The Travelling Guardian | Air Travel & Your Fur Baby
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-19985,single-format-standard,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-12.1,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.4.2,vc_responsive

Air Travel & Your Fur Baby

Air Travel & Your Fur Baby


Travelling by air with your pet can be stressful. Preparing for your journey has never been more important! If you have a small pet and you would like to be together in the cabin, this blog is for both of you! I have gathered tips and airline information to help you both travel in comfort and safety.

Wishing you and your pet an enjoyable stress-free journey.



It is always a good idea to check the health of your pet before any long trip to make sure your pet is fit to travel.

pup at the vets

Tranquilizers and other medications are not recommended, and some medication can have an opposite effect on your pet. Tranquilizers can affect your pet’s ability to regulate its body temperature. Ask for advice on medication and confirm your pet is healthy for air travel.

cat at the vets


Some airlines may require a health certificate to be completed within 10 days of flight depending on your destination. Reconfirm this with the airlines before you book.

dog and cat with stethascope

If your travelling with a puppy or kitten check the airline’s website to see if there is an age restriction. The acceptable travel age ranges from 8 weeks to 16 weeks. They also may need to be fully weaned. Check with the airline first before making your plans.



Have your pet microchipped in case your pet is a runner and wanders while on vacation. If your pet has been microchipped for a while, make sure your contact information is up to date. Including your dog’s tag contact information.

pup in kennel


Four weeks before you travel, have your pet spend time in the carrier. Make the carrier look enticing by putting some of their favourite toys and blanket inside it. Remember to leave the carrier door open in the area where your pet frequently rests. Keep the carrier out so that your pet can go in and out at his will.

 dog in carry on bag

Practice closing the door or zipping up the carrier when your pet is inside. Slowly let them get used to being inside and give them a treat. Gradually increase the time the carrier is closed or zipped up.


After your pet is used to the carrier, go for short car rides and gradually increase the duration of your ride.  If your pet is sensitive to noise, try getting your pet used to loud noises by taking them in their carrier to a shopping center or the airport.

                                                                     Puppy in a car

Before you leave for the airport try to keep to your normal schedule so that your kitty uses the litter box. Take your dog out for a bathroom break before heading out.


Trim your pets’ nails. You don’t want your pet scratching up the interior of her carrier during the flight.

Have tags with your contact information/rabies vaccination and license on the collar of your pet. Be sure to take off any extra accessories that could get snagged on a part of the carrier.

Bring an absorbent pee pad and their favorite blanket to put in the carrier. A favorite toy that they could not choke on. Bring a collapsible water bowl for drinking out of on arrival. Don’t forget the leash.

big dog and pup

Fill out two baggage labels for your pet carrier with your contact information, email and arrival information (hotel or friend/relatives name and address and phone number) Place labels on the outside and inside of your carrier.

pup in a purse

It is recommended that pets should travel on an empty stomach to prevent upset stomachs and accidents in flight. Consult your vet when to feed your pet. The vet may recommend feeding your pet four to six hours prior to departure.

pup eating

If your vet recommends no water be given to your pet before the departure of your flight, ask about giving your pet ice cubes or small sips of water toward the end of the flight.


Prepare a couple of bags of dry food for your pet in case there is a lengthy flight delay. Feed your pet sparingly as you wait for your flight.


Pet Carriers:  Hard-Sided vs Soft-Sided

You will need an approved hard-sided or soft-sided pet carrier/kennel. Verify with your airline which of the two are approved to travel with.

It is very important to verify the size restrictions of your kennel/carrier as size may differ with other airlines.

Hard-sided kennel/carriers must be large enough for your dog to stand, lie, and turn around comfortably. They must have solid, leakproof floors and adequate ventilation on at least two sides.

*Certain airlines will only allow soft-sided carriers. If your carrier has a frame and you need to adjust the height you can usually slide out the metal brace.

