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flying with pets

Flying with your pet can be an incredibly challenging feat any way you slice it. Remember that some airlines only fly dogs and cats, and sometimes for only certain parts of the year due to extreme heat or cold. When in doubt, call your airline. If they aren’t whom you need to speak to regarding an issue, they’ll know who to call.

U.S. Domestic

When flying animals across state lines, it is highly recommended to get a USDA health certificate for all animals flying with you. In the case of Hawaii and Alaska trips, these are mandatory.

Water must be given to all pets, regardless of species or containment. In the case of most domestic travel, pets will be subject to stress and dehydration. Water bottles can be strapped to the outside of carriers and let the pet drink freely.

Generally speaking, travel insurance and trip protection do not cover pet fees and these fees are usually non-refundable once paid. If you are taking a pet, get travel insurance to cover you and see if there are options to cover your pet as well.


Oftentimes prior to bringing a pet into the country, the owner must file paperwork with the local animal regulation board. In the case of rabies free countries like Japan, the paperwork can take months and still require quarantine for visiting pets, so be certain to plan far in advance.

With regards to water and food, pets are required to have water and encouraged to have food during their trip. Again, water bottles are your primary source because they do not spill as easily as a simple drinking bowl in the kennel. However, most international flights will allow up to two water bottles per animal enclosure. To extend the life of your water bottles, freeze one. This encourages the pet to use the unfrozen one first. When they are finished with that one, the frozen one should be available.

Hopefully flying with your pet will be an easy and fulfilling experience. Remember that if your pet is on any sort of medication, ask for a paper prescription from your veterinarian with their contact information on it. Though medication often does not go missing, it’s always better to have a backup plan.

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