How stressful is flying for dogs-Tips & hacks to reduce the flying stress

How stressful is flying for dogs-Tips & hacks to reduce the flying stress

How stressful is flying for dogs-Explained

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We all know that travelling can be a stressful experience for anyone, but trying to fly with your dog is a completely different thing. 

There is plenty of information available about how to keep your dog comfortable and safe when flying, whether you are flying internationally or just across the country.

 But what exactly do we need to know?  Is it worth the trouble and expense of flying with my furry best friend? But, most importantly, how stressful is it for our pets to fly?

 Let’s take a closer look at this subject..

To begin with, there are several reasons why you should avoid flying with your dog. Flying has been shown to be stressful for many domestic dogs.  

Flying is very stressful for dogs that are not trained to fly like Police dogs or service dogs. It is especially stressful for crated/domestic/pet dogs flying in the cargo hold during the loading and unloading periods. 

One study, by Leadon and Mullins, found that greyhounds transported in the belly hold of a jet freighter showed a higher stress response than animals kept in the main cargo hold. 

To reduce stress during air transport, sedatives are sometimes prescribed by Vets.

The International Air Transport Association’s Live Animal Regulations warn against tranquillizing pets prior to transport. Tennyson reported that, at a meeting of the United States Department of Agriculture and airline officials, it was suggested that:

Over sedation is the most frequent cause of animal deaths during airline transport.  Investigations revealed that almost half the deaths resulted from sedation.

The second most frequent cause of death was environmental stress, especially in brachycephalic breeds.

Third in frequency were disease complications from coronavirus, parvovirus, and respiratory diseases that were not evident during the examination, but had a sudden debilitating onset with the stress of transport at high altitudes.

The least common, in fact, rare, were deaths caused by mishandling by the carriers ( Source).

Also Read: What indoor temperature is too hot for dogs-Tips to keep them cool & Happy

How to Reduce the Stress

It can be stressful but What can you do to reduce the stress?

Wherever possible, drive your dog to the destination. I’ve taken two five-day trips with my dog in my SUV. I was moving cross-country and unwilling to subject them to the risks and stress of flying.

There are LOTS of hotels now that not only allow dogs but cater to them. 

My dog( a Cavaoodle ) loved his adventures, and it was a great bonding experience for us all.

However, if it is really needed to go on plane, flying in the cabin is much less stressful, but only available to very small dogs who can fit in a carrier under the seat. 

What you need to do to reduce your Pooch’s stress while travelling on the plane.

Do your research on airlines with the best record of safe pet travel.

Look for non-stop flights with no transfers  

Avoid flying during holiday seasons when airlines and airports are busier than normal, to minimize the risk of anything going wrong with your pooch.

Don’t fly them in late summer or winter, cargo temps aren’t reliably comfortable temp-wise.

Make sure the carrier door is secure and clean and in good condition. If your dog is particularly difficult, fearful or nervous, Consult vets that can give your pet meds to calm them.

Try to check on them any chance you get, during connection flight times. 

Make sure to keep any contact numbers of the airline, and they have yours in case of emergency. Make sure the animal is microchipped, and collar-tagged, plus carrier tagged.

Another Option is – You can buy a seat for your pet on some airlines. Then they are sitting with you and not in any danger other than ears popping on the up and down like babies get on planes.

If they are put with the cargo chances are you won’t have a pet when you arrive. The best bet is always doggy daycare when you have to go out of town.

Prepare your dog ahead of time: Before flying with your pet, always consult with your veterinarian concerning food, drink, and medication. 

Experts are split on whether you should sedate or tranquillize your pets before the flight (even the American Veterinary Medical Association is split), so assess the advantages and cons with a professional who is familiar with you and your animal. 

Also, be aware that sedation has health concerns, and some airlines prohibit sedation or require a veterinarian’s note.

Pick up your dog as soon as you arrive at your Destination:  When you arrive, collect your checked bags and proceed to your airline’s designated cargo site. 

According to airlines, dogs are usually available two hours after the flight arrives, and they must be picked up within four hours or they will be transported to a veterinarian or boarding facility. 

Take your dog for a stroll right away, whether it flew as cargo or as a carry-on. (If you’re flying with your dog in the cabin and have a layover, stretch your — and your dog’s — legs at an airport pet relief area.) 

Though the voyage may be difficult, you’ll be able to breathe easier after you’ve both arrived safely.

Get your Pooch’s health checked.

Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian indicating that your dog is fit to fly and up-to-date on its vaccinations. 

If you’re going to be away for more than 30 days, you’ll need to get a new certificate. Many airlines demand that your dog’s health certificate be less than 10 days old in order for it to travel with you. 

