Whether you can take your puppy on a plane depends on many factors: how old the puppy is, where you're going, even his vaccination status. Keep in mind that flying can be stressful, so consider leaving the furry one at home if you're flying out for a short time.
Most airlines, both national and international, have a minimum age requirement for puppies to fly. In most cases, puppies need to be at least 8 weeks of age of age before they're allowed on a plane. Some airlines, like Delta, will not accept puppies under 10 weeks of age. Others, like JetBlue, don't have a minimum age requirement. However, keep in mind that puppies younger than 8 weeks might have trouble eating or sleeping on their own, without mom around, and might cry and disturb the other passengers during the flight.
Vaccines and Health Requirements
If you're planning on taking your puppy abroad, he's likely to need vaccinations. Rabies vaccines are often given when the puppy reaches 3 or 4 months of age, so you might not be able to travel with a puppy who's younger than that due to the lack of vaccination. International flights might also require a health certificate, so if your puppy is sick, he might not be allowed to fly.
Whether your puppy can fly in the cabin of the plane depends on his size and weight. Larger puppies might need to fly in the baggage compartment of the plane. Details vary from one airline to the next, so you should call in advance to find out what yours allows. A common allowance is that pets up to 20 pounds can be allowed in cabin as long as they have appropriate carriers and you pay the requested extra fees. Some airlines allow one puppy per passenger, while others might let you put two puppies together into a single carrier, as long as their combined weight doesn't exceed their limit.
Not all dogs do well in airplanes. Some puppies might find the flight stressful, especially if they're not allowed in the cabin with you and must fly alone in baggage or as cargo. However, you should never sedate your puppy unless you first talk to your vet -- in many cases, sedation is dangerous. Also, because puppies have small bladders, you might end up with a mess if your flight is long. Plan in advance by putting pee pads at the bottom of the carrier and bring additional ones with you so you can change them midflight or as soon as you land.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.