When traveling by air, more people are choosing in-cabin dog carriers to carry their smaller dogs on board an airplane rather than check their pet as baggage and force it travel in the cargo area of the airplane. While there are some general similarities in the carrier requirements of different airlines, each airline has their own specific rules. These rules can also vary between the type of aircraft an airline uses on any given flight.
All air carriers must follow transportation guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The guidelines include container requirements for in-cabin as well as the cargo compartment. A dog carrier must be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in the carrier with no parts of the dog’s body – including the head and tail – extending beyond the area of the carrier. Some type of absorbent material must be placed in the bottom of the carrier and if the carrier is soft-sided, it must be constructed of a water-repellent, padded nylon material with mesh ventilation on two or more sides.
Because regulations change frequently and airlines require travelers to make reservations for their dogs, you should double check with your airline to be sure you use the appropriate sized carrier.
When considering air travel with your dog, whether they’re going to be in-cabin with you or in the pressurized compartment of the cargo of the plane, there are some key rules to follow. Many airlines require the dog’s health certifications to be securely attached to its kennel or in-cabin dog carrier. They also require that the kennel or carrier meet strict requirements including contact information of the owner, the name of the dog written clearly on the exterior, and contact information for someone at the destination point.
If your travel plans include an international flight, different restrictions apply, and you’ll need to check with your airline carrier or carriers in advance for clarification on whether those airlines allow in-cabin dog carriers. Many international carriers do not allow dogs in-cabin and more importantly, you’ll need to check if the country you’re planning to visit requires a 6 month quarantine of any dog brought into their country.