Your return flight may necessitate that you arrange a vet appointment while on vacation if your certificate is not valid for the whole duration of your stay.

Carry-on or cargo?

Depending on your dog’s weight and size, you may have to decide whether or not to bring them on the plane.

Your dog can only fly in the cabin, or as a carry-on, if they are tiny enough to fit in a carrier beneath the seat in front of you, depending on the airline’s policy. 

Your dog will have to travel in the cargo hold if it’s any larger than that. This is generally referred to as “shipping” a pet.

If you’re flying with a dog, you’re going to be separated from him or her for a long period of time, and he or she is going to have to deal with a lot of noise and movement.

Also Read: Top 12 Tips for Planning Dog-Friendly Travel

Best Dog Accessories for Travel 

What’s the easiest method to find pet-friendly flights?

In order to choose the best flights, consider the following:

  • Some Airlines generally restrict the number of pets permitted on each flight, you and your pet should make reservations at the same time.
  • Prefer nonstop flights and avoid connecting flights if at all feasible.
  • Avoid flying at the busiest times of the year Like Easter time or Xmas time or even some School Holidays
  • Choose early-morning or late-evening flights in hot weather.
  • Choose daytime flights if it’s going to be chilly.’
  • The day before you go, double-check your flight details to avoid any last-minute hiccups.

Pet Friendly Airlines in America

  • American Airlines: Best for West Coast travel
  • United Airlines: Best for East Coast travel
  • Delta Airlines: Best for small pets
  • Southwest Airlines: Best for cheap pet fees
  • JetBlue: Best for pet amenities

Best for small Breeds
Katziela Luxury Rider Pet Carrier with Removable Wheels Katziela Luxury Rider Pet Carrier with Removable Wheels

In the Katziela Luxury Rider Dog Carrier, your pooch won't have to travel First Class to feel like a VIP (Very Important Pet).

This airline-approved, soft-sided travel bag has fake fleece bedding and a plywood foundation for your pet's comfort and stability, as well as self-locking zippers to prevent your pet from escaping.

Mesh windows and a rollaway cover give privacy and ventilation while travelling, while zippered, mesh pockets make it easy to reach treats, meds, and waste bags. Additional safety features include an inside leash attachment and a seatbelt tether.

The Katziela Luxury Rider Dog Carrier is available in 2 colours and is suitable for pets weighing up to 8 pounds. Chewy is selling it for $119

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Best for Medium - Small Dogs
Airline Approved Pet Carrier Airline Approved Pet Carrier

Suits for Flight Travel: TSA airline approved design, this soft-sided pet carrier comply with cabin requirements of most airlines. Noted that every airline has its specific rules and regulations, please contact with airline before flying with your pet.

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01/06/2023 04:46 am GMT
Airline Approved Wire Door Travel Dog Crate Airline Approved Wire Door Travel Dog Crate

The moving plastic dog carton is a remarkable item that complies with almost all of the airline endorsement directions, with the exception of just one.

It features a pair of four moving wheels, which IATA regulations advise should not be used. In any event, the manufacturer has thought of everything, including your safety, because those wheels may be removed.

  • Approved for use by airlines (only if there are no wheels)
  • A bowl for food and water is included in the purchase price.
  • air vents that are suitable and have a metal grill covering them.
  • With its two grips on top, it's quite easy to handle.
  • Inside is difficult to clean completely.
  • The body of the crate is not designed to sustain severe blows.
  • This environment is not conducive to rowdy canines.
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01/05/2023 06:50 pm GMT

I’m not sure what to expect on the day of my flight.

If you’re flying that day, you’ll want to make sure that:

  • Arrive early at the airport so that you and your pet may get some exercise.
  • Check-in as late as possible if your pet will be travelling in the cabin so that they don’t have to spend as much time waiting at the airport.
  • When you get to your location, put your pet in its box and pick it up as quickly as possible.
  • The flight attendant should be informed that your pet is in the cargo hold..

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01/05/2023 11:46 pm GMT
TrustyPup Strong Silent Platypus TrustyPup Strong Silent Platypus

It's crucial to keep your dog occupied while travelling or flying, but it may be challenging to locate a toy that won't bother other passengers.

With a squeak that only Fido can hear, this Trusty Pup Silent Squeak Platypus Dog Toy keeps his interest without attracting yours.

It is more durable than a typical plush toy thanks to chewing guard technology, which will keep him entertained on several trips. Walmartlists the platypus toy for $9.97.

