Answers to the most frequent questions about air travel with your dog. Here is a general guide to help you pack for your dogs flight.
Pet Travel

What To Pack When Flying with Your Dog

Are you getting ready for your vacation or a long distance move? Besides your dogs leash and collar, you might be wondering what else you need and can take on your flight. And with the rules and regulations around animal travel changing, it can be a little difficult to keep track of what you need or don’t need as well as what is accepted while preparing for their flight. Here are some general questions you might be asking yourself when packing for your dogs flight.

Answers to the most frequent questions about air travel with your dog. Here is a general guide to help you pack for your dogs flight.

Can I take my dogs wet food in my carry on?

While humans are allowed 3oz. containers of liquids in carry-on luggage this rule can be a little confusing regarding animal food. According to TSA “wet” or “moist” animal food is classified as a solid and can be carried in your carry-on bag.

If you are flying with your dog in the cabin, you might have to go through a few extra steps of security screening, but it’s worth the slight hassle to ensure that you and your dog are comfortable traveling. This will include providing food and water for your dog throughout your journey. So having a good understanding of what TSA allows can help with packing your carry on.

How do I provide water for my dog on a flight?

Water Bottles

With restrictions to liquids, it can become pricey when taking your pup through the airport. If you taking your dog in cabin with you there are a few options you can pack to help keep the cost down.

The first option is purchasing a water bottle at one of the many locations throughout the airport and dedicating it directly to your dog. However, this option can also become very messy when the dog is attempting to drink. Some travelers will ask restaurants for a water cup, but this can make it difficult for some dogs to get their muzzles into the cup and drink enough for their needs.

There are also attachments you can buy for your dog when placing them into a water bottle, that provide a water dish location for your pup. However, some dogs do not like this option (*cough* Maggie *cough*) for whatever the reason.

Water Bowl

The second option is to pack a small water dish for your dog in your carry on. While the smaller plastic dishes are cheap they can take up a lot of room in what seems like an already small bag. This is where we have found the collapseable water dish comes in handy.

We use the collapsible water dish everywhere we travel, from the dog park to across the country. It takes up less than an inch of space and can even be hung as a key chain on your bag if you need the room.

For us when we set up a hotel room or AirBnB when traveling with Maggie she does have a water bowl specific for “home” use. So she knows where she can go anytime we are in the room. While we have not flown with her, they do fit into her own travel bag, but the collapsible water bowl is great when we are moving and need to save space.

Are there relief areas at airports for my dog?

Not all airports have locations for animals to go to the bathroom. However, thanks to USA Service Dog Registration you can learn where to find pet-friendly airports as well as designated relief areas for your dog.

While the majority of the areas do have bags to help with clean up, not all do provide this. We know that not everyone wants to clean up after their dog, it smells and where exactly do you put it? But it’s courteous to the next person who walks through so they don’t get poop on their shoe like Peter did when a woman refused to clean up after her dog in front of a bus stop on our trip to Savannah.

There are numerous options for poop bags out on the market. From ethical and environmentally friendly options to grocery bags from your last shopping trip. All you have to do is scoop it up, tie it up and toss it in the nearest trash bin to be on your way.

If you are worried about your dog going to the bathroom during the flight there are options for that as well. Puppy pee pads can line your dogs crate while doggy diapers might be another solution as well.

What about toys?

Answers to the most frequent questions about air travel with your dog. Here is a general guide to help you pack for your dogs flight.

Majority of people see their dogs as a member of the family. So it’s natural we want our dogs to have comfort on their travels and for some dogs that means a toy. Maggie has a unicorn stuffed toy that fits in the side pocket of her travel bag, taking up no additional space. Personally I provide her with a toy that I won’t have to worry about if it gets lost or stolen, but give her one that is of complete interest & to her liking. This way she has a way of entertaining herself and ease some stress with the scent from home.

If your dog likes to have a toy for comfort, pack one, it’s really that simple.

Does it get cold on flights?

The simple answer is yes sometimes it does get cold on flights.

However, that doesn’t neccessarily mean that your dog will get cold. Some airplanes have floor air conditioners which can make the location of where your pup is sitting throughout the flight extremely cold. It’s recommended to bring a blanket that you can put in the carrier with them to curl up in if it becomes too cold on the floor.

Is there anything else I need to bring besides my dogs necessities?

Now that you have your necessities packed you might be wondering if there is anything else you might need to pack for your dog to fly. Depending on your dog and destination there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Vaccination Records

Answers to the most frequent questions about air travel with your dog. Here is a general guide to help you pack for your dogs flight.

Many airlines require a general health report from your veterinarian before boarding. This is to ensure that your dog meets all the health requirements for the flight deemed by the airline. This report will also have your dogs vaccination records.

Some locations like Hawaii have never had a case of rabies. So even within your own country, you might find yourself needing to ensure that your dog is up to date on vaccinations they might not normally need when at home. If you are unsure about what vaccinations you might need you can check out the CDC as a place to start for those traveling in or to the United States with their dog.

Pet Passport

A pet passport might be required for both your departure and destination locations when traveling with your dog. The paperwork for each country that is required to ensure that your dog can continue with you on your travels may vary. The Pet Travel Store provides a great database on where to find the information on each piece of paperwork required for your trip.

The pet passport is a document that looks similar to your own passport, but contains the needed information for your dog to pass through customs as quickly as possible.

Medications

While your dog requires to have a clean bill of health to fly, that does not if your dog is on medication can’t fly.

Medications might be for allergies, motion sickness, or genetic disorders just as an example. If your dog is in need of any medication, talk with your vet before booking a flight for your pooch. But if they are clear to fly ensure you pack their medications just like you would if they where yours, in your carry on.


The Portly Passengers are two individuals who live the plus size life and love to travel. They give tips and advice on traveling as a plus size person, city itineraries, food and attractions reviews and much more.

The Portly Passengers provides plus size inclusive travel tips and advice for anyone who is looking to explore the world. From seat sizes on airplanes to exploring museums, restaurants, and nature Melissa & Peter have the experience and stories to help guide you through it.

Melissa & Peter are a couple of goofballs who are in love with traveling & each other.

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