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With the two largest holidays of the year fast approaching, there are several things to keep in mind if you intend to travel with your puppy.

Early Research and Preparation

Before you even book your ticket, check with the airline to make certain they allow pets; whether they must travel as cargo or can go under your seat; the charges and the crate requirements. Some of the airlines I have used are Spirit Airlines, Delta AirlinesAmerican Airlines and United Airlines.

Not all airlines allow pets. Those that do will charge you a separate fee (anywhere from $75 to $150 each way)  and often limit the number of pets they will take.  They also ask that you book a separate reservation for your dog. Here is a link to a website that offers in depth details about traveling with your pets, including incidents that have been harmful… http://www.petflight.com


It is important to check with your vet to make certain your puppy is up to date with all his vaccinations. Going to a strange place is not only stressful for a pup, he can encounter diseases and parasites he might not encounter at home. While fleas and ticks are not really an issue in the northern climates at this time of year, they can still be a problem anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line. pretty much If your puppy is over six months of age and your plans include a trip to another country you will want to make certain you take along proof of vaccinations, including rabies.


Your puppy should always travel in a crate for his safety and peace of mind. If you plan to take him on the plane and secure him under the seat, you will need to purchase an airline-approved, soft sided crate. I use a Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier that has weathered several

SturdiBag vs. Sherpa
SturdiBag vs. Sherpa (Photo credit: Charley Lhasa)

thousand miles and is still in great condition. There are even models with wheels which I would highly recommend. There are also several other brands on the market. It is not an area, however, where I would cut corners as to price. Quality is very important.

Most airlines require that the puppy weigh less than 25 pounds and, really, any pup larger than 25 pounds will be very uncomfortable in this situation.

If you plan to ship your larger puppy in the cargo area of the plane, first of all, select your airline with care. Some have better track records than others.

English: Dogtainers Pet Transport Dog Cage Tra...
English: Dogtainers Pet Transport Dog Cage Travel Crate Labrador Puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then, make certain your crate is both USDA and airline approved, that it is in good condition and has a way to secure a water dish. It is not a good idea to lock the crate in case someone other than you needs to open it in an emergency. Be sure to remember to include his favorite toy and/or blanket. And, you should indicated in bold letters on the outside that the crate contains a live animal as well as which side is up!

Withholding A Meal

I think it is a good idea to withhold any food from your puppy for at least six hours before traveling so that their tummies don’t get upset. If you have any concerns in this regard, consult your vet.

That said, if your pet is being transported in the cargo area of the plane, make sure you secure some food to the outside of his crate in case the flight is delayed.

Arrive Early

English: Golden retriever puppy, three months ...
English: Golden retriever puppy, three months old. (Daisy Parker) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To minimize the stress your pet will no doubt experience,      please arrive at the airport with enough time to let him explore this hectic environment. If your pet does not travel with you in the cabin, you can request that staff alert you when the puppy is safely loaded.

And, when you reach your final destination, check him carefully for any signs of injury or severe stress. Then give him a big hug and tell him what a good puppy he was!