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Chew Toys for Dogs when they are Flying alone

To Control Urinating all over the place when they Fly in a carrier

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01/06/2023 05:43 am GMT

Trained Dogs are less stressful while travelling in Plane

Begin by prepping your dog.

Your veterinarian should be consulted before travelling with your pet regarding food, drink, and medicines.

Even the American Veterinary Medical Association(AVMA) isn’t sure whether or not you should sedate or tranquillize your dogs before the trip, so talk to a specialist familiar with you and your pet to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each option.

Also keep in mind that sedation might pose health hazards, and some airlines restrict or need a veterinarian’s note for sedation.

Also Read: Much sought dog friendly beaches Victoria

What causes dogs to be stressed while Flying in the plane

Dogs that are trained to spend long periods in their crate, like Military or Police Working Dogs, do fine with air transport. 

But a family pet that is not used to the confinement and handling can be incredibly stressful while travelling on a plane.

 I’ve seen far too many of these dogs in distress as I travel. 

As usual, if such travel is in the dog’s future, it is up to the owner to prepare the dog for it by accustoming the dog to an air transport-certified crate and possibly secure sedation for the dog for the transit itself.

Also Read: Top 12 Tips for Planning Dog-Friendly Travel

Best Dog Accessories for Travel 

There are numerous elements to consider, including strange persons or situations, being confined to a crate for extended periods of time, anxiety caused by changes in habit, and even fear from previous traumatic occurrences.

If you know what can make your dog nervous before they board the plane, it will be much easier to avoid those situations while travelling, making their experience much more enjoyable.

So, in this section, we’ll talk about what makes a dog anxious when flying and how you can keep them calm and happy while flying!

Noise Level :

The noise from the motors and any other individuals in close proximity to you can be a lot for your Buyers Guide Contact pup. If they are already nervous before takeoff, the loud noises around them that they do not comprehend will exacerbate their anxiety.

The Force of Air

Another factor to consider is the shift in air pressure that might occur when flying. In general, this will generate stress on your dog’s ears (pooping in the ears), but this should pass in a few minutes!

Body Temperature 

If your dog is too hot or cold, he or she will most likely be stressed. So bring stuff that will help them stay cool, and if they have a favourite blanket, make sure you carry it!

Dogs are Uncomfortable

If your dog is showing signs of stress, it could be as simple as they are uncomfortable. 

This is frequently due to them being in a posture that restricts their ability to move freely and comfortably.

Conned Space One of the most difficult aspects of flying with puppies is being confined inside an airline cabin, where they cannot run freely on either side during takeoff and landing without coming into contact with other passengers.

Unusual Smells

Remember that dogs have a far stronger sense of smell than humans do! It is critical not to introduce them to unfamiliar odours while travelling, as this may induce stress.

 A new  and unfamiliar setting can also trigger tension and anxiety in your dog. This is especially true if they are in an unusual location with unfamiliar people and circumstances.

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Stretch On Me?[Is it a Good Behaviour?.5 Reasons Why Dogs Stretch When They See You

Sound Oasis Bluetooth Sound Therapy System for Pets Sound Oasis Bluetooth Sound Therapy System for Pets
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Don't allow your pet's nervousness ruin your vacation. The Sound Oasis Calming Music Dog Speaker will help him relax.

This Bluetooth speaker comes packed with 90 minutes of dog-specific music designed by a sound behaviourist to reduce stress and soothe tense dogs, making it ideal for riding in the vehicle, in his cage, or while left alone at a hotel or vacation rental.

The speaker has a lanyard for hanging in a secure location. The rechargeable battery lasts up to eight hours, and the tiny, lightweight design makes it portable. Amazon has a speaker for your dog that costs $49.99.

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01/05/2023 11:31 am GMT

Signs of distress in dogs while travelling in the air:

Canine Motion Sickness:

Dog motion sickness is real and drooling around the mouth is the signal that your Pooch is stressed and it may occur even on short vehicle journeys. Preventing and treating canine car/Motion sickness may make trips to the dog park, doctor, or anyplace else a lot more enjoyable. While panting heavily is another evident sign of stress!


Panting is a frequent symptom of stress. Panting can be caused by a variety of factors, so you should investigate what is causing it to ensure that your dog does not become overheated or unwell during takeoff and landing!


Your dog’s shaking may signal that he or she is stressed. It could also be due to cold – especially if their paws have been moist for some time prior to takeoff!

Keep this in mind when deciding how much clothing to put on them before departure… You want him/her to be warm but not overheated!


If your dog is whining, he or she may be stressed. However, this could be due to a lack of attention, hunger, or thirst – so make sure you’ve fed and hydrated him before leaving!


