Pet Travel Checklist when Taking a Domestic Flight

Traveling with a pet can be stressful. One way to ease the stress is to be fully prepared. If you’ve never flown with a pet before we are here to give you some simple ways to be prepared.

We recommend starting the research and planning at least 30-40 days before your travel date to make sure you have enough time to take care of the recommended protocols. Please note not all airlines require everything on this list.

1. Research your airline’s pet policy.
The first step in safe and efficient flight travel with your pet is understanding your airline’s pet policy. The size of your pet and the breed will determine whether you can bring your pet in the cabin with you, or if your pet will need to be stowed underneath. There are also specific kennel instructions that need to be followed.

2. Book a direct flight.
This helps shorten the length of your trip, reduces stress on your pet, and prevents mishaps with pet transfer between planes.

3. Talk to a veterinarian.
They are the best source of information when it comes to going on a plane with your pet. Health risks are very real with flight travel, so talking with your veterinarian will help you determine if this is the safest mode of transportation for your particular pet.

4. Make sure your pet has proper identification.
This includes I.D tags containing the owner’s name and phone number, contact information for the place you will be staying and a microchip that gives your pet a permanent form of identification in the case the I.D tags are lost. If your pet already has a microchip, ensure the contact information is up to date and include information for your travel destination.

5. Bring your pet’s medical records.
Bring a copy of your pet’s recent immunization records, information about medical conditions or anything else relating to your pet’s health.

6. Get a Domestic Health Certificate.
Some airlines require a health certificate in order to fly, but if they don’t, you may still need to have one depending on which state you are traveling to. State health officials generally require health certificates for all animals. Health certificates must be issued by a licensed veterinarian who examines the pet within 10 days of departure. Check with your veterinarian for specific information.

7. Carry a color photo of your pet.
This should be attached to your pet’s crate for easy identification in case they escape.

8. Pack any items your pet needs.
Including a bed, medication, toys, water, leash and food and have them handy.

9. When you arrive at the airport, make sure the airline staff knows you have a pet with you.
Whether you are taking your pet on the plane with you, or if he or she will be in the cargo hold, notifying the staff will help make sure your pet gets what he or she needs. This helps especially if there is a delay and your pet is waiting to be put in the cargo area- the staff can help you ensure your pet receives proper care, including food and water.