Soft pet carriers for cabin use must have: Waterproof bottom/ room for your pet to stand up and turn around/ must fasten securely with a zipper/ have adequate ventilation on at least two sides/no head peaking out.

Cover the bottom of the carrier with absorbent material such as a blanket or pee pads.

kitty in a carry on


When buying a soft-sided carrier consider the following:

Look for mesh panels that offer plenty of airflow and ventilation.

They may have padding or a frame to provide structure. The frame may need to be taken apart if the seat is to low.

Good quality fabric such as heavy-duty nylon on PVC backed polyester will not rip if scratched

Removable pad to help with clean up.

Dog carrier must be the right size for your dog. Large enough for your dog to sit, stand, lie and turn around with a few inches to spare. It should not be much larger as the carrier should securely hold your pet. If the carrier is too large, your fur baby could get thrown around inside.

cat in carryon

Airlines have weight limitations for the pet and the carrier/kennel. The combined weight cannot exceed 22 lbs. (10kg) with most airlines. Be on the safe side and check the airline’s website for confirmation of the weight. Do not assume all airlines are the same.


Flying outside of Canada?


Before you leave Canada, contact the embassy of your destination country about its requirements for importing animals. The Canadian International Health Certificate may be used to accompany pet dogs and cats to other countries. Dogs and cats are not accepted on flights to certain countries such as Barbados, Hawaii. Ireland, Jamaica or the United Kingdom.


Upon landing in any country your pet may be inspected by government veterinary officials. (Find out if you will need to pay for a veterinary inspection fee.)

dog at vets

Local veterinary health certificates obtained from animal clinics may not be acceptable to clear government veterinary inspections. You may need a government-approved health certificate please contact the consulate or embassy of the country/region to which you are travelling. Check this all out well before you make your reservations!


For travel into Canada as well as for travel departing Canada. Consult the Government of Canada website for importing of, or travelling with pets; this link will take you to the webpage:


pup in carryon at airport

Reservations and the Airport

Puppy in carry on bag at airport

Did you know that there is a maximum of carry-on pets allowed in the cabin? Larger aircraft can accommodate up to four pets in the cabin and smaller aircraft the maximum is two pets in the cabin.

  To reserve space for your pet please contact the airlines. Only a very few airlines allow you to reserve online. During your call to the reservations department, you will know immediately if your pet can be accommodated. *If you make online reservations make sure you phone the airlines within 24hours of making your booking reconfirm your pet in-cabin request.

pup on a suitcase



You will be asked for the weight and breed and age of your pet.


** Pets that have not been registered in advance may not be accepted at the airport as your flight may have reached the maximum in-cabin pets allowable.


Each airline will have its own in-cabin pet policy. *For codeshare flights that use the same two letter carrier code and share the same flight please check the operating carrier’s in-cabin pet policy. * If you are traveling on multiple airlines, please check with each airline individually to ensure acceptance. **You may need to reserve your pet in-cabin with each airline and pay each airline a pet-in-cabin fee as well.

dog posing for a picture

Did you know that the amount of space beneath the seat where your pet is to be placed will vary by aircraft type? Make sure your carrier will fit. If you need help with figuring out what size of aircraft, you are on contact the airline’s reservation department.

Window seats are usually the best seat to choose due to space limitations on most aircraft.  You may need to adjust your kennel to fit within the maximum height and depth available beneath the seat. (You can always adjust your soft sided pet kennel.. you cant with your hard-sided kennel.)

*If there are schedule changes and the aircraft type changes you must check that there is enough room for your pet carrier to be stowed under the seat.


Airports have dog-friendly green space area to visit before you head through security. Check the airport’s website for “pet zones” or “pet relief area” in advance of your arrival to find out exactly where the pet green space is located.


