How to Prepare Your Dog for Flight

Take your doggo on its first flight? Before your pup is ready to start jet-setting, it’s important to make sure you prepare them. It’s normal to have first-time jitters when traveling with your dog. You want them to be on their best behavior, there are so many new situations and environments for them to get used to.  Make sure both you and your dog prepare with these tips!

Flying on Your Lap or Under the Seat

If you want to fly with your dog, you have a few options.  Small dogs can fly in the aircraft cabin in an airline-approved carrier and a pet fee.  They will need to stay in their carrier throughout the flight without making any disruptions. Larger dogs can travel in a crate underneath the plane in the cargo hold.  If your dog is an emotional support animal, they can sit on your lap or on the floor in front of you, free of charge on the flight.  If your pet is traveling in a carrier/crate make sure they are used to it well before your flight with plenty of positive reinforcement.

ESA Laws

The Air Carrier Access Act protects emotional support animals.  When traveling with your ESA, you need to be aware of the laws, rules, and regulations regarding flying with an emotional support animal.  Each airline has its own specific requirements regarding paperwork (for example, see what Frontier airlines animals need) .

Calming Aids

Dogs, including emotional support dogs, need to be well-behaved when flying. Airports are crowded and loud, which can be stressful for dogs.  You can help keep your dog relaxed by giving them a natural calming aid like CBD oil.


A tired pup is a well-behaved pup.  Make sure to give your dog plenty of exercise before flying.  Take your dog for a long walk, to the dog park, or on a run before heading to the airport.  Exercise will help your dog be less stressed during the travels and sleep during the flight.

Pet Relief Areas

Most airports are required by law to have a pet relief area for service dogs and emotional support animals.  It’s better to take your dog potty before getting to the airport, but if you have a layover or a flight delay, pet relief areas can be helpful. Learn more about pet relief areas and find out where they’re located ahead of time in major airports.

When flying with your dog it’s important to plan ahead, so you know what you need to do when you get to the airport. Your dog should feel comfortable in its carrier/crate if they’ll be traveling in it.  Minimizing your dog’s stress will make flying easier.  Giving your dog a calming aid like CBD oil and exercising them before going to the airport will help keep them relaxed. Want more tips for flying with your dog? Learn more here.

Common Questions on Preparing your Dog for Flight:

Where can my dog go potty at the airport?

Is there anything I can give my dog to help keep them calm during my flight?

Does my dog have to stay in a carrier when flying?