Flying alone can be super expensive depending on when and where you choose to go.
Flying with a dog is even more expensive! With so much more to worry about, plan ahead for, and maybe even pack for, flying internationally with your dog is not for the faint-hearted!
After one or two flights it will get easier but constantly being prepared for anything will still be a little nerve-wracking.
What should I consider when flying internationally with my dog?
First and foremost speak with your vet! Your vet will be able to tell you about any extra vaccinations or treatments your dog will need to prepare for your destination.
You should also plan with your vet to prepare a health certificate to clear your dog to fly. You will need one for every flight you will travel on with your dog so plan accordingly.
They are only valid for 30 days so you may need to book a vet’s appointment before your return flight home.
It is good to discuss your travel plans with your vet well in advance of your flight as some vaccinations needed for international travel may need a small period of time to be fully effective and some even need multiple shots for the full dose.
You can also get your dog accurately weighed at your vet’s office which can make booking your tickets much easier.
Where will my dog travel?
This depends on the size of your dog and where you will be traveling to. In some countries, it is illegal for you to fly with your dog in the cabin with you so your airline will not allow your dog in the cabin with you if you will be landing in one of these countries.
In this case, your dog will need to travel in a large crate in the hold of the plane.
You have many options when flying internationally with your dog. The first option is for your pet to travel in the cabin with you. They will need to be in an airline-approved carrier and be able to stay under the seat in front of you during take-off and landing.
You will usually be charged the price of a cabin bag but if your dog exceeds a certain weight limit you will be charged a cargo fee on top of that. This is best to discuss with your airline before your purchase your ticket.
If you are flying with a dog it is always best to try to book your tickets over the phone with a real person so you can be sure that your dog will be allowed with you on the plane.
The second option is for your dog to fly on a separate flight. Sometimes if your dog exceeds 100lbs you will not be able to be sure they will be on the same flight as you. You may need to book them on a different flight. This will also cost you the cargo fee which can be a large amount of money depending on the airline.
You may also choose to fly your dog with a licensed courier. This will mean you are charged the cargo rate and the shipping fee but it is often required by most airlines to use this method if your dog is not flying in the cabin with you.
Are the rules different for service dogs?
This depends a little on the service dog but usually, the answer is yes! If you have a dog who assists a physically or mentally impaired person then they will be allowed to fly with that person in the cabin.
Unfortunately, emotional support dogs are no longer granted this exception and must fly as regular dogs now.
If you are traveling to an EU country it is possible your dog will need a different type of microchip! Check with your vet as some vets do carry this type of chip and will insert and register the chip for you before you fly.
Should I make any emergency plans?
Yes! Pack enough food for your dog in your hand luggage in case your flight is canceled or delayed! Look into emergency housing overseas if your pet arrives before you do or even if you need to leave in an emergency.
How much will flying a dog internationally cost?
The cost of flying a dog internationally will vary tremendously on where you are going, your airline, and the size of your dog. Usually, standard cargo prices are between $200 and $400 but can be more if you own a large breed.
Flying your dog with you in the cabin can cost anywhere between $50 and $250 depending on your dog’s size and your airline.
You also need to factor in the possible cost of a new carrier, different types of microchips, any vaccinations, health certificates, and potential boarding or shipping fees. It is estimated that a two-way international trip with one dog can cost around $1000 in total!