If you’re new to traveling with your dog or looking for more tips to travel with your four-legged best friend than you’ve come to the right place. Dogs are very intuitive and can feed off our energy. Helping your dog remain calm will not only have you in a calm state but make the trip stress free.

We’ve created 5 steps to help you prepare for a stress-free flight with your pet dog:

Visit the Veterinarian for a Check-Up

It is important to check on the health of your pet, especially prior to any travel plans. Airlines will need your dog to have a health certificate signed by a vet within a certain amount of time prior to your flight. You’ll need proof of rabies vaccination. Also, if you feel it is necessary or required; you can talk to your veterinarian about prescribing anti-anxiety medication for the trip.

Please take into consideration the breed of your pet. For example, some dogs such as bulldogs and pugs may need extra care to ensure the temperatures inside and outside of the plane are suitable for their breathing. There is a third certificate that may be required that deals with the weather extremes- acclimation certificate. Make sure to speak with your airlines if this too is necessary.

Prepare in Advance by Contacting your Airline  

If this is your first time, make sure to call your airline. Most U.S. airlines will let you take small dogs in the cabin with you for an additional fee. You’ll need to make a reservation and ensure you have the proper papers on hand just in case anyone asks. If you have a trained service animal, they are differed from standard pet procedures so make sure to communicate with your airline.

Book a Direct Flight

Try to book a flight directly to your destination if possible. Doing so will minimize any additional fees that would come with having your pet while traveling. You’ll also be doing your pooch a favor by creating a smooth travel experience.

Buy a Pet Carrier

Some airlines will request you have your pet in a carrier while onboard and possibly while at the airport. There will be certain rules put in place regarding where to place the carrier at the airport and while on the aircraft. Calling in advance and asking about the airlines’ in-cabin pet policy will help you better follow the rules and regulations while creating a comfortable atmosphere for you and your pet.

Please note- some airlines will count the pet carrier as one piece of carry-on luggage. When speaking to an airline representative discuss the luggage allowance.

Feed Your Dog

This one is obvious but the time frame of when and what to feed your dog is important. Ensuring your dog’s comfort is just as important as yours. Rule of thumb, give water to your dog within four hours of the departure on the day of your trip. There is additional documentation that you may need to provide that confirm feeding your pet. Please consult your airline and as always be prepared to ensure the comfort of your pet during travel.

Also, please be aware of all the restrictions. Pets under a certain age and over a certain weight will not be allowed on. Along with the restrictions of unaccompanied minors traveling alone, may not be able to bring their pet. Finding out the destination’s entry requirements for your pet in advance will help with any transitions across borders.

Safe travels!