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Air travel with Fido


Dear Dr. John,

In a few weeks, our family is planning to visit the grandparents in Florida, and we are hoping to bring our small dog. We have not flown in some time and never with our dog. She is a small mixed breed and we are curious as to whether she would be able to fly in the cabin with us.  If you can shed any light on this topic, we would be very grateful. Thanks. F.L.

Dear F.L.,

My family flies to Florida quite often with our small dog. From some basic research, the domestic airlines that fly to Florida and that allow for dogs to be in the cabin include American, Delta, JetBlue, and United. There may be others. Contact the airline with all the questions about traveling with the dog.

Taking a dog in the cabin prevents the need for acclimation to temperature certificates since they will not be in baggage or holding areas. Be sure to have documentation as to rabies vaccination just in case they ask for it. All these airlines also limit the size of the dogs and most need to be under 20 pounds, but I find dogs under 10 pounds fit more comfortably. These small dogs need to be able to be in small carriers that fit under the seat in front of your feet, and I find the collapsible soft dog carriers are more manageable and forgiving. Often, and this depends on the flight attendants sometimes, you might not be able to take the dog out of the carrier and have them sit in your lap.

All of the airlines also charge additionally for the pet to travel with you, and this can range considerably with many charging $125, one way. Book early because often there are limits as to how many dogs can be in the cabin of a flight. As for sedation, I would speak with your veterinarian as to choices depending on your dog’s personality and levels of anxiety. For these shorter flights, the dog doesn’t need a water bowl and it would likely spill if in the carrier. Most airports have dog relief areas and for most domestic flights your dog should be able to hold their need to go. Just be sure to walk the dog when arriving at the airport and again at your destination. I wish you all safe travels.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic.He can be reached at 781-899-9994.


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