Toronto Pearson pet relief area:


If you will be travelling frequently with your cat, consider a portable cat litter box that can fit in your cat carrier that is lightweight and waterproof. (Amazon)


Your pet may not be able to travel with you in the cabin if you require the use of a medical device that needs to be stowed underneath the seat. Verify this with the airline’s reservation department. 


A passenger travelling with a pet in the cabin cannot be seated in the bulkhead or an emergency exit row.A passenger may not be able to travel with an in-cabin pet if they are in a business class seat or if you are seated in certain types of premium seats. This is because the footrest limits the storage space under the seats. Check with each carrier for specifics


Passengers travelling with pets may *not be able to check in online or at airport self-service kiosks. Verify this with the airline in advance. If the price of your ticket does not include free seat assignment you may want to splurge and buy your seat in advance.


A pet kennel fee is charged per direction. The one-way travel cost for your pet in-cabin is priced according to the country of travel and can vary from $50.00-200.00 p tax.

The pet in cabin fee is payable at the airport upon check-in. A few airlines will accept online payment. If you pay at the airport bring your credit or debit card instead of cash as most airlines are going cashless.


When you arrive at the airport, proceed to the check-in counter and not a kiosk. You will receive your boarding card with a code PETC (pet in cabin) or you will a receive a special pet in cabin tag to be attached to your carrier.


Please note: Your pet carrier counts as your one piece of carry-on baggage with most airlines. Which means your carry-on will be considered checked luggage and you may possibly have to pay extra if this is your 1st or 2nd checked piece.  Check your airline’s website for more information.


Don’t be rushed and arrive late at the airport, this will only cause anxiety and your pet will pick up on your stress.

Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight to make sure your check-in goes smoothly. You will have time to give your pet a bathroom break at the pet relief area before you head to security screening.



Airport Screening/Security Clearance and Boarding

Going through airport security clearance is like having your children in tow. You will need to be organized. Give yourself plenty of time. Go through pre-board screening well in advance of your flight especially during peak travel periods.

                                       Have your boarding pass ready to present for verification.

You will need to take your pet out of the carrier and carry him through the metal detector. It is best to have your pet leashed during the time it is out of the pet holding a leash

Put all your dog’s accessories into a clear plastic bag inside of your carrier. This will help prevent delays and holdups while scanning your bag.

Send the carrying case through the screening equipment.

Keep a small treat handy to reward your pet as you put him back into the carrier.

Prior to boarding identify yourself to the boarding gate agent and tell them you have a pet as a carry-on. Certain airlines will allow you to preboard after families with children have boarded.


If you are travelling with a pet and another passenger has severe pet allergies, you may be required to move toward the back of the aircraft. This is a Canadian Transportation Agency’s seat separation requirement. You will be paged before you board your flight and assisted with an alternative seat.


When you are seated on the plane slide your carrier under the seat in front of you. Check on your pet periodically however be careful you do not excite your pet as they may want to be let out

Your pet is expected to remain in the kennel while in the airport and on board the aircraft. (during boarding and deplaning)



Taking your pet on a plane doesn’t have to be stressful. Being well prepared for the flight is the beginning of a great vacation! All the very best to you and your adorable pet!

                                                                          Happy Travels! 



WESTJET 1-888-937-8538

Air Canada –  1-888 247 2262

Delta- 1 800 221 1212-221

United Airlines- 1-800 864-8331

To read more about travelling with your pet check out Miss Poppy’s travels

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­           ————————————————————————————————————

A few reminders for the two-legged traveller:

Remember to reconfirm your flight times/flight number/seat selection and if there have been any aircraft changes, at least a week prior to travel. Have your airline booking reference handy so that you can sign up for your airline’s flight notification service and be kept up to date with last minute changes. If you want to choose a seat earlier than 24hours prior, contact the reservation department. You most likely will be required to pay a seat fee.


   Thank you to everyone that sent in their favorite pet photos! I’ve set up this special photo gallery for your visual enjoyment! No wonder we want our pets to travel with us! They are adorable!!

Post A Comment