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Where Do Dogs Go on a Plane? Everything You Need to Know!

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you are planning to travel on a plane, whether for fun or to move to a new location, taking your dog along is possible, but you may be wondering where they will go. After all, they can’t sit next to you on an airplane seat. So, where will they hang out while you are traveling through the air? They will either be in the cabin with you or in the cargo area with all the luggage. Here is what you need to know about flying with a dog on a plane.


Requirements for Dogs Flying on Planes

Each airline has its own requirements for dogs traveling on its planes. Some requirements have to do with the destination location and its requirements. Others are specific to the airline company itself. For example, there are size and age requirements for most airlines, but those can vary depending on a variety of travel aspects.

One thing that most airlines require is that your dog be above a certain age to fly. Also, some airlines restrict travel to certain times and locations (if they don’t ban travel altogether) when it comes to brachycephalic dog breeds due to a high risk of problems while flying. You must inquire with the airline that you plan to travel with to find out the specific requirements and restrictions that they have in place.

dog in airport carrier
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

Dogs in the Airplane Cabin

Depending on their size and other factors, like breed, some dogs may be able to travel in the airplane cabin with their owners. In most cases, your pooch must be small enough to comfortably fit in a kennel that can sit underneath your seat on the plane. Dogs that can travel in the cabin are checked in as carry-on baggage, and charges are applied accordingly. Most airlines require that your dog stays in their kennel throughout the duration of the flight. The only exceptions are service animals that are approved by the airline.

Image Credit: Egor Gordeev, Unsplash

Dogs in the Cargo Section

Dogs that do not meet the requirements to travel in the airplane cabin may be eligible to fly in the cargo section of the plane. This is the section under the cabin where luggage is transported. Typically, the section where animals travel is separated from the luggage and is temperature controlled to ensure the safety of the animals. The animals must be kept in a secure kennel that is big enough for them to stand up and turn around. Nobody is there to check on the animals during the flight, but care is taken to make sure they are the last to be loaded and the first to be unloaded.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Fly on a Plane?

It can be safe for dogs to fly on a plane, especially when they are able to do so in the cabin with their owners. However, the experience of traveling on a plane can be extremely stressful for your dog, especially if they have to travel alone in the cargo area. Your dog will not know what is happening to them, and being stuck in a kennel and without you in sight, they may feel helpless, which intensifies the stress.

Dog In Airplane Carrier
Image Credit: Cameron Cross, Shutterstock

Although the percentage of incidents is small, dogs do get lost, injured, and even killed while traveling on airplanes. Most problems occur with dogs traveling in the cargo area of a plane, but not all. So, is traveling on an airplane worth the risk? That decision is solely up to you.



Dogs can travel on airplanes in either the cabin with their owners or in the cargo area. Before leaving for your trip, you should know the requirements and restrictions that your airline might stipulate. You must consider the risks of flying before making a final decision as to whether you should put your dog on a plane, no matter the length of travel.

Featured Image Credit: RyanTaylor, Shutterstock

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