If your dog is too large to fit under the seat in front of you, we always recommend car travel or leaving your dog at home. Sometimes that’s not possible, though, so here’s what you’ll need to know to check your dog in the cargo portion of the airplane.
You’ll need an approved kennel that is specially-designed for travel. It needs to be tall enough for your dog to stand up without touching the top; it should be wide enough that he can turn around comfortably and lie down.
Purchase your kennel long before your trip so your dog can become comfortable with his new kennel. Place a blanket in his new crate and let him nap in it for several days before the trip.
If you know your flight will be longer than 10 to 12 hours, be sure to tape a small bag of his usual dog food outside the crate, complete with feeding instructions.
For your own peace of mind and to avoid the small chance that your dog could miss his destination, write the destination of your flight on the top portion of the crate in big letters. Be sure to include your full name and address, as well as a phone number where you can be contacted. You’ll need “Live Animal” stickers on each side and top of the carrier (see the above video for tips).
In case your dog or puppy does happen to have a mess while flying, prep the kennel with a light layer of paper and bedding so that the urine and stools can be absorbed as best possible.
To avoid your dog from becoming dehydrated during the flight, place two bowls inside the kennel, one filled with a small amount of water, and the other filled with ice. The ice bowl will melt away bit by bit and provide plenty of fluids hours later.