large dog, such as fly-dry mats and other travel crates.

Have a lot of snacks on hand.

Take plenty of snacks and be prepared to reward good behavior. So doing will condition your pet to associate positive emotions with travel.

There are two methods by which large dogs can travel by air.

In the role of carry-ons

Many airlines, including Alaskan and American Airlines, let large dogs travel as checked baggage if they are crated. You, as the owner, will simply bring your dog to check-in like you would any other luggage, and the animal will be weighed and transferred in the same way.  

As Cargo

Depending on the size of your dog and the airline you've booked your flight with, you may need to check your pet in as cargo.  

Can you tell me how much it costs to fly with a big dog?

Many factors contribute to the high price of bringing a dog on a plane. Flying with a large dog can be very pricey compared to flying with a small dog. Costs range from $200 up to $1,000 or more when transporting a large dog as cargo or checked baggage.  

To get an idea of what you might expect to pay, it's best to get in touch with the airline directly or conduct some online research. This should be done before you and Fido rush out to buy plane tickets to your next vacation spot.  

Some factors can also affect the total cost of air travel for large dogs.  

Any Cargo or Luggage that Needs to Be Checked

Transporting larger dogs through cargo costs more than checking them as baggage.


What airlines charge to transport large dogs is, of course, entirely up to them. In general, the prices of various airlines will vary.  

Traveling by plane, whether across the country or around the world

Like airline tickets, the cost of transporting a dog across international borders will be higher than that of transporting it within the same country.  


Flying with large dogs may be more expensive if you're going to a less-frequented or out-of-the-way destination that requires a smaller plane.  

How to Choose the Right Box

Choosing the right pet carrier or travel crate for your dog is important for his or her happiness and comfort during the flight. Your dog will be more comfortable and relaxed in his crate if he has plenty of room to stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably.  

Choosing the right travel carrier for your dog is critical to ensuring his or her safety and comfort during transport.  

Excellent pet carrier for long trips with big dogs

IATA-compliant crates are more robust and high-quality, so airlines will only accept them as checked baggage. This will lessen the likelihood of your dog getting loose during the flight and keep them safe.  

Although plywood crates can be used for transporting dogs, most people avoid doing so due to the added weight, which could cause problems at the airport's checked baggage weigh-in if you're traveling with a large dog.  

In such a case, the cost of shipping your dog may skyrocket far beyond your budgeted amount.  

When picking a pet carrier for your dog's flight, there are a number of other considerations to keep in mind.  


Your dog's chosen transport crate must have a door that can be closed and locked securely.


If you want your dog to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible during the flight, make sure its carrier is large enough for it to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If they can't freely spin around in their crate, it's too small for transport.  


It is crucial that the correct labels be printed and visibly displayed on the dog's travel carrier. To make sure your dog is ready for travel, our team of Pet Handlers will affix IATA-approved pet handling stickers to their crate.

The Art of Chilling Out in a Box on the Plane

The best way to ensure your dog enjoys the flight is to prepare for it ahead of time, and this may include training if your dog suffers from separation anxiety.

The earlier you buy the crate, the more time you have to devote to acclimating your pet to it before the flight. Getting your dog used to the crate by having them spend time in it every day (with treats, of course) before the flight can help alleviate any nervousness they may feel about taking off.  

In order to ensure your pet has a stress-free flight, it is recommended that you line the bottom of the crate with familiar bedding from home.  

Consult your local veterinarian if you have any lingering concerns about flying with your large dog, whether domestically or internationally. Based on your dog's breed and other factors, they will be able to give you the best advice on how to prepare them for flying in a crate.  

With best wishes for a safe flight

We understand that traveling with a large dog can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, and we hope that this article has helped to alleviate some of your concerns and answer some of your questions. It's only natural to want to bring your pet along on an exciting trip, and many airlines go out of their way to make that possible.  

If you're taking your dog on a plane, it's important to remember to pack everything he'll need, check the airline's pet policy, prepare all the necessary paperwork, and pick out a comfortable crate. You and your dog can relax knowing that as few mishaps as possible befell your trip thanks to these preparations.  

Have fun with your pet and know that you will arrive safely at your destination. It's a great time to get back on the road with your loved ones and furry friends after the COVID scare.

Pet Travel ConsultantsGet in touch with one of our knowledgeable Pet Travel Advisors today!

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