If your dog is drooling, it could be an indication of stress. This can occur if they are overheated or nervous about anything in their environment that makes them feel uneasy.

Body Posture:

A sagging body posture may signal that your dog is discouraged, especially if it is accompanied by panting, whimpering, or shaking… If you observe this, consider paying extra attention to them so they don’t feel too agitated during the travel!

It is vital to highlight that if the symptoms are not visible, they can be difficult to detect.

As a result, keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour and check in on them from time to time, but not so frequently that you disturb them while they are flying.

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01/05/2023 11:16 pm GMT

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Stressed?

There are several things you should do if your dog exhibits any signs of stress.

Ensure that your dog gets enough of exercise and playing throughout the day.

Dogs require both mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis to remain happy and healthy during the busy holiday season!

Give them plenty of chew toys that they can enjoy—chewing can help relieve stress!

If he’s behaving well during the pandemonium, give him lots of treats or food rewards so he knows that excellent behaviour will always result in positive reinforcement. This will also help.

If you believe your dog has grown overly stressed, notify the flight attendant immediately.

Always see a veterinarian before flying a long flight with your dog because there are many things he should be aware of, such as how much food and water he should consume.

If you know your pet is prone to panic attacks when flying, use a harness to keep him safe

This will prevent him from injuring himself during the flight, which might be really traumatic for them!

Also Read: Why do dogs smell after being in sun? 8 Reasons and Tips to control it

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01/06/2023 04:20 am GMT

Final Thoughts: 

Travelling for dogs can be much more stressful than flying for humans (trust us). But, if done correctly, there are several ways to keep your dog stress-free throughout this time.

To do so, take some measures ahead of time, such as not exposing them to any new aromas or scents in general – notably those from cleaning products or deodorisers.

Bringing along food/treatstoys, and blankets will also help to distract your pup from feeling stressed.

Remember, like with any pet, your dog’s experience will be influenced by a variety of things, so it’s critical to be vigilant and recognise when something is off.

While it is true that many animals fly in cargo each year without incident, there are many unknown variables that you have no control over after you hand over your pet to airline workers. 

Take a look at it this way: Baggage handlers are focused on completing their tasks and loading all of the luggage aboard the plane as quickly as possible. 

In their kennel, they’re not obligated to provide your dog extra attention or care. Injured, ill, or even dead pets have been reported by a number of passengers who flew their pets in the hold. 

As a result, it’s important to take a hard look at whether or not the risks are worth it.

It may not always manifest itself in the same way, but keep in mind that stress levels are higher than usual during this period because they are coping with unfamiliar people or situations!

Also Read: Top 12 Tips for Planning Dog-Friendly Travel


How safe is it for a dog to fly on an airplane?

Now a days , It’s very safe indeed for dog to fly on airplane. With better awareness towards pets safety , pets are just like guests and really cared for.

If your animal is too large, or not allowed to be in the cabin, you will need to consider several things.

Some countries have very specific rules regarding animal shipping. You will need to investigate these regulations carefully and comply fully. 

What are some common airline regulations you could encounter?

1. Airlines can refuse to load your dog if it’s too hot or too cold. It used to be if it was colder than 7C and hotter than 25C. This may make shipping difficult if you’re traveling in winter or mid-summer or if there is a big temperature differential in your exit and arrival points.

2. Most countries/airlines have minimal crate size requirements

Some countries require a vet inspection before your pet is loaded or unloaded at the destination

Not all flights will take animals. You’ll need to check carefully that your particular flight allows animals

3. If there are any layovers, please be warned that airline staff are not required to treat your dog in any special way. 

Why should I hire a qualified shipping company:

I strongly urge anyone shipping their dog internationally to get a qualified shipping Firm to assist them. This is particularly important if there are any layovers. 

The shipping company will make sure all your paperwork is in order. They will make sure your animal is in complete compliance with all regulations. They will make sure your dog is loaded onto the same flight you’re on.

They will arrange for care and rest areas for long and complicated flight plans. They will arrange for someone to deal with unexpected issues that can occur, such as flight delays. 

They will let you know what to expect from agriculture department inspections and fees in the country of arrival.

Any animal can be shipped safely. It’s a matter of attention and planning to make sure the plans are implemented correctly.

Also Read: 30 Stylish and cool Accessories For Cavapoos

How stressful is flying for dogs-Tips & hacks to reduce the flying stress

About the Author: Dog Behavioural Consultant

Jennifer W loves Pets! She is an animal lover. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of all kinds of pets.

Her Love for pets made her Join the pet paws hub Team, to share knowledge with the world.

Jennifer WDog Behavioural Consultant

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